Wipeout is the third in a series of EPs Crossfaith have brought us since 2016’s New Age Warriors. While the reappearing narrative of the future dominates the record, Wipeout sees the band stray only slightly from their melting pot of electronica, hardcore, nu metal and metalcore. When this arrived in my mailbox, I was convinced we were in for a more developed version of FREEDOM; perhaps leaning more toward modern rap and synth-heavy electronica – giving the heavier end less of an emphasis. While that would explain the continuing thread of the future, it was not the case for Wipeout.
To my mind, there are two aspects of Crossfaith in particular that make them such a welcoming musical prospect. The first of which is Ken Koie’s vocals which have always delivered across everything that the band have put their name to. Whether it’s layered over the musical canvas of the dancier, slightly dub oriented Apocalyze or the more straight-edge, guitar oriented approach in the band’s newest offering Wipeout, Ken has always found a great pocket to sit in, vaguely reminiscent of both Matt Heafy’s (Trivium) Ascendancy era of cleans and Matt Tuck’s (Bullet For My Valentine) style screams. His clean vocals have always been sturdy, bold and occasionally, soaring while his screams confidently rip out the speakers. On Wipeout, he’s absolutely nailed it and it’s the best aspect of the EP and indeed, the band to my ears at least.
Secondly, by embracing the dance-y, tech-y elements that many other bands have shied away from, Crossfaith have become the ultimate party band in modern metal, essentially giving them a one-up over many of their contemporaries. It gives them an undeniable bounce and groove to their sound and it’s the combination of these traits in Crossfaith that make the band so exciting. So, have they played to their strengths on Wipeout or have they really delved into the future as they seem to be trying to do?
Opening with lead single and title-track “Wipeout”, the quintet reveal why the future has been such an emphasised theme in the run-up to the release and indeed, much of their career. Ken sings “I fly to the future, no time to waste, Just fly away to something new” with the band providing the singer with the synth-centric incarnation of Crossfaith that they do so well. While it walks a very fine line with cheesiness, it certainly sticks out as the choice for a single. Conversely, “Inside The Flames” begins with the ultimate crowd-parting riff in preparation for one mahoosive pit.
Wipeout continues as perhaps the most varied Crossfaith output with closer “Vermillion Gold”, opening with a BFMV style dual-lead riff into a driving thrash verse, reshaping again in the chorus with a prime example of classic metalcore, low-end guitar work. After just two and a half minutes it ends just as it seemed to be building up perfectly for a curveball middle 8 but despite feeling a little incomplete, “Vermillion Gold” shows the band at their heaviest and simultaneously, most varied.
Despite revolving around the future and showing a keen desire to spearhead the way, Crossfaith show little of a departure musically from their synth-laced metalcore, but, to give credit where credit is due, they do a brilliant version of all the different aspects they do best on Wipeout and with it being a mere three tracks long, is a perfect place to start for anyone with even a passing interest in the band. What I personally would really like to see is Wipeout – the 8 track album. Whether that’s what the band intend to do with this and the previous 2017, 3 song EP; Freedom or not remains to be seen. I just know that I want more of this.
Wipeout dropped on January 26th