I’ve watched Krysthla steadily build quite the dedicated fanbase
since their 2015 debut, A War of Souls and Desires, hit the
metal scene. They rode the momentum this album created for them with
a blistering follow up in 2017’s Peace In Our Time (as
reviewed here), and live shows which
cemented their credentials as one of the UK’s must-see metal bands,
proving their worth on the festival stages, most notably with a typically
brutal assault on the Bloodstock masses from the Ronnie James Dio main
stage this year.
So with barely time to blink (and not forgetting a drummer change in
the last year too) the third album is upon us. Releasing three albums
in just four years is a rare occurrence in these modern times and any
band this prolific runs the risk of rehashing previous material to no
real effect. Not so with Krysthla. In Worldwide Negative they
continue to mine from the rich seam of musical creativity that shaped
the previous albums, the groove laden riffage, breakneck blast beats,
and knack for timing a knockout punch are still in abundance, but a
deeper melodic current has been unearthed which flows throughout much
of the record, adding a shimmer that elevates the whole album to another
It is merely hinted at first as the album opens in characteristic Krysthla
style with double bass drums and guitars machine gunning riffs in perfect
sync while vocals roar with absolute hostility. Juxtaposed to this is
Negativity’s chorus, a flowing guitar lick over a mid
tempo groove that will surely get heads banging in the pit. As the song’s
title suggests, lyrically we’re into dark territory, typical of
much of the album and of course the metal genre as a whole, but where
others write by numbers Krysthla’s sentiment feels more genuine,
their world weariness a driving force to make music with something meaningful
It’s not all doom and gloom though as Reawaken reminds
us that hope still remains even at the lowest points in life. This song
also ramps up the melodic output with a grandiose instrumental introduction
before another crushing groove takes us through the verse to a sung
chorus. Yes, a sung chorus! Catchy too. Don’t think for a minute
Krysthla are selling out though, the song loses none of its weight and
the vocals elsewhere have enough visceral ferocity to more than compensate.
It’s a sign of progression in their sound, and a welcome one if
more songs like this and Zero Sum Game are a consequence. Here,
Krysthla prove again what a nuanced band they are, with a skill for
guiding the uninitiated along melodically intriguing paths while braver
listeners can throw themselves into the sonic storm raging off-piste.
Grief Is New Love and White Castles are two songs
that push towards the seven minute mark and both benefit from the extra
time with space for elongated musical workouts, the former driving home
some mind bending syncopation and progressive djenty elements to bring
the songs to a finish of feedback and harmonised vocals. Moments such
as these set this album apart, and there are plenty of them. Praise
should be given to guitarist Neil Hudson who produced, engineered, mixed
and mastered the record. Quite the labour of love I’d assume,
given the complexity of the sound, but I’m sure keeping such a
sharp musical focus among such intricacy could only be achieved by having
just one person with a distinct vision at the helm.
More hard hitting social commentary accompanies Psalm Of Heartlessness.
Again the lyrics are manically spat with throat shredding aggression,
but this track shows Krysthla reaching for the blunter tools preferring
to serve up a weightier old school bludgeoning, the paired double bass
drums and palm muted guitar crunch doing most of the work.
Aurea Mediocritas features another cool guitar lick boinging
and bouncing over another cool mid tempo bass and drum groove (and man,
that bass sounds dirrrrty), while the lead guitar’s higher note
counterpoint brings a haunting menace between verses. At times atmospheric,
often quite hypnotising, always intimidating… And so, in line
with the previous albums, the eighth song heralds the end. The Gift
brings the record to a close with a return to a heightened state of
melody and a more traditional structure too, even feeling slightly classic,
complete with a guitar solo to heighten the sense of grandeur.
Compared with the other two Krysthla albums, Worldwide Negative is the
culmination of their debut’s original statement of intent. It’s
yet another step forward, when Peace In Our Time already seemed hard
to improve upon. Without losing the sheer overhelming heaviness that
is so key to their sound the band have managed to find space to further
develop the melodic aspects of their music. Again, the pure musicality
of this band impresses greatly. Worldwide Negative must surely open
up new horizons for the band, perhaps, and deservedly so, on a global
scale… is the world ready?
Worldwide negatve is available now from all the usual outlets, released
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