Kingcrow- The Persistence (Sensory Records)Tuesday, 11th September 2018
Purveyors of progressive metal/rock, Kingcrow hail from Italy and straddle the lines of impressive musicianship while retaining hooks and melodies in a cohesive, structured songwriting format for their seventh full-length The Persistence. The sextet has gained a new bassist since their Eidos release from 2015 (welcome Riccardo Nifosi), and express an alluring combination of influences through these ten tracks – pulling in everything from 90’s alternative acts as well as a regular host of progressive metal and progressive rock benchmarks from the all the decades. It ensures that every listening experience will gain more clarity and deeper levels of appreciation through successive playbacks – as there’s plenty of exciting moments plus significant dynamic shifts to keep proper engagement.
Firing out of the gates with an emotionally engaging cut like “Drenched” makes sense – many of the chord sequences and tempo maneuvers bombastic and churning with semi-djent/alternative twists that take progressive metal into Faith No More/Mars Volta territory. Guitars often cascade in layers – acoustics intertwining against electric action as Diego Cafolla and Ivan Nastasi rise up to musically heavy levels, then drop down into this lighter, groove-oriented passage depending on the feel and mood contrast for the verses. This aspect is very evident on “Closer” – the chorus very hypnotic because of the lower background harmony vocals, the stunted guitars giving off a bit of U2/The Police vibe while certain modern passages creep into Meshuggah-like textures. The off-time interaction can occur in multiple ways – soothing piano refrains against jazz-like drumming maneuvers during “Folding Paper Dreams”, or Latin-like percussion blending together with bright guitar riffs for “Father”, as these musicians hone in their skill sets to drive home solid, individual arrangements filled with interesting melodies, impressive hooks, and outstanding drive.
It’s all for naught if you don’t have a vocalist focal point who can bring the words to life with that similar vitality as the music – fortunately for Kingcrow, Diego Marchesi is more than up for the cause. Straddling the lines of 90’s alternative/gothic melodies and progressive rock/metal power, he has a calming confidence that handles the poignant, somber “Everything Goes” just as well as the heavier, jagged strains for “Devil’s Got a Picture” without losing the listener in any excessive, over-dramatic action. The band have constructed a front to back record that also has those proper waves of soft to loud differentiation – something more progressive metal bands need to entertain in today’s competitive marketplace. Pain of Salvation’s Daniel Gildenlow also makes an appearance for “Night’s Descending” – perfect for Diego to trade lines with against an Anathema-oriented keyboard/guitar framework.
Those who enjoy an alternative approach to progressive rock/metal – a la Pain of Salvation, Porcupine Tree, even a bit of Pink Floyd – will find plenty to enjoy about The Persistence. And there are enough musicians and appreciators within the genre to support something melodic while also exercising restraint from an all-out intricate assault on the senses which is on full display here.