With new management from Good Charlotte’s Joel Madden, Crystal Lake – who have been active in their native Japan since 2002 – want to introduce themselves to the world. Unfortunately, True North might not elicit the welcome they’re hoping for.
Right from the lingering synth strings on opener Alpha, something feels contrived – perhaps because easing in with long, minor-key electronic string notes is a bit of a genre go-to. But with Hatred, things begin a downward spiral. A lyric like ‘What’s my name, bitch?’ is too close to Attila for comfort, and what’s worse, the similarity sounds intentional. The title track is by-numbers metalcore, but things pick up slightly on slowie Breathe Deep, a Pierce The Veil-recalling ballad that sounds like the most honest offering so far. Things don’t get better from here, though. Nu metal is loosely attempted on Black And Blue and Six Feet Under either channels – or trolls? – Chelsea Grin. There are a lot of ideas on here, but very few of them seem to be Crystal Lake’s own.