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Kingcrow - In Crescendo CD (album) cover

IN CRESCENDO

Kingcrow

Progressive Metal


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4 stars I had never heard of this band before seeing this album listed in the new releases column, but it had an interesting looking cover so I dug in. On the strength of Mellotron Storm's comments about the previous release, "Phlegethon" and the generally high marks this release was receiving, I decided to take a chance.

My first impressions were that it didn't really seem to be that 'metal' sounding to me. While the players all seem quite competent, the music is not generally of a highly technical nature. It sounds more like "Deadwing" era Porcupine Tree, than say Dream Theater or Symphony X. The album is riddled with great riffs and hooks and is very fun to listen to. I enjoy the generous use of the acoustic guitar both as texture and lead instrument. The keyboards are used more to create mood and fill out the sound than as a solo instrument, and are tastefully done and utilize quality tones. A solid rhythm section provides a nice bottom end making the sound nice and fat and hard rocking during the up tempo numbers. The vocalist is not always quite in tune and English is clearly not his first language, but this is not really a distraction as he is competent enough and has a pleasant tone. My version does not include the lyrics, so I am not always sure what is being said, but what I can make out suggests that this is not necessarily their forte.

I struggle a little with whether this is 3 or 4 stars, as I do not feel that it is essential, but it is quite an enjoyable listen, and I find myself drifting back to it often. Probably 3.5 rounded up.

Report this review (#934767)
Posted Sunday, March 24, 2013 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover Team
3 stars Kingscrow started as long ago as 1996, and this is their fifth studio album although it is the first one I've come across. They are an Italian band and looking at who they have been playing with, and the festivals they have been part of, it seems that they have historically been coming at their music from a metallic perspective. If that is indeed the case, then they have changed tack quite a way and are now much more in the Porcupine Tree/Riverside area with a more atmospheric feel to the music. In fact, they use emotion so much that it can almost be thought of as an instrument in its' own right and it particularly works well with the more acoustic elements. But, I do believe that here is a band that musically is in a state of flux and they aren't quite sure what they want to be, which can then be confusing for the listener as well.

There are some songs where they approach it much more from a prog metal perspective, but then mute the guitars and restrict their impact. It is almost as if at times that they want to be Opeth, but are afraid to let loose and really go for it, which in itself is at odds with the more atmospheric and acoustic pieces which almost sound as if they don't belong on the same album. Their last, 'Phlegethon', seemed to gain almost universal praise but I'm not sure that the same will happen this time. If there were more songs like "The Drowning Line", where there is the impression of a prog metal band trying to get out, then this album would be a much stronger proposition. But, they need to decide what musical approach they are going to follow as although there are some fine songs and performances on here it is too disjointed to be get anything more than 3*'s.

Report this review (#984935)
Posted Monday, June 24, 2013 | Review Permalink
Second Life Syndrome
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This is my first foray in Italy's Kingcrow and their music. A fellow writer at powerofmetal.dk was adamant that I should hear this album, and I'm glad I took the plunge. First of all, I'm not sure how prog metal these guys are anymore. They have definitely mellowed from my slight earlier experiences with them, but that is not a bad thing at all.

Kingcrow has lately been called a "Riverside clone". I honestly don't get this because they sound nothing like Riverside in any way. They utilize a great balance of heavy and soft, light and dark. So, we hear some great soulful guitars solos, but we also get some intense riffing at times. We get ballads, but we also get rockers. Like I said, it's a nice balance. I can, however, see why another reviewer mentioned that Kingcrow seems confused as to whom they are. I agree slightly, as you can feel their urge to jam. But they don't. This is called "restraint", and it's a very good thing. This album is all the better for it.

An example of this would be the track "Morning Rain", a very mellow track that provides us with an "epic" ending that never is anything but beautiful. The title track, too, is filled with piano accompaniment and beautifully performed melodic guitar work. Indeed, melody is a driving force on the whole album, from the stunning keyboard passages to the harmonizing vocals. This can especially be seen in the very appealing choruses and vocal passages that do seem very inspired. Bands are more and more coming to realize how important melody really is in relation to highly memorable albums. Kingcrow has done a fabulous job of capturing melody, harmony, and a few riffing jams for good measure. They don't do it flawlessly, but they certainly do an admirable job to the tune of a 4 star rating. I'm looking forward to seeing this band evolve further.

Report this review (#1017283)
Posted Monday, August 12, 2013 | Review Permalink

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