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Cronian: Terra

The merging of black metal with progressive rock, better known to most as symphonic & atmospheric black metal, has seen many standout bands come to the forefront of the genre over the years like Dimmu Borgir, Borknagar, Cradle of Filth, Arcturus, Old Man's Child, Enslaved, and Dragonlord, among others. Cronian is a project started up by Borknagar guitarist/songwriter Oystein G. Brun and Vintersong's multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Mr. V. The album was engineered and mastered by the band with help from Mattias Marklund and Dan Swano, and the resulting Terra has all the feel of vintage 70's prog rock as well as dark & wintry Nordic black metal, with sweeping keyboard soundscapes, soundtrack type themes, and plenty of metal thunder.

Mr. V's vocals go from lovely clean & melodic lines to searing black metal growls, although the former play a more prominent role overall as this album in general is very melodic and less bombastic and heavy like, say a Dimmu Borgir record. Think of the more avant-garde and melodic style of Arcturus and you have an idea of the direction Cronian goes. "Diode Earth" is a very moving opener that sets the cold and dark setting of the album, with soaring keyboard work, clean and black vocals, and just enough crunchy guitars to give it a metal edge. Mr. V layers the clean and black vocals very effectively over each other on "Arctic Fever", a song that also features some stunning blast beat drum work and huge waves of symphonic keyboards. The more melodic and orchestral work of Borknagar and Dimmu Borknagar is hinted at on "Cronian", and old school prog fans will love the vintage synth sounds on "Iceolated".

Mellotron string, choir, and reed sounds permeate the stunning instrumental "Colures", and the band rampage into the album's heaviest piece, "The Alp", a blistering Nordic black metal song complete with crushing guitars, orchestral keys, intricae rhythms, and plenty of lethal black metal screams. Doomy guitars and keys meet up with melodic clean and evil black metal vocals on the catchy "Non Existence", and the lengthy "Illumine" is a great melodic prog mini-epic, with sweeping keyboards and great vocals from Mr. V in the clean mode. As the album ends with the instrumental "End(durance) Part I", you get the feeling of a mountainous landscape getting covered over with snow, as the keyboards bring in the dark and chilly effect.

Terra is one impressive debut from Cronian. These two have created the symphonic black metal album that I'm sure every person who has resisted the genre previously can get into. With movie soundtrack-like themes, prog rock keyboards, black metal aggression, and a variety of vocal styles, Terra is a bona fide winner.

Track listing

  1. Diode Earth (5:00)
  2. Arctic Fever (5:42)
  3. Cronian (5:18)
  4. Iceolated (7:08)
  5. Colures (3:12)
  6. The Alp (6:04)
  7. Nonexistence (5:05)
  8. Illumine (7:13)
  9. End(durance) Part I (1:50)

Added: March 25th 2006
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Cronian Website
Hits: 5508
Language: english

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