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ALBUM REVIEW
Krysthla - Worlwide Negative
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Krysthla - Worldwide Negative album cover

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 level.

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 to say.

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 by PHD.

Find out more about Krysthla here.

Here's the video for the Zero Sum Game...


(Published 17/08/2019)


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