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CROHM - Paindemic

by Frank Dashwood at 13 January 2022, 5:37 AM

Those who know me, know my feelings concerning Covid. While I’ll spare you all that here, I will say that the name of this album had an instant appeal to me. Paindemic…kind of sums my experience of the last 2 years up in one word. I didn’t even pay attention to the fact that this is a live album until I started listening to it, I just hit “play”, and hoped the album/performance lived up to the name! If my initial impressions are any indicator, I know this epic fail of a social/economic/medical experiment has produced at least one decent thing.

Although their Italian origins aren’t really given away by anything they sung about, there is a mild grittiness to their presentation that belies the fact that their birthplace was somewhere outside the primary metal markets. Their own commentary in interviews seems to indicate a frustration with this fact, as it’s impacted their exposure/distribution. Fortunately in this highly-connected digital era, such limitations are no longer permanent. It may have taken until 2022, but I’ve finally heard them! To me, their answer to not being able to tour, is actually the answer to the geographic limitations that have prevented them from gaining a larger audience, and this album proves it. One thing I have to give CROHM credit for, is their willingness to accept the condition of their performance as it happened, as opposed to going through, and editing every note, and beat in attempts to make it more marketable. Mistakes were made (as happens in any live performance) and we get to hear them. They aren’t frequent, but if you’ve heard the studio versions of these songs, you probably noticed them. Another thing you may have noticed, is that, while not native to the studio release, many of the songs on this album were re-written to incorporate the violin-work of Flavia Simonetti.

“Eternal Peace” seems like it was written while at least one of these guys was binging on BLACK SABBATH. The riffage, and pace sounded like elements straight out of “War Pigs”. The leads are a bit more modern, but the tone, and general sound of the song make the similarities between the two songs a little tough to ignore. “The Dark Side”, and “Deep Blue” were both tragically slow, and purposelessly moping about. I could feel the singer living days where the most eventful thing was migrating from the bedroom, to the coffee maker, to the TV, to the bathroom, bedroom…and repeat. The introduction of the violin in these songs did nothing to ease the purposelessness, or tragedy, but seemed to add “dimmed/absent” lighting to the situation. I’ve said before that I feel that violin is kind of gimmicky in metal, and although I’d like to say that it is the case with this release, this feels like the band rolled the dice, did their talented violinist friend a solid, and let her in on the gig. I can’t say I blame them either, Flavia’s contribution had a fairly intimate/native feel to it.

A few songs that stuck out to me were “Wash-Sin-Machine”, “Failure In The System”, and “Post Fata Resurgo”. The general feel of these is one of punkishness. All three have a distinctive “DOYLE/MISFITS” groove to them. “Wash-Sin-Machine” really reminded me of DOYLE. Sergio’s style is fairly similar to Alex Story’s on this song. “Failure In The System” to some extent sounded similar lyrically, but the punkishness was a little thicker on this one, with that self-critical “we’re the source of our problems” slant to it. “Post Fata Resurgo” was something different entirely. Featuring the rapping talents of both, Fabio Rean (AKA Fungo), and Andrea Di Renzo (AKA DJ Sago), it’s punkness was just the rough urban/street feel to the edge of the lyrics, and rhythm incorporated. Other than that, I felt like it was Persian/European rap. I couldn’t understand it because it was in another language, but I don’t want to insult anyone by over-stepping my American ignorance here, and asserting that I know which one. It did sound decidedly Persian/Middle Eastern based on the aggression, and consistency of the verses.

All told, this was a decent listen. It’s interesting to see how various people reacted to Covid, and the life-adjustments we were demanded to assume as “the new normal”. In the case of CROHM, they said, “This sucks, but damnit, there has to be a way to flex our available assets, and play a live concert for our fans!…And we’ll record EVERYTHING! And then we’ll release it as a live album!” And now here we are, virtually on the other side of this nightmare/abyssal of rights denial, with this spiffy, new “live” album to enjoy! Like I said before, if nothing else, at least this album came of it all.

Songwriting: 5
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 4
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

1. Eternal Peace
2. Castles Of Sand
3. The Dark Side
4. Deep Blue
5. Restart
6. Insatiable
7. Ride The Storm
8. The Wash-Sin Machine
9. Failure In The System
10. Post Fata Resurgo
11. Run For Your Life
12. Mountain
13. Fire And Ice
14. Until You Disappear
Sergio Fiorani – Lead Vocals
Claudio Zac Sanchetta – Guitars, Backing Vocals
Riccardo Taraglio - Bass, Backing Vocals
Fabio Cannata – Drums
Flavia Simonetti – Violin
Record Label: Independent


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