Punk EDM rebels Crystal Castles have emerged from recording reclusion with their most focused and important album. It’s also their darkest. Take track titles like “Plague,” “Wrath of God,” “Pale Flesh” and “Violent Youth,” where obscured notions of cruelty and victimization are weaved into delicate layers of noise. The quick-hitting bursts of bratty aggression are gone – this album is more consistent and controlled than anything we’ve heard from Crystal Castles up to this point.

So what prodded the change? A huge clue is the album’s cover photo, where, in stark black and white, a veiled woman cradles her wounded, naked son. The haunting image came from a street demonstration in Yemen just over a year ago, where snipers and artillery tanks were set against protestors of the country’s oppressive government. The picture has become the band’s inescapable banner, looming over the stage before shows and standing as the sole image on their website. It communicates affection in a climate of oppression and depravity, a soft sentiment overwhelmed by the darkness provoking it. It’s the perfect visual accompaniment to an album about helplessness and rage, where evil is identified as inescapable and without reason.

“I’ll protect you from all the things I’ve seen,” says singer Alice Glass on “Kerosene,” a bleak cry for deliverance in the form of whispers and high, manipulated vocal tones. Glass explained her feelings in a pre-release statement for “III” – “A lot of bad things have happened to people close to me since “II,” and it’s profoundly influenced my writing… It feels like the world is a dystopia where victims don’t get justice and corruption prevails.” With “(III),” Crystal Castles have created their own slow-burning counter-strike using the unique vehicle of EDM to spread feelings of disgust towards injustice.


About the Author

Paul Kitti
Paul Kitti
Paul is another awesome member of the iSPY team.