Crisis Like Sheep Led To Slaughter
Grade
A-
 
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It's been a long time since Crisis put out an album. So long, in fact, that I had to wonder if they had given up. Apparently, though, they had gone through some internal issues, including a long hiatus, a name change that was rescinded a year later and finally, they managed to come back to record their first album since The Hollowing in 1997. Adding guitarist Jwyanza Hobson and drummer Joshua Florian to the lineup of vocalist Karyn Crisis, Guitarist Afzaal Nasiruddeen and bassist Gia Chuan Wang has managed to lend an evolution to the band's songwriting

When it comes to heavy metal, many acts tend to fall into one sub-genre or another, making it easy to describe their sound with a simple descriptor, or by linking them to one act or another. With Crisis, though, this is not so easy. Crisis presents an eclectic multicultural art-metal that's as much about the mood as it is the mentality. There are heavy influences coming from all directions that manage to mold into a deep, intricate yet without pretense offering that's ultimately given it's personality by it's vocals. As headmistress, Karyn Crisis runs the gambit, from melodic to raspy and violent screeches. No matter what comes out of her mouth, it's powerful and grabs your attention.

The album opens with Omen, a short, dark soundscape that growls it's way into Waking The Dead, a more straightforward thrashing metal track with heavy, beating riffs and a pounding drum beat. A Graveyard For Bitches follows with a more intricate effort, really driving home the talent that the band has in writing and performing detailed and varied guitar and bass lines. The stuttered pounding that breaks up the main flow of the song drives the mood of the track well. Nomad begins light, rolling in with a sitar and then carrying on a more reserved mood that takes off with the military beat around two minutes into the track.

Politics of Domination is probably one of the more "radio friendly" tracks in that it follows a more traditional pattern and has some powerful thrashing riffs. Even with that said, it can be a hard pill to swallow with Karyn's raspy growl belting out the lyrics. Blood Burden is one of the best tracks on the album, showing off how tight the band is by driving a powerful song down the listener's throat. This is followed by Rats In The Maze, a more vocal take on instrumentals that leads into Secrets of the Prison House, a signature piece that feels drawn more from the older sound of Crisis. If you've been a long-time fan, this track will feel more at home than most of the others.

Corpus Apocalypse is a building pulse of a track that keeps trudging on, like an audio rollercoaster, featuring some nice drum work that keeps the pace rolling without much of a reprieve. Study In Cancer once again heads back to older territories, but with the aid of Daniel Dismal of Crematorium on the vocals for the chorus, keeps from feels too much like older works. Exit Catacomb's is a powerful and moody track that shifts from rage to depression almost second-by-second. The final track, The Fate, is a wonderful pseudo instrumental that works excellently as a final punctuation to the album.

Like Sheep Led To Slaughter is a wonderful return for Crisis. The new blood in the band and time away seem to have given the band enough new ideas to keep their music from becoming stale like so many other acts do. If they have to take another hiatus before their next album, let them - the work that comes from it will be worth the wait.

- - Vane

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