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Crashtime – Valley of the Kings

Crashtime
Valley of the Kings
by Mark Machlay at 23 November 2021, 1:34 AM

While having formed nearly 15 years ago, Swedish power metallers CRASHTIME finally released their first full-length album “Valley of Kings” this past August 14th, 2021. Formed in 2007, three of today’s active members had known each other as teenagers from rocking out in various bands when they met at an event and decided to mount a comeback into the metal world. In 2011, they released their self-titled EP which amongst others was featured on Radio32’s show Rock it! It contained cover versions of popular songs from different genres as well as a couple of original compositions. Over the course of the following years, the band played numerous concerts in Switzerland and lately also in Germany. Many years after their formation they released their second EP titled “Today’s World” for their 10-year anniversary, this time featuring only their own songs. For the first time, they got assistance in producing the album from Peakville Studios in Wangen bei Olten, SO. Two years later they released their first music video for the title track from their EP.

While still following their independent streak, CRASHTIME finally decided to release a full-length album of completely original material with “Valley of Kings”. They took advantage of the lack of live shows due to the worldwide pandemic lockdowns and unfortunately started courting labels a bit too late in the process. Various labels ended up giving the band positive feedback but the timetable for their release did not fit with their current schedule and they ended up releasing independently. Fortunately, they did work out a deal with Pure Steel Records for CD purchases and Swedish fans can order directly from the band’s website. In addition to releasing on streaming for the album’s  release date, the band is planning a special 300-piece vinyl edition planned for a December 2021 release. This will include a Christmas Limited Edition set with an additional special mini-CD with a CD’s worth of bonus tracks.

The cover of the album gives the best indication for the sound one can expect on CRASHTIME’s first full album – a mixture of classic heavy metal and power metal tropes that most times are epic but can sometimes feel hokey in the modern era. “Valley of Kings” is loosely a concept album based on the necropolis on the west bank of the Nile. The Egyptian theme gives the unworthy comparison to IRON MAIDEN songs of the past but the production on these tracks is absolutely ear-shattering at times. The mids on this album are cranked really high, which brings out the pleasant crunchiness of the guitars but also makes the attack of the snare seem like an absolute assault on the senses. As for the music, I think “CT Metal” exemplifies the cheesiness, yet stuck-in-time 80’s style of the band as we march through a chorus that cheers, “We play metal every night, we play metal side by side, we are metal proud and loud, we are CRASHTIME shout it out!” It manages to be even more cringe than METALLICA’s “Metal Militia” but seems to be a bit tongue in cheek as well. But there is the epic opening to “Dreams of Terror” giving me touches of HELLOWEEN, the duet between singer Al and Seraina Telli of BURNING WITCHES on Princess of Siberia showing great compositional potential, and even the epic instrumental bonus track “Four Seasons of Metal” made me enjoy so many parts of this album. Unfortunately, the production mixed with some of the more cheesy elements keep me from rating this higher as a decent foray into a longer format for CRASHTIME.

Songwriting: 6
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 6

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Valley of the Kings
2. Mirror Maze
3. CT Metal
4. Together Alone
5. Dreams of Terror
6. Mr. Jones
7. Princess of Siberia
8. No Pain no Gain
9. Circle of Tyrants
10. CastAway
11. Instrumental Four Seasons of Heavy Metal
Lineup:
Al – Vocals
René – Lead Guitar
Barry – Rhythm Guitar
Schmidi – Bass
DrummerDevil – Drums
Record Label: Independent
     


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Edited 08 December 2021
 

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