Produced, engineered, mixed and mastered by Neil Hudson. Recorded at Initiate Audio and Media Recording Studios. Released on Initiate Audio and Media. Distributed via Plastic Head (PHD) Ltd. PR via Rob Town at Stampede Press.
Released on Friday 16 August 2019.
There are some bands whose music just speaks to you on some fundamental level, as though they are somehow tapping into your psyche and expressing something fundamental about yourself through the music.
Since I first listened to Krysthla’s debut album A War of Souls and Desires (2015), I’ve felt that about this band. It was further cemented with Peace In Our Time (2017) and ever since I’ve been eagerly waiting for this the Northamptonshire, UK band’s third album.
I’ve not been disappointed.
And that is a massive understatement. This is without a doubt my record of the year. I know that Opeth’s new album is going to be released soon, as is Slipknot’s latest opus. But this… this is where it’s at. This is the epitome of metal in the UK in 2019. You simply can’t get better.
Worldwide Negative (2019) is… somehow… even better. I’ve had this on repeat at home, in the car and at work for the last few weeks and I can’t find a flaw. It is breathtakingly good.
The album opener “Negative” (track 1) begins with a crashing chord and melodic jangling guitar that reappears throughout the song as a theme, before being blasted into a galloping riff. Lyrically the song is dark: the constant struggle with doubt and paranoia in a world currently gripped in sadness. It’s a strong opener that belts along like a train to the end of the line.
“Reawaken” (track 2), about feeling lost and realising that you’re not on your own, opens with a discordant riff and pounding drums that takes you a bit by surprise, then breaks step for a moment to rearrange the riff. The vocals for the chorus are melodic which gives the song a new layer and depth.
“Grief is new love” (track 3) hits the ground with what I can only describe as a ‘descending, diagonal guitar riff’. There are so many layers to this song, so many nuances that surround the punishingly heavy central riff.
“Zero sum game” (track 4) is another song that uses melodies in the chorus to contrast the gruff vocals throughout the verses. It lifts the song and gives it a dynamic.
The breakdown halfway through the song, again, adds layers and interest. It dismantles the song and then builds it back up to its rattling, unrelenting pace.
“White castles” (track 5) begins with a strumming, clean guitar before being overwhelmed by a thrashing, blast-beat infused wall of sound over which a searing guitar dives and floats. When the vocals rush in, the band have hit a sprint. The vocals bounce monotonously through the chorus while the guitars weave a melody beneath. It’s majestic.
“Psalm of heartlessness” (track 6) is Krysthla’s answer to Sweden’s Meshuggah. This is UK djent at its absolute finest. There is an urgency to this song. The lyrics are spat out, cutting through the twisting, turning, brutally sharp guitars, bass and drums. It’s one of the stand-out tracks on the album for me. Lyrically, it’s a song of its time, questioning nationalism and wall-building.
“Aurea mediocritas” (track 7) kicks off with a sick, churning riff that I imagine must sound awesome live. It is deep and pounding and has a very start/stop feel to it that morphs and reappears throughout the track. It has melody, space, depth, heaviness and a fabulous ‘shout-y’ section. Another stand-out track.
“The gift” (track 8) in question is lyrically very dark: the sadness and guilt that is passed on to loved ones when someone takes their own life. Musically, the song bounces along a chainsaw-style riff before breaking into a spacious chorus. A couple of minutes into the song, it slows completely as it explores a slower, more chugging riff, melodic motif and solo. It’s an emotional conclusion to an outstanding album.
“We always push ourselves to the limit when producing new music,” says guitarist and producer Neil Hudson, “but this upcoming release exceeded what we thought we had in the tank. It’s been an exhaustive but exhilarating process.”
He continues, “Worldwide Negative is an album with more of an introspective view towards ourselves as the human race, how we impact the world and each other. In the pursuit of happiness, safety and security we’re slowly destroying our sense of empathy and giving in to a darker way of life that ultimately can only end in misery.”
“Inspiration favours the industrious,” wrote Neville Brody. Krysthla have worked hard and been blessed with inspiration.
This is an outstanding record of incredible strength, heaviness, depth, emotion, and with lyrics that hold a mirror to the world and invite reflection and a change of path.
I can’t but give it full marks.
Review score: 100%
Rob at Stampede UK contacted me inviting me to preview Krysthla’s forthcoming album, which I was delighted about. I have no connections to either party. I’m not being paid to review this. But I did get a free digital copy of the album to review which is pretty cool. Many thanks to Rob at Stampede UK , and to Krysthla for creating such fresh, exciting metal.