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Tuesday, 24 June 2014

World Of Metal 12: Crosswind, Krownn, EnkElination

Crosswind: Vicious Dominion (No Remorse Records)

Greek power metal is a genre that has produced some great bands, first is the mighty Firewind (from Greece you know?) then onto other bands like Innerwish and Phantom Lord who have been promoting Hellenic power metal for while now but Crosswind have come to threaten the crown and they do so with gusto! With the orchestral From Ashes Reborn everything goes a bit Stratovarius with some chanting choirs and an ominous movie-like feel which builds into a crescendo that ends with the first 'proper' track Lords Of Deficit which has some savage riffage, rampaging drums and the choral flourishes from the intro track (a theme that is continued throughout the album). From this track you learn everything you need to know about Crosswind they are a much heavier prospect than a lot of their peers with the kind of riffs reserved for Symphony X, a band with whom they share a lot of similarities. The guitarists Leon Tsorbatzoglou and Kyriakos Vasdokas play off each other very well providing some great guitar lines and sublime soloing, the rhythm section of Vasilis Kyrkos (bass) and Vasilis Mitsaris (drums) mean that the band are heavier much heavier in nature than some of the more poppy power metal out there. They have the same kind of blast beats Dragonforce, Brainstorm and indeed Symphony X use it just means that Crosswind have some serious grunt to their power metal similar also to kinsmen Firewind. Their jewel in the crown is singer Vasilis Topalidis who has a hell of a voice, it is quite literally perfect, his mid range is strong and gritty but his highs are stratospheric, see Angels At War for all the proof you need of this, he is part Russell Allen (Vicious Dominion) part Tony Kakko (Aeons). I haven't heard a power metal album this good in a long time, especially one from a band on their debut! This is stirring stuff, they have everything power metal is known for in droves, with the awesome songs, headbanging riffs, amazing vocals and production so clean you can hear every note this album could creep onto my albums of the year! 10/10

Kröwnn: Magmafröst (PRC Music)

A three piece from Italy that play traditional fuzz drenched, doom metal, steeped in slow moving, heavy downtuned riffs that are usually only the reserve of Electric Wizard and Cathedral with some nods to the stoner haze of Down and Monster Magnet. The 7 minute Skeksis Dance has the slow brooding riff that smashes your head for its duration, riff master general Michele el Lello Carnielli provides the six strings of terror leading the charge for his band made up of all female rhythm section of Elena Fiorenzano's drums and Silvia Selvaggia Rossato's bass, these ladies are no slouches either with the kind of muscular backing that Orange Goblin and indeed the mighty Sabbath have. Another monolith of a track is the 8 minute Wyvernking which moves through the phases with spiralling psych and swirling drug addled hysteria. Carnielli's voice too is good having the hazy drawl of Dave Wyndorf or indeed Zakk Wylde, this is most evident on Wölfhunt which has a great change of pace that Mr Wyndorf would be proud of. Kröwnn have the sound of band raised on nothing but the first four Black Sabbath albums (similar then to Electric Wizard) and when the homage is this strong this is no bad thing, every track has riff after riff Carnielli emulating the Iron Man but he does it with such skill that it's hard to find fault in that, To Minas Morgul (yes folks Lord Of The Rings references too!) shows this off best with the final 2/3rds of the song dedicated to heavyweight jamming. No nothing new, nothing post Vol 4 but you do get 6 (8 with an intro and outro) of bone rattling slabs of traditional doom metal ready for the next time you need to shake a house to its foundations or indeed attain a new level of consciousness this may just be your soundtrack. 8/10

EnkElination: Tears Of Lust (Self Released)

So yes I realise that this part of the blog is reserved from metal around the world but sometimes you have to look home to find a good band you may have missed. EnkElination have a Finnish singer so that puts them into this category and their name too is Finnish meaning Angel so theres that in their favour too (Anyway it's my blog I'll do what I want). I digress, so back on to EnkElination's debut album, with a female singer and an album called Tears Of Lust you are probably thinking of Within Temptation, Delain, Nightwish and bands of that ilk and as soon as the crystalline operatic vocals of Elina start on the title track you realise that you are spot on this is melodic, operatic metal with some hard rock flourishes brought by guitarist Shadow who provides a killer solos throughout especially on Never Ending, Lullaby and many others. He is aided by bassist Alasdair, drummer Ben and a great heaving whack of synths. Yes with a sound similar to early Within Temptation especially on Higher Ground and the piano ballad Lullaby but they add enough of their own flourishes to separate them from the other bands of their ilk. EnkElination have a sound that somewhat flooded the market a few years ago but they do what they do well, the songs are well written, well composed and most of all well played with everyone giving 100% to every song. Elina really does have an amazing voice full of soprano power and also some fragility much like Amanda Somerville and Floor Jansen, see final showstopping track Last Time Together. With the metallic chug of Gothic fantasy based Chimeras, which continues on Changeling, the relentless drumming on Abyss on which Elina turns to the dark side. A great debut by a band with a D.I.Y attitude, they have already gathered support slots for Van Canto and others and these look to continue on the basis of this album. A fine effort indeed! 8/10

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