REVIEW ROUND-UP: Currents, Crashface, Cyan Kicks

Artwork for Currents’ ‘The Death We Seek’ - a hellscape dominated by towers and red rivers


The Death We Seek

The Death We Seek presents a more developed and powerful form of metallic hardcore from US quintet Currents. The unyielding guitars, driving percussion and fierce vocal performances come together to produce a thrilling and enticing album.

The title track opens the album with an epic thundering heaviness. The guitar and bass tones are just delicious with an abrasive edge that forms an immense wall of sound. Harsh vocals in combination with the distortion create an enveloping sense of darkness. Breaking out into the anthemic chorus, the contrasting lighter tone from clean vocals and instrumentation produce a powerful flow of dynamics across the structure of the track. Unfamiliar sees intricate lead guitar melodies enhance the textural layers of the music, while the guitar solo and shimmering clean guitar leads introduce an airy atmosphere. There are ballad-like elements, yet the song retains Currents’ heaviness that prevails through the tracklist on The Death We Seek. Unfamiliar delivers a more openly vulnerable sound that is aptly conveyed through the instrumentation, arrangement, and execution.

Beyond This Road contains an eerie undertone with dissonance luring in the background and aggressive vocals evoking a monstrous feel. The chorus, while soaring and seeing the mood shift, still retains this eerie aspect through the continuation of the string parts and presence of the harsh vocals. Doubling up clean and harsh vocal layers in the chorus enhances the power the of the vocal lines and gives an interesting texture. Vengeance ventures further into the shadows with dissonant panned staccato stabs running though the intro and continuing into the verse giving a sense of restlessness. This track maintains a darker, heavier tone throughout with rhythmic distorted guitars and percussion driving the intense rhythms, and harsh vocals really emphasising a demonic feel. Gone Astray brings ludicrously noisy guitars, with ethereal strings and both cleans and harsh vocals soaring above. The metal instrumental in Gone Astray lean more into the technical and djent styles, leading to a highly impactful sound. The concluding Guide Us Home weaves a melancholic mood through minimal verses before reaching powerful emotive intensity in the choruses. The rhythmic breakdown injects the heavy without diverging too far away from the character of the song.

Currents journey through an array of emotive narratives in The Death We Seek. Ranging from the headbanging mosh-pit ready breakdowns to power-ballad realms, Currents have produced a collection of charismatic and deeply compelling songs. • HR

For fans of: Spiritbox, Imminence, Northlane

‘The Death We Seek’ by Currents is out now on Sharptone Records.

Artwork for Crashface’s ‘Prototype’ - both members of Crashface looking in different directions. There is red smoke behind them



If you’re betting against Crashface at this point, you’re pretty much asking to get your eye wiped. Not only are they deep in a wave of punk and post-hardcore that’s taken its harder, more defined edges to real heights as of late, but they’re also really good at it. This is all from one EP too, as Heavy Infectious did a lot put their name on the map in terms of traction that’s only been consistently ramping since its release in 2021. Right now, the precipice that Crashface are standing on can’t be ignored, and Prototype feels like the step off the edge needed to soar into post-hardcore’s wide open sky.

Though maybe a metaphor that flowery doesn’t do justice to what Crashface are all about. For this duo, that kind of loftiness is way off the table, in favour of something grimier more liable to ram itself into any available space. It’s very much what this sort of thing does; in terms of sonic footprints, Crashface’s isn’t a million miles away from peers in similar circles. But that hardly matters, does it? Prototype is all about the volume and exertion and bellowing release, to where the main lyric in your opener being “Scream if you wanna go faster” feels exceptionally appropriate. Charlie Hinton’s vocals come curled and barbed in a way you’d find from, say, modern Bring Me The Horizon at their most venom-spitting; meanwhile, Otto Balfour cranks up the bass and programming to keep that vibe roaring on the likes of No Hands and Flakjacket.

