Back when I reviewed Kingcrow's previous album In Crescendo, I mentioned that some may consider them a mere amalgamation of their influences, parroting back the highlights of their favorite 90s' era prog bands rather than making their own truly original modern prog metal. I disagreed then, and now I really - vehemently - oppose the claim as I listen to their latest effort, Eidos.
There's nothing wrong, obviously, with paying tribute to your influences. But where it all comes together is when you springboard to the next level and start making your own influential music. And I think Kingcrow is at that precipice with this album.
Adrift keeps the establishing acoustic riff as the driving force of the track à la Opeth, while Yes-style vocal harmonies lend a deceptively light feel to the song. Juxtaposed with that lighter side is the balls and chunk™ progmetal fans crave without giving over completely to the dark side, while sylistic embellishments like the saxophone accents on Slow Down provide a good example of how well these Roman rockers can blend instruments that add to, rather than distract from, the song's momentum. Ballads like Open Sky have a great old school prog feel to them in the vein of The Custodian or Spock's Beard that lets the solo section explode with a satisfying release that guides you into the more turbulent latter half. The mysteriously-named Fading Out Pt. IV transforms its opening Andalucían-flavored acoustic flurries into an energetic jam that hits the throttle and hardly lets up, refreshing the progmetal formula with various European elements. This is what makes the genre so amazing for me. These are some great jams, people.
The Bottom Line: With each release Kingcrow steps out further from under the shadow of their influences, which is no mean feat. Eidos is a fantastic progmetal album in a world where the subgenre has been around for almost 30 years, and every other band sounds like a bad Dream Theater wannabe. I already can't wait to hear the next one, boys.
- Genghis figures he'll never get to see this band live *sigh*...