Monday, November 12, 2012

Album Review // (III) by Crystal Castles

The wait is over and Crystal Castles' newest album is finally here. They continue their tradition of extremely creative album names with this newest album too. They named this one Crystal Castles... again. Most people call this one (III) just like they called their last album (II) though.

(III) is the third album from the experimental electronic duo and came out 5 days earlier than expected on November 7. It's a very dark album. This is first and foremost apparent in the song titles; "Plague", "Wrath of God", "Pale Flesh", "Sad Eyes", "Violent Youth", and "Child I Will Hurt You". This darkness permeates throughout the entirety of (III) from the song names, to the lyrics, to the general feel in the songs, to even the album artwork.

The cover art to (III) is strikingly resemblant of La Pietà by Michelangelo Buonarroti. La Pietà is a renaissance sculpture that features the mother of "Christ" holding her son's lifeless body in her arms after his crucifixion. The album artwork to (III) is similar in that it shows a shrouded figure, possibly a woman, cradling a shirtless man in their arms. This man looks just as lifeless as "Christ" does and is slumped towards the figure's body, his head being held against the person's chest.

There is a lot of pain and anger in (III). This can be seen in multiple songs like "Plague", "Kerosene", and others. "Plague" is the first track off the album and is just as dark as it's name would suggest. It without a doubt deals with child exploitation with lyrics like "infants in infantry" and "Virgin cells to penetrate, too premature to permeate".  "Kerosene" is more about trying to achieve perfection and purity with lyrics like "I can clean impurity, wash away with kerosene" and how she brings up cleaning, rinsing, bandaging, and protecting.

If you are listening to (III) right now you know just as well as I do that the album has a certain sound. That's why it was so interesting to hear "Child I Will Hurt You" because it is nothing like the other songs on the album. This track is a gentle and soft song despite it's name and it even touches on elements of dream-pop with it's ethereal/dream-like atmosphere. Although I don't think Crystal Castles will start making dream-pop anytime soon I do think they are starting to move away from the more abrasive songs they have made in the past like "Doe Deer" and "Alice Practice". (III) is a lot more "put together" and definitely not as aggressive as their first self-titled album. In the end though, what it boils down to is personal preference and what you like to hear in electronic music.


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