MUSIC: Crystal Castles – Amnesty (I) Review

Crystal Castles took a turn when ex-lead singer Alice Glass left. I’m not going to bore you with drama, there are loads of other blog posts with all the information you’d need.

What I am going to do is give their latest album – Amnesty (I) – an honest review. Released on August 19, 2016, this album features a new apparently enigmatic lead singer; Edith Frances. I fell in love with Crystal Castles in the Alice era, and I do not choose any sides.

Stream the album here: SPOTIFY   or   DEEZER

TRACK 1 – FEMEN

We open with a Trap/Industrial influenced track. Apparently it reverse-samples a children’s choir singing Smells Like Teen Spirit. Weird. It’s a really cool intro track. Pretty dark and all that. You’re left feeling a little creeped out. 5/5

TRACK 2 – FLEECE

We hear Edith for the first time. The style isn’t that much different to their old stuff – with all the processed effects. The track has a harsh lead in between vocal takes. This is Crystal Castles, so harsh doesn’t necessarily mean bad. The vocals melodies aren’t giving me great vibes. It is a cool song nonetheless. 3/5

TRACK 3 – CHAR

We stumble upon a softer track here. The vocal melodies are giving me much better vibes. The synths aren’t that harsh in this track, the arp synth is pretty creepy. I really like the claps in this track, they’re very atmospheric. A harder beat drops near the end, and we’re slapped in the face with a fade-out. 4/5

TRACK 4 – ENTH

The Industrial sounds continue in this track. Edith starts shouting over a harsh beat but the vocal melodies are weird. It isn’t a bad song though. The trance-like synth grabs my attention, but then weird vocals ensue again. The beat drops again. This song is a little conflicting. It is pretty good but it feels weird, almost like they didn’t have enough time to finish it? I don’t know. 3/5

TRACK 5 – SADIST

This track starts to feel a little more like Crystal Castles. Distortion everywhere when it gets into it. It sounds great, and the vocal melodies are spot on. The white noise bits are just annoying though. It’s a great track, everything works together in this one. 5/5

TRACK 6 – TEACH HER HOW TO HUNT

This short track is fucking weird man. The vocal effects sound decent, but the screaming synth just makes me want to not deal with this song. I’m not feeling it. 1/5

TRACK 7 – CHLOROFORM

Moving on, we have a decent sounding synth again. This sounds like it would be a good song until that weird synth comes in, but then it continues and it surprisingly goes well with the track. The effects in this track are a little intense, but they do the song justice. Lots of creepy sounds in this one, both in the synths and vocal effects. A new harsh synth introduces itself near the end. 5/5

TRACK 8 – FRAIL

I never liked this track. It was the first to come out since Edith had joined. Its production sounds really bad. Really, really bad. Not even lo-fi-good. The song itself isn’t so bad, but I can’t. I suppose I’m just not a fan of over-over-over-over compression. 2/5

TRACK 9 – CONCRETE

This was the first music video I checked from this album. It was really cool. I don’t know if it influenced my opinion on this track, but I really like it. It is probably the only song from this album that I have repeatedly listened to since it came out. It has some pretty decent electronic beats, and the vocal effects are amazing. I will admit the vocals over the harsh beat could have been attended to a little more, but it’s fine. The synths near the end seem to round the track off nicely, until we get a last taste of the beats instead. 5/5

TRACK 10 – ORNAMENT

This track starts off sounding like it could have gone early 2000’s R’n’B, but it doesn’t. It takes a bit of a minimal route through chopped up and occasionally reversed vocal effects and soft synths. I can hear some trap hats too. Not a bad song when you want to chill, but not a bad song in general either. I don’t know if it fits the album, but I am happy that they put it on. 4/5

TRACK 11 – THEIR KINDNESS IS CHARADE

This track was the 2nd to feature Edith under the title Deicide, although this version that ended up on the album is completely different. I guess that’s why it has a different name and what not. We get our FXed up vocals over a soft synth as an intro. The vocal melody is pretty good, singing over the soft synth (or pad), it starts kicking in and you start feeling the spirit of the track until you’re graced with the vocals over a new synth. And then it drops to some seemingly epic Witch House synths and beats. It’s pretty good, the atmosphere it gives is amazing. It drops back into softness and back into all the epic stuff again. It’s a good song overall. 5/5

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After critically listening to this album, I think it’s safe to say that it isn’t Crystal Castles’ best work. It’s not because of Edith, she sounds just fine. It feels more like it should have been an EP, with all the filler stuff taken out. I’m not saying Ethan should do anything I’m telling him to either though, it’s just a personal opinion. Lol.

I give the album an overall 5/10

Watch the music video for CONCRETE here:

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