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(III)

4.7 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (7 Nov. 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Fiction
  • ASIN: B009GYSQV6
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 15,755 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

BBC Review

Crystal Castles’ roots lie in bleepy goth-dance, and the lo-fi, video-game style of their early songs sounded very much of the bedroom in which they were recorded.

It’d be wrong to say that the Canadian duo have completely left those origins behind with this, their third self-titled album – in fact, there’s much continuity across Crystal Castles’ output. But rather than peddle the same trick, they display steady progression.

Riding a ferocious tide of hype towards 2008’s debut, their graduation from toilet venues to top billing at festivals was swift, and it’s taken a little while for the music to catch up. With their third consecutive eponymous LP, the band’s sonic escalation finally matches the size of their popularity.

Epic more or less throughout, apocalyptically triumphant synths rage in surround-sound, while Alice Glass’ voice rings through the tumult like that of a demi-god trapped in a vast, complex machine. The cyborg singer’s anthropological side is indulged more here than before, as she struggles harder than ever against her robotic restraints.

Glass has always had the strange power to elicit emotion in spite of the dehumanising manipulation of her vocals. On (III) she goes further, frequently surfacing above the cogs and wires to affirm that her soul yet lives.

This dichotomy at the very heart of Crystal Castles is becoming more compelling by the album. On Affection, her performance is truly heartbreaking, words drifting delicately over stumbling programmed drums.

The ironic thing about (III) sounding so immense is that the tracks are typically less cluttered than the last two records. But the core elements are so big, like blasts of pure plasmic energy, that it sounds planet-sized.

It’s not meant for the riot-bating boltholes or ravey discos of yore; (III)’s rightful home is a colossal stadium in space, starships trading laser-blows overhead, as rogue stars collide in the far distance. Meanwhile, a clock above the stage countdowns from 39 minutes to zero, at which point one of two things will happen: Glass will finally break free of the machines that enslave her; or this, the ultimate cosmic venue, will self-destruct.

--Darren Loucaides

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Customer Reviews

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I play Crystal Castles relentlessly, and this one will join the playlist. Nothing too much unusual in that I suppose, but I must confess to owning a Bus Pass. I'm not trying to relive my youth, I just think the music that Ethan and Alice produce is the best and most exciting thing around at the moment. If you liked the first two you'll like this-at full volume. +++
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By the time III's first track Plague climaxes, shuddering through a cacophony of witch-house synths and abrasive shrieks, it's clear that Crystal Castles mean business. Recorded in Warsaw, the third album from Ethan Kath and Alice Glass is influenced by Glass's proclamations of being "one step away from a vigilante". Over just 12 tracks - not an ounce of fat here - the duo tackle dystopic trance beats (Sad Eyes), eerie electronics (Pale Flesh, Insulin) and minimal, tender moments that pack a surprising punch (Child I Will Hurt You). Highly recommended.
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There has a lot been made of Crystal Castles decision to record their third album using analogue equipment and that somehow the duo were going to become tamer and lose their bass heavy signature sound that they had perfected on their last two albums, well any fears that was going to happen are put to rest on album opener "Plague" which will opens with a siren almost to warn the listener what is coming next and that is nearly 5 minutes of bass pounding music just the type Crystal Castles do so well.

In fact the whole album doesn't stray too far from Crystal Castles signature sound of their first two albums. "Pale Flesh" features a Beastie Boys style beat throughout the track as Alice Glass alternates between shrieking and singing. "Sad Eyes" has a big disco beat that is meant to be played loud. The track "Insulin" which at less than two minutes long is the shortest track on the album and sounds like it has been mixed in a blender and then played backwards; if it were anybody but Crystal castles it would sound strange. There's even the beauty of Alice's vocals on album closer "Child I will Hurt You".

If you are familiar with Crystal castles first two albums then you will know what to expect from their third album which is a lot of big pounding beats, lots of noise and some shrieking vocals. So it's business as usual from one of the most exciting electronic bands out there at the moment. At band that really have to be seen live to truly appreciate.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
On (III), Crystal Castles go for a darker, more refined sound, creating an extremely good album.

Plague - The first release from (III), dark and progressive with a grinding bass. 9/10

Kerosene - With a strong bassline and a combination of high pitched vocals and high pressure,dry, jagged synths, plus one my favourite synth riffs of 2012, this is my pick of the album. Perfect song. 10/10

Wrath Of God - Opening with warm but sombre layered synths, the track explodes into an apocalyptic chorus, featuring icy chords and distorted vocals. Bleak,sinister and excellent. 10/10

Affection - Drenched in reverb, Alice's vocals drift across the sprightly instrumental on this chilled out track. 7/10

Pale Flesh - A minimal, jittery synth line is hit with vocals dripping with pain. Dark & emotive. 9/10

Sad Eyes - Pulsing, sorrow tinged dance track. Most commercial song on the album. Melancholic. 8/10

Insulin - Opens with 80s horror synths, before breaking into crackling menacing distorted basslines and shouty vocals. 7/10

Transgender - Eerie and haunting dance-tinged track with echoing vocals. Pleasant. 8/10

Violent Youth - An upbeat electro song featuring chunky bass synth lines and simple but memorable melodies. 8/10

Telepath - Uplifiting electro-dance track, one of the best on the album. Happiest track on the album. Every chord & note is perfectly chosen. 10/10

Mercenary - One of the more experimental tracks on here, has a spiritual vibe to it. Interesting string-like synth riffs. 8/10

Child I Will Hurt You - Mystical, beautiful closing track. Twinkling instrumental complimented by angelic vocals. Sounds festive. 9/10

This is the perfect dark electro album.
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Time will tell, but I think this could well be their best album yet.
'Child I will hurt you' is a change of pace, but one of the most sublime songs for a winter evening...

I had no interest in buying the physical CD but it worked out cheaper to do that and get the free instant digital download than buying just the digital album - how can that make any sense?!
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Crystal Castles, whilst remaining to sound like Crystal Castles have changed their sound. If you go back and listen to their first album then make your way to III then you can see that there is a difference. Despite this you still know it's them. You still have Alice's garbled voice, screaming here and there and you still have killer synths. But in III Alice sings alot, like in "Tell Me What to Swallow" but whilst Ethan backs her up with chaos. It's beautiful.

Plague and Kerosene are a solid start to the album and the latter has the haunting lyric "I'll protect you from all the things I've seen." Wrath of God is my personally favourite and a synthplosion happens in the chorus. This is followed up with Affection which is amazing, there a ghostly oos that you would expect to hear in the middle of the woods at midnight on a lonely walk home.

Pale Flesh has the glitchy feel to it that the first one had with cold synths accompaning it, commonplace in this albums sound. Next we have Sad Eyes which is brilliant. The song feels like a really depressed rave where everybody in attendance knows that they're going to die the next day. Insulin is like a tamed "Doe Deer" that has been refined. And then, we have Transgender. I think of Nina from Black Swan slowly practising her pirouette eventually turning into the Black Swan. It's beautiful and haunting. Alice's vocals are what makes it so chilling. This band are becoming masterful in what they do.

Violent Youth carried a feel of the sound from the first two albums, as does Telepath. These two songs probably incorporate all of the sounds of all three albums in one.

Mercenary slows the atmosphere down a bit before Child I Will Hurt You. This song is similar to all of their last tracks on I and II.
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