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Kingcrow - Phlegethon CD (album) cover

PHLEGETHON

Kingcrow

Progressive Metal


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3 stars This is Kingcrow's fourth album and according to the band, their most ambitious and adventurous effort. Kingcrow play progressive metal with prog rock (mainly neo-prog here) influences. Their main influences are Dream Theater, Pain of Salvation, and Porcupine Tree, which is a good choice for any prog metal band, unless their influences are so obvious, as in some parts of "Phlegethon", which, however, is a very good album.

1. "The Slide" is the album's intro, and not a good start at all. That's not because it's a bad intro, but because it essentially is a cover of "High Hopes". I am sure that was not the band's intention, but the similarities are impossible to ignore.

2. "Timeshift Box" (instrumental) blasts with a magnificent riff and continues in the Dream Theater (especially Petrucci guitar playing) vein with great ideas from both guitarists. Solid and efficient, one of my favourite album tracks.

3. "Islands" is one of the best compositions in the album with great riffing and very good vocal lines from Diego Marchesi, a new band member and very good vocalist.

4. "The Great Silence" is a small, slow prog metal song. Some very good vocals again, reminding of Daniel Gildenl÷w, as in...

5. "Lullaby For An Innocent", a really adventurous song with variant sounds and moods. There are obvious neo-prog influences here, especially before the breaking of both electric guitar solos. Exceptional.

6. "Evasion" is a more modern song. The vocal lines remind of typical Porcupine Tree (post In Absentia) and the chorus gives the catchy impression of "Black Brick Road" (Lake Of Tears).

7. "Numb" is by far my favourite song in "Phlegethon". Lasting a bit less than 9 minutes, this is a very interesting opinion on prog metal. Very fresh and inspired, with a beautiful structure, it grows more after every listen.

8. "Washing Out Memories" is another neo-prog influenced prog metal track. The work of the two guitarists especially from 3:51 till the end of the song is really great.

9. "A New Life" includes many rhythm changes, and, once again, a very good melodic solo closing.

10. "Lovocaine" is probably the song that will appeal to most (prog) metal fans. It's the heaviest song in the album. There is a turn towards eastern sounds and after every listen Pain of Salvation come to mind. Good one.

11. "Fading Out PT. III" continues what "Lovocaine" had started, with a much more prog touch, multuple vocals and a very good twin guitar solo. I have to admit that this is the only song with a descent keyboard sound production, which is rather weak in most of the other tracks.

12. "Phlegethon" is the closing song and some kind of the album epic, lasting 9:44 with evident Pain of Salvation touches. It is really good, however the sound of the rhythm guitars is a bit low (not only here), and this weakens the song to a great extent.

Overall, a very good album. I had a great time listening to "Phlegethon" and I think that any prog metal fan will at least like and respect Kingcrow. I apologize for not mentioning anything about the lyrics. I haven't read them yet, and I know that it is very important for a concept album.

Report this review (#299815)
Posted Monday, September 20, 2010 | Review Permalink
UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Phlegethon is the 4th full-length studio album by Italian progressive rock/ metal act Kingcrow. The album was released in May 2010 by Scarlet Records.

Phlegethon is a 65:53 minute long concept album. The storyline involves love and tragedy as the main ingredients. As such a classic theme. The music on the album is progressive metal with strong ties to neo progressive rock in the vein of post Fish-era Marillion. An act like Porcupine Tree also comes to mind and the bluesy David Gilmour influenced guitar solos gives away a Pink Floyd influence. When the music is most "metal" influenced I┤m reminded of the least technical Dream Theater tracks and the music on Phlegethon is overall not that technical in style. There┤s an emphasis on pleasant and warm atmosphere instead. The emotional vocal delivery by Diego Marchesi further emphasises this. That┤s not to say that the band are not well playing and there are parts on the album that are pretty impressive, so progressive metal fans should not be left too wanting. Tracks like Timeshift Box and the last part of Numb (Incipit, Climax & Coda) are examples of the more technical progressive metal on the album. Just don┤t expect this to be a Watchtower clone if you know what I mean. The many soft and mellow parts on the album took me a while to appreciate but the more I listen the more the melodies unfold and the more those parts have become interesting. The fact that all songs are well composed and the musicianship is strong makes up for the most easy listening parts. The latter parts are fortunately few.

The production is warm and professional. A good sound for the music.

Phlegethon is a good release by Kingcrow. I find it to be an enjoyable and pleasant listen. A 3.5 star rating is fully deserved. Fans of progressive metal with a neo progressive rock touch should definitely check this one out. Phlegethon didn┤t impress me right away, so this is an album that has grown on me and keeps getting better and better with each spin.

