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(43:21 / Lucretia Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. A Perfect Life 4:08 2. Fading Out-I 2:30 3. Out of the Darkness 1:46 4. Realusion 1:56 5. Between Now & Forever 5:18 6. Fractured 3:16 7. Home 3:45 8. A Merry-Go-Round 3:33 9. Fragile Certainties 4:05 10. A Hitchhiker 1:28 11. Turn Of Events In a Drawer 5:12 12. Fading Out-II 6:17 LINEUP: Mauro Gelsomini - lead & backing vocals Diego Carolla - guitars; keyboards Ivan Nastasi - guitars Giulio Caputi - bass Thundra Cafolla - drums
Prolusion. Not much to put in this paragraph, as the press kit is very sparing in information, just saying that "Timetropia" is the third official release by Italy's KINGCROW, following "Matzmariels" (2003) and "Insider" (2004), and that the group plays in the style of progressive Hard Rock.
Analysis. Judging by "Timetropia", I think Kingcrow's style should be labeled as Prog-Metal overall, though of course, it's nothing other than progressive Hard Rock which served as a prototype for that genre. However the music on this album is stylistically diverse enough to be subsumed under a single definition, only four of the twelve tracks present perfectly fitting the aforesaid idiom. These are Fading Out-I, Fractured, Between Now & Forever and Turn Of Events In a Drawer, of which the former two are the only vocals-free pieces available, and the latter song is in turn the one that is largely instrumental. On each of those three the band very successfully intermixes their own achievements in the field of Prog-Metal with their influences, namely Queensryche and (to a lesser degree) Fates Warning, often eliminating any frontiers between the directions they use - which is not to say these are highly adventurous, but are all tasty, inspired compositions and are performed with passion and confidence alike. At least as applied to a song format, Between Now & Forever possesses most of the genre's trademarks too, but both the said influences are at times striking here, besides which the tune's first two sections sound much in the manner of modern-day Porcupine Tree, at their heaviest. This is also the only one track where Mauro Gelsomini's (otherwise highly original) vocals turn out to be 'infected' in places - with either Geoff Tate or Steven Wilson's intonations. Nonetheless, being made up of several different themes that shift frequently and are in most cases laced with a good chord progression, the song looks fine in its pan-musical appearance. A Hitchhiker and Fading Out-II are both impressive as well. Even though the quantity of vocal-based arrangements noticeably exceeds that of purely instrumental ones in both cases, the music is never simple, let alone trivial. Both pieces feature tons of overdubbed voices, which range in timbre and tone alike (thus showing Gelsomini as a truly versatile chameleon vocalist), and leave the impression that it's a real male operatic choir who unexpectedly find themselves singing to Prog-Metal, the latter additionally standing out for its brilliant bouzouki-stylized acoustic guitar solo. The only track that really suits the definition offered by the press kit:-), A Merry-Go-Round paints ardent Hard Rock, from time to time bordering on NWBHM of Judas Priest's pattern, though some echoes of Queensryche can in places be heard here too. This song is proto-progressive at best, yet is very attractive, since it's both spirited and emotionally saturated. Another tune with support from the virtual operatic choir, Fragile Certainties is a fine complicated ballad, now having an acoustically fragile feeling as if urged to justify its title, now sounding heavy. Home and A Perfect Life are both the works of Neo Progressive, just combining symphonic and hard textures, though the former has additionally a very strong folk component and is generally a much more compelling song than the latter, which in turn is the only openly simplistic number here, reminding me of a somewhat heavier version of The White Flag from Marillion's "Misplaced Childhood". While I am not enthusiastic about that Perfect Life, I must admit this opus does not prevent me from enjoying the disc's overall panorama. Indeed I think it was wise of the band to use A Perfect Life as an opening track, though I doubt it will do Kingcrow any favor in the future, as the times of hit singles sunk into oblivion many years ago. Finally Out of the Darkness and Realusion, the very short two cuts following each other just before Between Now & Forever, are both inseparably linked with that track and are just a kind of two-part intro to it.
Conclusion. While I've never received promos from Lucretia Records until now, I am rather well familiar with their repertoire, as Russia's CD-Maximum label reissued many CDs under their license. Yet, I just want to say Kingcrow's "Timetropia" is the best of those Lucretia releases that I've heard. "Pushing the boundaries of Neo Prog-Metal" could be an apt epigraph to this in many ways remarkable album.
VM: May 26, 2007
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