(III) - Crystal Castles
Metascore
76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33
  1. 90
    Being doomed seldom sounded so beautiful.
  2. Largely, (III) is an excellent album. Crystal Castles have not just recreated their first two records, they have developed as a band and their sound has morphed greatly.
  3. Nov 13, 2012
    86
    The album is undoubtedly a jump from their first, with a gentle climb after the second.
  4. Nov 13, 2012
    85
    It is whole, undiluted Crystal Castles--and it's as haunting and raw as might be imagined.
  5. Nov 13, 2012
    83
    Crystal Castles aren't as cold as they appear to be, but they are calculating--(III) is an expertly produced album that, at just nearly 40 minutes, leaves fans wanting more.
  6. Dec 11, 2012
    80
    [Glass's] lyrics are often buried in the mix, but no amount of production occultation can hide the fact that the likes of Plague are excelsior anthems for the End Times. [Jan 2013, p.103]
  7. Nov 28, 2012
    80
    Whether doomily atmospheric or dissonant like 'Insulin', Crystal Castles successfully nail it for the third time running.
  8. Nov 27, 2012
    80
    Perennial outsiders to the death, Crystal Castles' third act is inspiring, warped, feverishly uncomfortable, bold, bloody and brilliant.
  9. Nov 16, 2012
    80
    Rarely is an electronic album like sparked with such radical confidence.
  10. Nov 16, 2012
    80
    Even though (III) is Crystal Castles' most unified album, the text of Glass' voice is still faceless and without words--empty.
  11. Nov 15, 2012
    80
    It took me a few listens to accept the trance synth riffs that dominate, not to mention Alice Glass's increasingly melodic screeching, but the apocalyptic undertones are surprisingly effective with some sugar on top.
  12. 80
    III is less playful than the duo's previous couple of offerings, but it's thematic mood is much tighter and more fully realized.
  13. Nov 14, 2012
    80
    Artistic progress is as much about subtraction as it is about addition, and on III, Crystal Castles have made room to be sad, angry, pretty, and danceable at the same time.
  14. Nov 13, 2012
    80
    The core elements are so big, like blasts of pure plasmic energy, that it sounds planet-sized.
  15. Nov 13, 2012
    80
    By focusing on the scars that aren't always visible on the surface, Crystal Castles have delivered their most consistent album yet.
  16. Nov 13, 2012
    80
    If iii was a pizza it would be kinda disgusting to look at, it would never really cool down and it would probably give me indigestion, but it would taste absolutely delicious.
  17. Nov 13, 2012
    80
    Sometimes controlled, occasionally chaotic, this new album packs a powerful impact.
  18. Nov 13, 2012
    80
    While not as immediately striking as either Crystal Castles (I or II), the streamlined sound allows more maneuverability and subtle variety in the actual songwriting.
  19. Nov 13, 2012
    80
    Witch House is an obvious influence, and you could question whether the former chip-tune terrorists are still as ahead of the curve as they once were. It hardly matters when they can come up with stuff like Child I Will Hurt You, a dream-state lullaby that is both beautiful and unbearably sorrowful.
  20. If the Mayans were right and the world really is going to end this December, you won't hear many better soundtracks than this.
  21. Nov 13, 2012
    78
    In deadly seriousness, it's hardly an exaggeration to suggest you've surely never heard anything like (III).
  22. Nov 13, 2012
    70
    In running time and number of songs, (III) may be their shortest album, but it's also their most cohesive personal statement yet.
  23. Nov 13, 2012
    70
    The result is another engaging, club-inspired nightmare. This one, though, doesn't ever jolt you awake.
  24. Dec 17, 2012
    60
    The dozen songs, recorded in one take, make for an uncomfortable but absorbing trip. [Jan 2013, p.92]
  25. Dec 17, 2012
    60
    A quantum leap it ain't--and Glass could do with putting her fangs back in--but (III) has just enough up its sleeve to keep Crystal Castles on track.
  26. Nov 13, 2012
    60
    For every instance on III set to give the listener an aural acid bath, there are nearly as many that might induce a snooze on the bus, and a dribble on your neighbouring passenger's shoulder.
  27. Nov 13, 2012
    60
    There's nothing surprising or too far outside their comfort zone.
  28. Nov 13, 2012
    60
    You'd have to say that III is a good Crystal Castles album. But given that II was a great Crystal Castles album, the trend isn't going the way that you'd hope.
  29. Dec 3, 2012
    50
    He's brilliant when juxtaposing rhythmic brutality against euphonious familiarity; but here, he seems exhausted by the former and ashamed of the latter.
  30. Nov 29, 2012
    50
    Glass' distorted barks and coos are a highlight of their first two albums and live sets--but any political message the band intends in III is lost under layers of digital dirt.
  31. Nov 13, 2012
    50
    III is an album of earnest, expansive electronica from a duo few are expecting such sincerity from, and it edges them directly into the middle of the road.
  32. Nov 13, 2012
    50
    Instead of anarchist dance jams full of crunchy 8-bit noise, (III) is more like a static-filled radio station fading in and out of range.
  33. Nov 13, 2012
    40
    Track after track leans heavily on the relentless four-to-the-floor of trance, with Alice Glass's yelped vocals muffled under a weight of sound that's simultaneously boring and abrasive.
User Score
8.4

Universal acclaim- based on 58 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 7
  2. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. Nov 13, 2012
    9
    Crystal Castles have followed up their acclaimed and beautiful yet brutal second album with a raw, dark, depressing, and honest collection of material that succeeds in showing fantastic maturation and growth. Less of a social experience than their previous release, the stripped down production almost hints at a desire to alienate insincere "fans". This is not a feel-good or very danceable album. This is experimental dance music for the thinking person fed up with the current political climate and its blatantly over the top disrespect for and objectivation of women. This is "punk" music at its absolute finest. (III) should disappoint nobody, except of course for the completely unaware Tumblr-obsessed Tweens who listen to bands solely because of their hair colors and visual blogability (don't blame the band, that kind of thing is inevitable). This album is so aesthetically pleasing that if you care about the kind of social issues the band have expressed so much concern with as of late, diving into this deep world of gloom will prove to be an experience greater than I & II. Highlights: Plague, Kerosene, Wrath of God, Affection, Sad Eyes, Violent Youth, Child I Will Hurt You (honestly the whole album). Full Review »
  2. Nov 16, 2012
    10
    III is consistent, cohesive and tight. There is no late album tail-off here - no filler. Perfectly paced and sequenced and very, very affecting. Full of insidious pop hooks and dark, unbalanced instrumentation, lyrics and ideas. No one else does this sort of music as well, and CC have never done it better than here. Full Review »
  3. Nov 16, 2012
    5
    It's not a bad album by any stretch of the imagination but there's so much wrong with it - they seem to have replaced their usual skippy, catchy hi-hat based drum beats with flat drum rhythms that are more bass heavy but don't carry any kind of weight with them and the usual right-hand synth leads that were there in abundance on their previous two albums have been replaced with hazy, dull chords that feel more like "haunting" pads than anything else. It really does show how much Alice's usually violent vocal delivery actually contributes to Crystal Castles' overall sound when she's forced to sing in a breathy, "haunting" way. She's far too subdued for my liking this time around. She tends to get swallowed up in some really bland and generic synth patterns that you could find on any witch-house record or any random electronic DJ-mix.

    There are some pretty catchy vocal hooks on there, and I have to give them credit for trying to expand their sound, but overall it's a big disappointment.
    Full Review »