Review Summary: Ominous moods, lush atmospheres, and controlled chaos; Kingcrow's latest album shows a band's musical maturation and a possible sign of things to come
Kingcrow is a band that has been present for a surprisingly long time (circa 1996) considering they’ve recently experienced a growth in stature in the prog world, with this being their seventh release. The band works really well as a unit, and apart from bassist Riccardo Nifosì, the band has been performing together for several albums now. Riccardo aptly supports the compositions on the album, even if he doesn’t really veer too far outside the comfort zone. His contributions may increase on future albums as he begins to get more comfortable in the band.
The normal primary driving force behind Kingcrow is the dual guitar attack of Diego Cafolla & Ivan Nastasi, and on The Persistence
they continue their trend of providing us with an array of sumptuous guitar tones ranging from raw distorted tones, to crisp cleans and leads. The polished production diminishes the sharpness of their tones slightly, which does them a disservice because I believe the uninhibited chunky guitar tones are the largest assets of predecessor album Eidos
. The guitar pair also seem to intentionally limit and streamline their playing in order to service the songs, which also seems to be the sentiment from every member, so it’s no accident. There are a handful of great heavy riffs like on lead single “Father” and the multifaceted “Closer”, while catchy lead melodies and solos are sprinkled on the record as evident on “Night's Descending” (featuring Daniel Gildenlow from Pain of Salvation), which has to be one of the best tracks on here with its mellow verses being juxtaposed by the crushing chorus in sublime fashion. There are also flourishes of melodic guitar work and embellishments throughout the album, however the majority of the guitar playing does seem to deliberately have been restricted for this album. The duo aren’t as adventurous here as compared to previous albums and this is a decision that has consequently held this record back from being even better.
This album traverses Atmospheric/Art Rock territory and is much more moody in comparison with Eidos
. The keyboard presence is much more emphasised throughout the album. Even during the more aggressive sections you can either hear an atmospheric keyboard patch underneath the riffs, while other times it’s immersing you into the somber atmosphere as on “Every Broken Piece of Me” and “Perfectly Imperfect”, or adding electronic elements as displayed on “Everything Goes.” The array of sonic textures explored is lush, sounding modern yet warm, which this albums proves is a satiating balance. Drummer Thundra Cafolla lays a concrete foundation for the compositions; always accompanying the music with the necessary rhythm and tempo, whether it be a driving technical drum pattern, or a simple groove oriented beat. He always seems in harmony with the music, and blends in almost seamlessly.
One person that definitely didn’t hold back on this album is vocalist Diego Marchesi, with this is arguably being his most mature performance to date. Alongside keyboardist Cristian Della Polla, he seems to be the prime beneficiary of the band’s songwriting direction on The Persistence
. He delivers his lyrics in an emphatic manner, at times almost whispering the words while at other times intensely belting. The album provides him the ideal platform to explore his vocal phrasing as well as harmonies and layering techniques, which he has taken complete advantage of, and I wholeheartedly welcome it. Hopefully he continues this trend on future albums.
is certainly more risk averse than previous outings, however this change in direction for the band further cements them in the Art/Prog Rock hemisphere alongside bands like Riverside, Anathema, Porcupine Tree, Katatonia, etc. This isn’t bad company to be among, but thats what makes it harder to remain inventive and distinguish oneself from the pack. However Kingcrow has a talented group of songwriters at the helm and they can only continue to refine their abilities from here on, thus I look forward to see which trajectory the music of these Italian gents takes next.
1. Folding Paper Dreams
3. Night's Descending
4. The Persistence