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The Crystal Method
Legion of Boom
By Keith Kehrer
(more articles from this author)
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Artist: The Crystal Method
CD Title: Legion of Boom
Label: V2 Records

I have always dug The Crystal Method. They seem always to be able to pull in the biggest drum and biggest bass sounds and combine them with the catchiest riffs and sing along voice samples. This CD is no different, but it is. The Crystal Method seems to have gotten heavier and have solidified their signature sound and pulled in some great collaborations, especially Wes Borland ex of Limp Biskit. Limp Biskit's loss; Crystal Method's gain. There is nothing limp about his guitar-playing here.

1. "Starting Over" starts out with a gentle electric piano riff and fades into monster synth, chunky bass, and one of their trademark in your face drum loops. The Crystal Method sets up for another booty fest. This one is a little different though, as we shall see. Not sure what the sampled voice is saying. It sounds something like boop boop boop boop boop, the ink dot. You got me. But, it sounds cool.

2. "Born Too Slow" is a little different. It sort of sounds like Aerosmith meets The Stones meets Fatboy Slim. It seems that their record company has been busy. Along with the opening song for Third Watch, I just heard this one on an episode of CSI during a club scene.

3. "True Grit" builds from a groovy little synth riff and oozes into a big bass line with video game phaser sounds. Totally synth-crazy with a soulful voice sample, the breakdowns are perfect. The first time I played this I was in my car and I could hardly keep from standing up and shaking everything. "I'm sorry officer, listening to the new Crystal Method". "Oh, ok. Why didn't you say so son. Try pulling your car over the next time."

4. "American Way" reminds me of Electric Avenue by Eddie Grant. With its fat moogy bass, deeply compressed snare and chopped vocoder rhythms, it is sort of an eighties throwback. I mean that in a good way. Lots of little sounds come and go. There's a standout brass/string stab that really drives this track.

5. "I Know It's You For Me" is probably the weakest track on the CD. The sounds are great, but the track doesn't seem to go anywhere. It kind of lopes along not really peaking.

6. "Realizer" is a great locked beat, electro thing with a soulful vocal performance by Lisa Kekaula singing "I'm a realizer. I'm on my way." Not sure what she's going on about, but, it sounds great. A repeated bass pattern, snappy high hat, tight snare and pong synth line drive this one into a groove that had my rocking in my chair, much to the dismay of my cat.

7. "Broken" is one of my favs on this CD. Wes Borland is on board again playing like he was a member of that non-existent Crystal Method. This one starts out very mysterious with just a high hat, bass and a spacey sound that swirls from side to side. Wes adds a squeezed little Arabic line that sets a dark mood. A jumpy, fat, groove settles in and falls out and lets single note guitar switch from side to side. The track ebbs and flows from there until everything is smashed together for a monster dance floor groove.

8. "Weapons of Mass Destruction" has plenty of substance (as opposed to the results of the U.S. inspections in Iraq. But, I digress). I absolutely love this one. The arpeggiated guitar, the Arabic line, the huge power chords. This one is all Wes.

9. "Bound Too Long" has sort a dubby, eighties feel that makes me think of one of those eighties crime dramas, hip and comy with lots of big hair and new wave club scenes. It doesn't really go anywhere, but, makes you want to move just the same.

10. "Acetone" is so groovy. It's a techno slam. My video game fingers were itching to zap some bad guys listening to this. Very synth-heavy, but set off by a deeply compressed acoustic drum loop. I was playing this in my car during the season of the 17-year locusts and I swear that a bunch of them stopped by my car, listened and started shaking their wings at me. I guess they loved the squeeky little bug sounds that snuck in and out of the track. Horny little devils!

11. "High and Low" makes me drive faster and start passing cars and just overall act like a crazy man. This is Ken and Scott doing what they do best: build earth shaking grooves with processed vocals flying, snares slamming, breaks from hell, and gut wrenching bass lines. I just had to crank this one as load as I could. My head is exploding. My butt is shaking. Heaven.

12. "Wide Open" is a perfectly mesmerizing. It's a perfect chill out after a CD of slamming grooves and big guitars. The guy saying "Totally wide open" sounds like Squiggy from Laverne and Shirley. Could it be? With monster bass, big drums and floating keys and some sort of conversation going on I was ready to do my best Adam Ant with tribal war paint and all. Ok, so that dates me. I am pretty hip for an old guy. I still go the moves. Just watch. This is a perfect end to a pretty close to perfect CD. Good work guys!

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