In the last few months, I feel I’ve pretty much reviewed the same album or EP a dozen times. Hard rock inspired by the same handful of modern bands who may or may not have put their own twist on it. That’s why CRNKSHFT’s latest EP dropped in my inbox and I shuddered slightly. Again? It can only sound so different so many times. Their inspirations namecheck the usual suspects. Except, there’s a massive caveat to this one…
Self-described as “hard fucking rock”, it’s potentially the most apt description I’ve heard. Because that’s exactly what it is. With massive drop tuned guitars and melody, it’s effectively the bastard child of Five Finger Death Punch and Alter Bridge. However, listening through it, I can list about a dozen or so bands baked into their sound, whether for the entirety of a track or a few seconds.
Lyrically, the EP marries politics with personal issues such as reconciling the idea of being a miniscule part of society, fear-mongering and separating the truth from lies, be it in the media or the people surrounding you.
The personal lyrics touching on subjects most people can relate to works well with the background of fist-pumping, foot-stomping hard rock. As you headbang your way through the seventeen minutes of raw, heavy-hitting hard rock, you forget that the five-piece are trying to empower you and tell you that it gets better.
With the sound of a stage show free of gimmicks, the Vancouverites concentrate on delivering in-your-face rock, contrasting with the typical Canadian stereotype of being nice, eh. Guitars in the form of Geoff Way and Sebastian Pulse crunch and wail, fighting at each other like rabid dogs which, instead of actually fighting with each other, work together to take on a common enemy.
However, it’s Shane Jolie’s voice which helps the band stand out from the rest of the modern hard rock inspired bands. Mainly because it sounds so different. It’s this which gives CRNKSHFT the edge. Instead of utilising a Brent Smith soundalike, the equal part growl and melodic voice may contain similarities to a couple of household names, it’s pretty unique for the most part.
In an age where most bands are effectively using the same blueprint, CRNKSHFT take it and tear it up to bring something which may sound familiar in places but largely takes the stance of giving you something new. It’s a bold move and with this, their second EP, the onus is on them to spread their wings and make their mark on modern rock.