Filled with inventive melodies, riffs that don't go where you'd expect, and songs full of energy and intent, Crack Up's new album, From the Ground, might just have what it takes to restore glory to the somewhat fading genre of death metal.
But this is not a typical death metal album; no, in fact, the only reason that the death label gets slapped on this disc is due to the vocals, and they're typical death metal fare. (For what it's worth, the vocalist should get high praise for being the most intelligible such singer to come along in quite a while...he's a treat to listen to.)
From the Ground is one surprise after another: the hypnotic drone of the opening title track gives way to the driving, addictive "Razzberry." Also wonderful in the first half of the disc is "Money Will Roll Right In", a severely clever indictment of greed that has some chord progressions almost unheard of in death metal...why, this stuff is melodic!
There is some welcome, fascinating cross-pollination going on here, as several styles of metal are jammed together to create a very unique sound that works most of the time: for instance, as on "Dysorientated", in which a Sabbathesque doom feel is melded with a Kyuss-like bottom end in a song that goes through several tempo changes. In the increasingly homogenous world of extreme music, it's something new.
From the Ground is truly a great album, but even moreso it gives hope for even better things from their next work. I'd like to see Crack Up experiment with several vocal styles as well as they have with different musical styles; they could take a cue from their labelmates Darkseed, who have so eloquently blended death growl and conventional rock vocals into a potent brew.