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Thursday, June 25, 2015 - Review by Andy Read - André de Boer - From "http://www.dprp.net/"
DPRP DUO REVIEW - Album: EIDOS - Rating: 9,5/10


Andy Read's Review

In the world of music reviewing, there are many genres, sub-genres, niches and sub-niches. However my favourite category is known as the "No-Brainer". It's that small number of bands with which one builds an intimate listening relationship over a number of years. Although their style and output may change and evolve, there is always an inherent quality that you know will reward your confidence in ordering their new album before you've heard a single note. One doesn't have to think twice. It's a No-Brainer.


Every music fan will have their list of bands which lie in their own No-Brainer category. I like to think of my list as small but perfectly formed. Kingcrow is a name that hopefully many of you will at least recognise. Hailing from Rome, Eidos is the fourth album from the sextet that I will treasure, thus making them a leading light in my personal No-Brainer list.


Whilst Timetropia saw the evolution of Kingcrow, from its hard rock roots into a fully-blossoming progressive outfit, it was the arrival of outstanding singer Diego Marchesi in 2009, and the release of the acclaimed Phlegethon, which deservedly brought the band to a worldwide audience. Tours with Redemption, Jon Oliva and Fates Warning plus numerous festival appearances and their debut headline tour, promoting 2013's In Crescendo raised the band's profile even higher.


Eidos is the album to take Kingcrow to another level. Lyrically and musically it forms the third part of a rolling concept about the journey of life. While Phlegethon passed through childhood, and In Crescendo stood at the end of youth, Eidos (a Plato-esque Greek word meaning form or essence) considers the challenges of early adulthood – pushing boundaries and exploring new territories.


Musically this doesn't so much explore new territory, as delve deeper and wider into the styles which formed the basis of the two previous discs. It is a natural and logical growth.


Describing the Kingcrow sound is not easy as there are no obvious reference band names. I still detect early-period Pain of Salvation and Greek band Wastefall, with a hint of the softer and melodic sides of Fates Warning, but Kingcrow is one of those rare bands with a sound and style all of its own. They mix not-too-heavy with not-too-light, and so hold appeal to those whose tastes shift between heavy progressive rock and lighter, melodic progressive metal. It is, most importantly, a modern progressive sound and style.


Picking out individual tracks is for me rather missing the point. A Kingcrow album is a single piece of art that needs to be viewed as a whole. Individual songs more than stand-up on their own, but set within the piece as a whole, they are so much stronger.


Like the old classic prog albums, the music of Kingcrow offers the greatest reward to those who sit down and allow time for the album to flow as an entity. (An even better option now available, is to take a full afternoon or evening and allow all three albums to run in succession. I've done it twice and it really does offer some wonderful insights.)


I could also extol the virtues of each musician in turn, but again that would be missing the point. The success of Kingcrow is that all the musicians work together and totally compliment each other. Helped by a stable, long-term line-up, there is no showcasing or one-upmanship. As a result, it is often the small details - the inventive drum fill, the emotive burst of guitar, the subtle vocal reflection, the off-kilter bass or keyboard run – which fill Eidos with moments to savour.


The one thing I will dwell on is an appreciation of the directness and economy of the songwriting across this album. Reading the track running times, you could be forgiven for thinking that at an average of six minutes, the music lacks the complexity and diversity that many lovers of this genre seek.


Nothing could be further from reality. Almost every song on Eidos is packed with a diversity of musical ideas and rhythms that many bands would struggle to fit into three albums. For many bands, 'prog' means to take an idea and let it run for a while, before adding in an extra texture, and slowly letting it evolve over the course of a long song format, maybe returning now and then to the main theme for comfort.


The principal Kingcrow songwriter, Diego Cafolla, has perfected a shorthand form of this. Listen to the agile opening track, Moth. Musical idea follows musical idea, yet no single theme lasts for more than two run-throughs. I've lazily counted 22 different themes within the four minutes and 22 seconds of Moth, wrapped around a returning chorus and great guitar motif. It all flows beautifully and memorably. The rest of the album follows the same intriguing pattern. Very clever stuff.


Anyway, I've hopefully done enough to persuade any lover of progressive music that Eidos is an essential listen. The whole thing is superbly produced, and packaged in the way we've come to expect from America's ever-reliable Sensory Records.


If you don't trust me, then the whole thing is streaming on the label's Bandcamp page. Start with The Deeper Divide then go Adrift; two of the best songs the band has ever written.


Eidos is a real gem of an album, from an Italian band that is now building up a very, very impressive body of work. It is one of those rare discs that you can fall in love with, and one that will hold appeal for a big cross-section of progressive music fans.


For those unfamiliar with Kingcrow, I hope you're brave enough to give something new a go. For those already familiar, then it's a No-Brainer!

André de Boer's Review

Kingcrow's sixth studio album is ready, although to me, Eidos is really their third album, as the band only started to shake up the progressive metal world with their staggering 2010 release Phlegethon plus their impressive shows at ProgPower Europe in 2011 and ProgPower USA a year later. Those events marked the band's turning point to epic-ness, with both Phlegeton and In Crescendo earning DPRP Recommended scores (although two of the older albums also received DPRP Recommended as well).


So we now have Eidos in our hands and in our ears. Will it be in our hearts too? I can take away the stress right away by answering: YES! I think Kingcrow has successfully created an album that will hold the marked-out path they wish to follow and simultaneously transcend the previous ones.


The band was kind enough to release the opening track, The Moth, with a video, so you can get an idea of what we are talking about here. Set aside the truly awesome animated video by Gastón Viñas, and you can find out the way the band is evolving with that song.


To highlight the other tracks, I'd like to offer a short observation on each. The second song, Adrift, starts off with acoustic guitars, whilst the solo vocal is replaced by choirs with a rising tension. It then bounces back to the acoustic side, and crawls out in a typical Kingcrow way to some screaming riffing with fantastic changing rhythms, and ending with Diego singing "...it will never be the same....". How apt!


These astonishing tracks are followed by Slow Down, that has great energy. I guess this song should be the second single off this album with its great atmosphere, varied high-class riffing and a beat you can't let go of. Here the lyrics say "...I can't slow down...". Apt again.


The fourth song, Open Sky, is a bit of an eccentric, easy-going one. Use it to fill up your energy levels, before starting off for the next six songs, of which Fading Out Pt. IV must sound familiar as a song title, if you know the band's history. With its associating Spanish influence this is a great track. The album's second half gives us The Deeper Divide, which in a serious seven-and-a-half minutes, stands out with its interaction of different vocals against the musical interpretation. Maybe the most 'prog' song of the album?


The entire album is progressive in every note and every twitch of every song. On The Barren Ground is the most accessible of all, hence another candidate for single number two. I really love At The Same Pace, which does what it says and has both a haunting and tranquilising effect through that pace.


The penultimate song is the title track and the longest, heaviest track of the album. If Only closes with an enchanting acoustic guitar melody, which pulls us through the song to the end of the album with a sublime feeling.


This album again comes DPRP recommended of course. Kingcrow has managed to step to the next level through smart and intriguing compositions that will both satisfy the current fan base, as well as attract new ones from the progressive rock or metal corners of the spectrum. A tad darker than the previous albums, but up to the right level; a level that few bands can match.

show video

Conclusion:

Andy Read: 9 out of 10

André de Boer: 9.5 out of 10

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