Comparatively, Lovedoom feels as though it’s missing some vitality that everything else here has. It earmarks that as the weakest track here, but also serves as an indication of how Crashface shine elsewhere—when they fully lean in to maximalist, walloping size. If you want to bring back the Bring Me The Horizon comparisons, that certainly tracks, but the punk streak in Crashface carves out their persona a lot more. They’re brash and scrappy at their best, and the kinetic sparks produced on Prototype as guitars and production techniques seethe and saw away evidence how well that works for them. Scream and No Hands show it off the best, but there’s also a quasi-industrial casing on Goosebumps and Steel to bring it to the surface. Both musically and in style and aesthetic, Crashface are airtight here.

That’s really why their rise so far has felt so noteworthy. They’re still new, for sure, but the command of their sound they’ve got is already so tightly hewn and ready to combust. The fact that that was the case from the jump speaks volumes, and with Prototype here to prove it was no fluke, Crashface feel more or less ready to storm forth in full capacity now. Just look at ‘em go—it feels like there’s not a single thing that can hold them back. • LN

For fans of: Bring Me The Horizon, Saint Agnes, Lake Malice

‘Prototype’ by Crashface is released on 10th May.

Artwork for Cyan Kicks’ ‘I Never Said 4ever’ - all four members of Cyan Kicks wearing a different shade of pink

Cyan Kicks

I Never Said 4Ever

In the growing quotient of rock bands putting in bids for Eurovision, here’s Cyan Kicks, whose song Hurricane was put forward to represent Finland in last year’s contest. And while unsuccessful, they’ve definitely embraced what’s become an itemised sound for bands with such aspiration, namely some degrees of alt-metal and pop-rock with a lot of deliberate plasticity to it. For Cyan Kicks though, that seems to be more a reaction to the Eurovision wave. They used to be a more standard rock band, with the increased pop presence—be that in sound or aesthetic—as a fairly recent development, and one that has a hard time finding footing of its own.

And that isn’t the fault of Cyan Kicks entirely, as you can really tell they’re giving this a good go. It’s mainly vocalist Susanna that that applies to, who mightn’t deviate too far from the ‘European power-rock frontwoman’ template, but it’s lasted this long for a reason. She’s clearly intended as I Never Said 4Ever’s driving force, a fact that’s only reinforced when she’s leaps and bounds ahead of everything else in terms of memorability. Again, Cyan Kicks’ thought process here is very well telegraphed—there’s a lot of stuff thrown in here, and by rights, that should make it big and tremendous and bombastic by default, right? Well…they’ve definitely got the size nailed down, and on Can’t Get You Out Of My Bed or Unbearable, that’s pretty rewarding. But the lack of staying flavour and a beefier-than-necessary runtime really leaves I Never Said 4Ever dragging its feet, and not in small doses either.

It’s a problem that a lot of these bands have, where their squeaky-clean alt-metal struggles to satisfy, so the knee-jerk reaction of throwing in a slug of pop is the fast-handed workaround to actual issues. To Cyan Kicks’ credit, they at least go a bit further with it; it’ll extend out to EDM trills and whirrs on lostboi, or more of an engulfing production presence really across the board. The effort has been made for this to sound right at home on those big Eurovision stages, and props to Cyan Kicks for trying their hand at that. But any enjoyment doesn’t last, and the shallowness endemic in this particular stripe of alt-metal lumbers back into frame to weigh the album down entirely. You’ll likely get bored before you find a moment of real euphoria, or something you couldn’t get elsewhere from countless other bands who aren’t this bloated.

As functionally pointless at it might be to criticise pop songs that are effectively custom-built for mass, committee-driven appeal, it’s hard to say that Cyan Kicks succeed even by that metric. As far as songwriting or lyricism or composition goes, you’ll often find them in the middle of the road, trying to gee themselves up with flash and sparkle to convince anyone nearby that they’re more than that. But unfortunately, they aren’t. It’s far from the worst thing ever, but like so much to come from the Eurovision circus—and even its adjacent fields—you’ll likely never remember this exists by this time next year. That’s a very generous timeframe, too. • LN

For fans of: Icon For Hire, Amaranthe, Flyleaf

‘I Never Said 4Ever’ by Cyan Kicks is out now on Ranka Kustannus.

Words by Holly Royle (HR) and Luke Nuttall (LN)

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