The Crest - Vain City Chronicles
Season Of Mist
Dark Gothic Rock
11 songs (45'14")
Release year: 2005
The Crest, Season Of Mist
Reviewed by Alex

I am going to chalk up The Crest’s second album Vain City Chronicles to the list of my guilty pleasures. Every one of us has those things we are not supposed to like, yet we enjoy them in the privacy of our own musical surroundings. Someone at Season of Mist must have been thinking down the same line, as it is hard to imagine The Crest alongside some of the much more extreme bands on Season of Mist roster (Tsjuder, Anaal Natrakh, Yattering,, etc.) It is obvious that the draw of The Crest’s dark gothic rock has that effect on people.

These Norwegians have been around for a while, but Vain City Chronicles is only their second gift to the world. So far, they are probably the most famous for Nell, vocals, taking place of Liv Kristine in Theatre of Tragedy. Having lost any interest in the latter band completely long time ago, it certainly wasn’t a draw for me that Nell sings for The Crest. Vain City Chronicles had to stand on its own merit. It did, as manifested by me sneaking the album into my CD player to spin those songs I liked the most far too often lately.

The Crest has a very healthy mixture of gothic rockers with upbeat rhythms and darker melancholic melodies combined with soothing trippy spaced out songs. Set to very simplistic drumming patterns some of the rocking songs on Vain City Chronicles hit the spot immediately (Run Like Blazes, Flavour of the Day). Kristian’s guitars are made to sound very heavy, more so through the production than through some finger twisting riffs. Keys are tasteful, used just enough to accentuate the vocal melodies Nell excels at. Just like with many gothic rocks albums there are songs that beg to go on repeat (Run Like Blazes, Flavour of the Day) while others (Another Life, Imaginary Friend) are one-time-and-done affairs.

Vain City Chronicles slower songs shine the spotlight on Nell, whose voice I would very much compare to Anneke van Giersbergen. In fact, The Crest are probably the fans of The Gathering trip rock style. This fan attitude ranges from complete The Gathering copy-paste (New Profound Fear) to notably successful My War, Silent and Come on Down. While both female vocals can be called “soothing”, The Gathering is still quite more personal and ethereal music, while The Crest would not feel out of place in darker style European dance clubs. The melodies of The Crest are catchy, immediate and take root in the European tradition harkening back to Depeche Mode.

Almost alternating the tracks between the two styles The Crest experiments little, some violins in the intro of Run Like Blazes, Tristania nod with House of Mirrors and slower, grungier track Reptile.

Above average of what gothic rock style has to offer I found myself quite hooked on some tracks on the album. Between myself and other fans selecting other songs for their repeated listens The Crest probably has an album that many will enjoy.

Killing Songs :
Run LIke Blazes, My War, Silent, Come On Down, Flavour of the Day
Alex quoted 71 / 100
Other albums by The Crest that we have reviewed:
The Crest - Letters From Fire reviewed by Danny and quoted 68 / 100
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