[ KEY REVIEWS | SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS
TRACK LIST: 1. Friendship 1:44 2. The Project 4:40 3. Temptation 3:24 4. Never Say Die 3:54 5. Eyes of a Betrayer 4:32 6. Into the Cell 1:19 7. Lies 5:39 8. The Killing Hand 8:31 9. Stardust 5:17 10. Save Me 5:55 11. Finale 4:08 All tracks: by Kingcrow. LINE-UP: Diego Cafolla - electric & acoustic guitars; keyboards Ivan Nastasi - electric & acoustic guitars Mauro Gelsomini - vocals Matteo Tinei - basses Thundra Cafolla - drums Valerio Cesaroni - keyboards Arranged & produced by Kingcrow. Engineered by Cesaroni at "Legend Digital".
Prolusion. "Insider" is the second full-length official outing by the Italian band KINGCROW and is their first concept album. Their debut was released in 2001, and the album is titled "Something Unknown". I haven't heard it.
Synopsis. Apart from guitarist Diego Cafolla, who also handles keyboards, there is a free keyboard player in the band (see lineup above), at least as it is stated in the CD booklet. Nevertheless, there is only one track on the album where the parts of keyboards are really noticeable, while the others are either almost free of them or free at all. However, this is just a curious fact, nothing more, nothing less. On the other hand, it might incline you to come to the conclusion that the music on "Insider" is harsh and heavy, which is really true in most cases. Four out of the eleven tracks here are instrumental pieces. Although two of them, Friendship and Into the Cell (1 & 6), are very short, they feature a real music, and not a set of effects, etc, like it often has place in the works of the other artists of 'heavy' genres. The first of these represents a rather full-blooded guitar Art-Rock performed by the entire band, and the other consists of constantly developing passages of classical guitar and a dark theatric narration. Very good compositions! The principal musical direction that the band works in is indeed a harsh and heavy Prog-Metal, though elements of guitar Art-Rock, provided almost exclusively by solos and passages of acoustic guitar (both separately and in the context of the band's joint arrangements), are present on each of the tracks here, save the song titled same as the best Prog-Metal album of the seventies and the most underrated Prog-Metal album in general. Just like Hard Road from that revolutionary effort by Black Sabbath, the song Never Say Die (4) is notable for some flashy optimism and is the least interesting track on the album, which, though, wasn't obvious to me after the first listen. Overall, Never Say Die is much in the same vein as Eyes of a Betrayer, Lies, and Stardust (5, 7, & 9), each representing something average between a classic contemporary Prog-Metal, progressive Cathedral Metal, and NWBHM, but is vastly less complex and diverse than any of them. These three are excellent songs, but not masterpieces, as the other five. The songs The Project, The Killing Hand, and Save Me (2, 8, & 10) and the instrumental piece Temptation (3) are all about a highly diverse and complex, by all means progressive Cathedral Metal, full of fresh ideas and everything necessary to keep the listener's attention. The remaining instrumental Finale (11) is, on the whole, of the same story, but is also the only track on the album that features massive keyboard-based arrangements.
Conclusion. While not a complete masterpiece, Kingcrow's "Insider" is the noteworthy work of Progressive Metal and is one of the best albums of the genre I've heard this year. It might be of great interest to the lovers of a harsh progressive sound. However, the rather large quantity of acoustic textures, inventively interwoven with basic ones on most of the tracks here, makes the album attractive to some of those into a classic contemporary Prog-Metal as well.
VM: May 11, 2004
[ KEY REVIEWS | SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS - LIST | BANDLISTS ]