Crom - Vengeance
Pure Steel Records
Viking/Folk/Power Metal
10 songs (50:28)
Release year: 2008
Crom, Pure Steel Records
Reviewed by Thomas

Previous to finally getting my hands on some of the best stuff that was released in 2008, I read only overly positive reviews of it. In fact, most of the scores I glanced upon were perfect. 100 / 100’s, 5/5’s and 10/10’s as far as the eye could see. All this hype around a guy who hasn’t been involved in anything significant since Dark Fortress’ debut Tales From Eternal Dusk, and in addition to that switched to power metal-influenced folk/viking metal fronted by himself and no-one else? This one-man army was even said to pick up where Bathory left off, and even though I’m not the biggest Bathory-expert around, I know that they are hugely influential on every single metal-band with Viking blood flowing through their veins. Would I even dare to ignore this German fellow who suddenly popped out of nowhere claiming the pagan throne? Most certainly not, and when I finally got my hands on this gem early last week, I have been spinning it ever since.

Building his reputation on a foundation of epic, sweeping and absolutely enormous guitar-riffs, Crom takes us, via Bathory of course, back to the legendary mythological surroundings that coloured Scandinavia when the inhumane plundering raged at its worst. The Viking feel is unavoidable, and the riffs which are some of the best I have heard in several years when it comes to this genre. Forget the boring and rather bland Amon Amarth and the soulless, somewhat similar sounding Turisas. They don’t stand a chance against this monster, and instead of leaning towards harsher vocals which was my immediate expectations, Crom uses a very powerful and mighty vocal approach that fits the music like a glove and will leave you stunned. There are in other words no insane falsettos to be found here, only atmospheric and invoking evocation that shows has no holes whatsoever. The guy is maybe not the most talented vocalist around, but the way he brilliantly steers this in the right direction with his voice is nothing short of incredible. Crom handled all of the instruments himself in the studio, and I must say that even though the drums may come off as a bit uncreative at times, he creates a perfect balance between melancholy, melody, power and glory with his great instrumental skills.

The album kicks off with a ripping, and merely pure power metal track. Wings of Fire introduces us to some of the extremely tasty leads that can be found all over this album as well as some extremely atmospheric and epic male choirs that adds a fantastic and fitting mood to the musical picture. It is not however until tracks like The Restless King, Vengeance part II - …and the Effect as well as The Stars Will Fall that Crom shows his unique brilliance and taste for perfection. Even the Opeth-like acoustic passages and songs are amazingly interesting, which is an effect this band really benefits from. Crom’s ability to write terrific music and make this more and more interesting with each song and each spin will drown you in awe, and rightly so. This is the best Viking metal act the scene has seen in ages, with next to no flaws, and something as rare as an increasingly interesting debut album out.

Vengeance possesses what very few new acts have. Delicate melodies, moving lyrics, fantastic songs that seem to never lose its dedication to create varied and compelling music colours this rather melancholic and dark album ever so brightly as it is one of the nicest surprises I have gotten my hands on since the new Dark Quarterer. I will be thrilled if all the folks complaining about the lack of power metal will check this out. However, I would certainly not be unhappy if I could keep this to myself.

Killing Songs :
Wings of Fire, The Restless King, Vengeance Part I and II, The Stars Will Fall
Thomas quoted 92 / 100
Kyle quoted 90/100
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