Worldwide Negative is the third album from Northamptonshire’s Krysthla, who’ve been on an upward trajectory since the release of their critically acclaimed 2017 sophomore album Peace in Our Time. They’ve cemented themselves into the UK metal scene, touring relentlessly, playing in some of the UKs most salubrious venues (I managed to catch them play at Reading’s Facebar in March 2019 in front of a respectably sized crowd), before culminating in a main stage appearance at this years’ Bloodstock Festival. The question is whether this release can catapult them to the next level…the answer as you’d expect from me decidedly undecided.
As seems to be the trend of late, many bands are releasing smaller compact albums, no doubt as a consequence of the way music is consumed today. More money is made on the road, thus shorter albums can either leave the ardent follower feeling short changed or removes all the filler to just leave the killer in terms of musical quality. With only eight tracks, Worldwide Negative is no exception to these rules and could fall into either camp. Krysthla tend to play thrash metal consisting of their own signature sound, which moulds together Slipknot, Fear Factory and LoG, while simultaneously dipping their toes into death metal waters. The recently released single ‘Zero Sum Game’ and opener ‘Negative’ are two of the stand out tracks on offer and both feature blast beats and vocals which straddle both Corey Taylor and Burton C Bell. The latter also deals with mental illness and suicide; the album doesn’t shy away from dark sensitive topics.
However, musically, Worldwide Negative doesn’t reinvent the wheel or deviate from the myriad of other bands swimming in this particular shallow pool of influences. They have a distinctive guitar sound, which is difficult to describe, it’s down tuned and sounds a little Korn-y, like a spring collapsing on itself creating an inverse ‘boing’. This tends to rear its sometime ugly head in almost every song, always finding a place in Krysthla’s rigid song structure. Unfortunately this is my main issue with Worldwide Negative; there’s no variety. By and large the songs start fast and heavy, speeding along on a wave of jackhammer drums and staccato riffs before slowing down for the introduction of melodic guitars and clean choruses before speeding up again and reverting back to how they started. There are some promising moments; ‘The Gift’ begins with a suitably death metal guitar riff galloping along, it’s titillating, until it hits a snag, the plodding middle with its harmonious guitars and cumbersome melody undermines the central riff. It’s frustrating; I’m all for a bit of melody every now and again, but used sparingly rather than for the sake of it.
I really wanted to like Worldwide Negative because having seen them live Krysthla are solid and dependable as well as putting in the hard yards touring the toilet scene and honing their craft, but this is generic and doesn’t offer anything new. It manages to skirt the right side of mediocrity based on a couple of generally exciting tracks and a couple more that show real signs of promise, but the majority of the album is predictable and the inexplicable inclusion of melody during the middle of every song undermines a lot of the momentum that Krysthla have built up. In isolation one or two songs could help Krysthla make the jump to the bigger leagues, but as an album, it feels more like a sideways pass in midfield than a defence splitting through ball.
(6/10 James Jackson)