Creating a sound of their own is something every band dreams about; some bands do have this gift and talent to stand out with their own style these days. But what if you are musically highly skilled, but don't really have your own sound? Just ask Kingcrow, they have the skills to create something special, by using the best parts of the best possible bands in the genre and mixing it all together. The thing I do like very much is they get away with it in a positive way.
It is always better to “borrow” from other bands and record a perfect album, than to desperately try to find a style of your own and fail.
Kingcrow is an Italian progressive rock and metal band which I “discovered” after their previous release Phlegethon-a pleasant album, good to digest and was played regularly at my home. Almost three years later, this album found a successor in the new release In Cresendo, still working in the same line-up of vocalist Diego Marchesi, both guitarists Diego Capolla and Ivan Nastasi, keyboard player Cristian Della Polla, bass player Francesco D' Errico and drummer Thundra Capolla.
Like I mentioned above Kingcrow is not the most original band, but does it bother me? Normally, yes, but the way these songs are brought to us, makes me change my opinion. The songs are too impressive to ignore and the way the album sounds is just great. The album's opener is called Right Before and immediately has a riff recognizable as Dream Theater, also the structure has a lot of this band, vocally bands as Pendragon and Arena comes to mind, even Threshold passes by. All by all a song that sounds great and the solo work, receptivity guitar and keyboards are well balanced. Toward the end of the song, influences of Porcupine Tree take over. This Ain't Another Love Song stays in this range, where here this softer and more emotional song also has an edge of alternative rock and even could work when it was released in a shorter version for broadcasting. I truly love the guitar riff and halfway through the song, the use of an acoustic guitar also sounds great in this kind of familiar sounding composition. What follows is The Hatch- an almost eight minute long song built in the best Dream Theater meets Pink Floyd tradition, as a compliment, I would like to say I prefer Diego's vocals over James LaBrie's voice in Dream Theater (as a solo artist I think James vocals sound better than in Dream Theater, but this aside). During this song, the solos are perfect and the steady foundation of drums and bass guitar are flawless. Morning Rain is a slower song, nice and relaxed, and Diego impresses with his vocals and a guitar solo influenced by Pink Floyd, Now And Then particularly and also Radiohead comes to mind listening to the song, which is orchestrated very well. The Drowning Line sets off with a Roger Waters bass sound, but immediately flows towards Steven Wilson's work with Porcupine Tree, even the slightly distorted vocals are recognizable. Halfway through the song, it gets a little twist, otherwise it would have been really close to a Steven Wilson composition. I think the diversity in solos, guitar and keyboards, make the songs stand out and make them step away from the bands I mentioned before toward a style of their own? No. The influences from other bands are too obvious to say Kingcrow has a style of its own. The Glass Fortress is a stunning performance, a great solo, a song structure like Porcupine Tree, and vocals who are sounding a little bit more forced in the louder parts. A kind of power ballad is Summer '97, sung in the relaxed way I prefer and again filled with a stunning guitar solo. Halfway through the song, the mood changes into a nice and powerful, heavily orchestrated, balanced part, where the keyboards get a nice solo spot. When the album reaches its final section, the title track comes along; In Crescendo. It's is an epic song that keeps you on the edge of your seat for eleven minutes. For me the highlight of the album, heavier parts and electronics are working together. A brilliant guitar riff is playing in the background and Diego impresses even more than before. Ok not all of it is bursting of originality, but together it sounds perfect, if you have had your doubts about this album, In Crescendo will impress you so much, you'll want to push repeat at the end.
Original or not, who cares when a band like Kingcrow creates an album this impressive. Kingcrow stays far from the bombast some other Italian bands use to embed and the vocals are flawless in their English, something other Italian bands also have problems with. I would highly recommend the album if you into any of the sort of bands I mentioned as an influence. Don't miss it!
**** Pedro Bekkers (edited by Robert James Pashman)
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