(III) - Crystal Castles
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Metascore
76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.4

Universal acclaim- based on 61 Ratings

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  • Band members: Ethan Kath, Alice Glass
  • Summary: The third release for the Canadian electro-pop duo was produced by the band member Ethan Kath and recorded in Berlin and Warsaw.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33
  1. 90
    Being doomed seldom sounded so beautiful.
  2. 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.
  3. Nov 13, 2012
    80
    Sometimes controlled, occasionally chaotic, this new album packs a powerful impact.
  4. Nov 16, 2012
    80
    Rarely is an electronic album like sparked with such radical confidence.
  5. Nov 13, 2012
    78
    In deadly seriousness, it's hardly an exaggeration to suggest you've surely never heard anything like (III).
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

See all 33 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 8
  2. Negative: 0 out of 8
  1. 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. Collapse
  2. Nov 29, 2012
    9
    Crystal Castles both benefit and suffer from being loved so much by their audience. They have been cherished like a first-born and, in many cases, that adoration insists that, to keep things perfect, nothing must change. Ever. But (III) is change. It is the sound of a journey, of growing, and wanting to tell people what you've seen. Of course, not everyone wants to grow up just yet, and for them the first two albums are still there; forever unaltered. For those who want to go somewhere this album is a wonderful experience. Experimentation, gloom and (yet) energy pour out. Synapses get giddy as it becomes clear the trip will not be predictable. But it will be playful and inspiring. This is a great record, and it puts them amongst a handful of artists who refuse to buy into the idea that challenging their audience is a risk to their 'business', and that being entertaining while you do that isn't in any way a sellout. In truth, you need both to make a lasting impact. So, three for three Expand
  3. 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). Expand
  4. Aug 13, 2014
    8
    In retrospective, Crystal Castles have become one of the most significant musical duos of the 21st century: Ethan Kath composes some of the strangest synth noises and then Alice Glass' even stranger vocals -- which can transcend from magically soothing to screaming-in-your-f***ing-face within seconds -- are the icing on the Crystal cake. But eventually, everybody matures and although (III) still has some of that eardrum-disembowling synth ("Insulin", short, sweet, and a highlight, tbh) we fell in love with on (II)'s "Doe Deer", most of everything here aims at a moodier, more melancholy sound. That was Ethan and Alice's intentions beforehand, but it comes off more cynical this time around, especially if you read into the purpose of the album cover (don't ask, Google it).

    It's now 2014 and in all honesty, (III) has aged as well as the rest of their discography has. Although the softer, sleepier sounds might sound unappealing for a duo at CC's level of loudness, you'll crave them sooner or later. "Kerosene", "Wrath of God", and "Transgender" specifically may not 'sound' like they go anywhere climactic upon first listen, but they're actually an explosion of gorgeous melodies that should be catered to at a calmer moment in your life. The opening "Plague" and the safer "Sad Eyes" could work as the poppiest moments on the album if they had more distinguishable vocals, but we don't really want that. To sum it all up, give (III) a chance. Even if you didn't like it back then, it has the unique ability of growing on you upon later listens.
    Expand
  5. Nov 15, 2012
    7
    As a long time fan of CC, I'd say that this album is ultimately satisfying. The variety of the songs is refreshing, and some are especially wonderful. The only downfall is that none of the songs are spectacular, like was evident in previous works (Alice Practice, Not In Love, etc). Standouts are: Plague, Insulin, Affection, Violent Youth and Telepath. Expand
  6. Nov 18, 2012
    6
    I've been a Crystal Castles fan for about a half a year already. I adored their debut immensely upon firs listen, and couldn't stop listening to it from then on. Then I gave their sophomore album a listen and was almost as blown away as I was about their first one. Both electro masterpieces in my opinion. (III) was my most anticipated this year. My expectations were out of the roof. Maybe that wasn't the best idea. Crystal Castles III is really unlike their first two LP's. They went for a much darker approach. I was fascinated the first few listens, but then it really dawned on me that it sounded a little too plain on some tracks. Other tracks are great (Wrath Of God, Plague, Pale Flesh) but a few others seemed to really obscure Alice Glass's vocals (as if they weren't already slaughtered from the glitchy reverb). All In All, I'm glad Crystal Castles aren't riding the one-trick pony bandwagon and switching up their sound, I just had my expectations way too high, thinking I was gonna hear a masterpiece. But instead I heard a solid electro record that could've been a lot better. B- Expand
  7. 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.
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See all 8 User Reviews