Report this review (#301740)
Posted Sunday, October 3, 2010 | Review Permalink
J-Man
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars A Gem of Modern Prog Metal

Kingcrow is a band that has been around for quite a while, and it's really a shame I haven't discovered them until now. Phlegethon is their fourth album, and if this album is a judge of the quality of their back-catalog, I have a feeling I will be hunting for their first three albums very soon. Phlegethon is a very high-quality modern prog metal release with just about all the right ingredients to make a successful concept album. True, traditional prog metal concept albums have been done many times before, but Kingcrow manages to keep a fresh sound throughout all of Phlegethon. If you're a fan of progressive metal who's in search of a concept album that's not a carbon-copy of Scenes From a Memory, Phlegethon deserves to be in your collection.

Kingcrow has a pretty diverse sound, even though their sound is rooted in traditional progressive metal. I hear Queensr che, Fates Warning, and Pain of Salvation influences from the prog metal side of the coin, but there are also distinct Pink Floyd and Marillion influences in Kingcrow's music. Even though they are a prog metal band, there isn't a whole lot of technicality here. Don't expect many guitar and keyboard duals on Phlegethon. Songs like Lullaby for an Innocent are especially soft, and remind me of a Pain of Salvation ballad. There are some heavier tracks like Fading Out Pt. III, however, that give the album some good variation. Strict metalheads may not enjoy the ballads and softer parts of the album, but I personally really enjoy them. I find them to be really beautiful (for the most part), and it rarely enters a notable level of cheesiness.

The musicians in Kingcrow are very capable, and they've successfully proved that shredding isn't the only thing necessary to show your worth. Of all the musicians, I especially have to applaud lead singer Diego Marchesi. He really nails many different styles, and his sound is unique and enjoyable. All of the instrumentalists are highly talented as well.

The production is really good. It's very warm and atmospheric, which fits Kingcrow's sound perfectly.

Conclusion:

Phlegethonis a great album by Kingcrow. I really can't wait to hear more from this band! If you like progressive metal concept albums on the softer and more melodic side, I can highly recommend checking out Phlegethon. My rating is somewhere between 3.5 and 4 stars, but I'll go with 4 shiny stars for this gem. Very much recommended for fans of progressive rock/metal!

Report this review (#306035)
Posted Thursday, October 21, 2010 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars KINGCROW are from Italy and this is their most recent album called "Phlegethon". It's a concept album about a guy who is quite dysfunctional and we follow him through the different experiences he goes through in his life that in turn change his personality. They have a new singer and bass player for this one. I must admit i've been slow to really embrace this one and I think it's because the concept takes priority much of the time, but having said that I just am so impressed with most of this album. I was wavering between 3.5 and 4 stars but decided on the latter because this is just too good, and I can tell it's still growing on me. But no this hasn't blown me away or anything like that.

"The Slide" opens with the sounds of waves as synths come in and create atmosphere. Piano after a minute followed by a full sound. Vocals too. Love the drums to end it. "Timeshift Box" is a really good instrumental with some great sounding guitar. One of my favs. "Islands" is another keeper. Laid back guitar and vocals early but then it all gets fuller and I like the bass here a lot. It ends like it began. "The Great Silence" has some Gilmour- like guitar as it builds. It turns heavy. "Lullaby For An Innocent" has more laid back guitar as reserved vocals and piano join in.The harmonies remind me of FLOYD.The guitar soars at times. Check it out 3 1/2 minutes in. "Evasion" has some deep bass and prominant drumming and other sounds. Synths roll in then heavy guitar. Oh yeah ! Vocals sound processed. An pretty good track. "Numb" is relaxed with a beat and synths as reserved vocals join in. It kicks in before 2 1/2 minutes with guitar. Slow riffs come in as it settles back.

"Washing Out Memories" is mellow with vocals until it kicks in after 2 minutes thankfully. "A New Life" is bright sounding to start.The guitar proceeds to rip it up 1 1/2 minutes in (nice) then it settles back. "Lovocaine" is dark as the guitar comes in. It reminds me of TOOL here.Vocals join in.The song continues to pick up then settle back.This is one of the better tracks. "Fading Out Pt.III" also sounds really good. Intricate guitar to start but it turns heavy quickly and vocals join in. I like the vocal melodies and rough sounding vocals on this one. Haunting atmosphere after 5 1/2 minutes.Great tune. "Phlegethon" is the longest track at close to 10 minutes in length. Kicking ass to start then it settles down just before a minute.Vocals are almost spoken when they arrive and it's dark and atmospheric. Guitar and vocals become more passionate.The guitar is grinding away after 6 1/2 minutes.Waves and piano 8 minutes in as it calms right down.Waves only ends it just like the album began.

If I take the time to get into the concept I know this will be a solid 4 stars. I'm just not there yet. A low 4 stars for now.

Report this review (#447630)
Posted Friday, May 13, 2011 | Review Permalink

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