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Crown Of Glory – Ad Infinitum

Crown Of Glory
Ad Infinitum
by kenn staub at 14 October 2020, 9:16 PM

Biblically, a crown of glory goes to those who feed the flock. With the release of “Ad Infinitum” on September 11, Switzerland’s CROWN OF GLORY feeds their flock with almost an hour of melodic metal spread over 12 tracks. The band’s third full-length album and first since 2014, “Ad Infinitum” demonstrates an arty craftsmanship applied to the metal genre, with songs that are not only intricately rendered (ala STRATOVARIUS) but also stylistically dynamic.

The listener is put on notice with the sirens that open the first track, “Emergency.” The drums and synthesizer gradually build in urgency until the rest of the band joins in like a thunderclap. And once started, away CROWN OF GLORY goes, laying down a galloping refrain as all instruments are incorporated into a cohesive rhythm. I couldn’t help but think this would be an excellent tune to start a show with, let alone an album. “Something”, a duet sung by Muther and Seraina Telli (DEAD VENUS, BURNING WITCHES) follows. The intermixing of Muther’s and Telli’s voices is on point and the instrumental breaks are situated adroitly within the song’s structure. “Let’s Have A Blast” is a driving, catchy celebration of life. I must admit the slight tempo shift prior to each chorus threw me just a bit, but it in no way detracted from the song. The staccato mingling of bass and drum leading into the guitar solo caught my attention and made for a memorable moment in the tune.

I found two of the next three songs a little off-putting after the opening trifecta, maybe because I might have been expecting something different. It was as if too much was going on in the ballad “Emporium of Dreams,” fourth on the track list. The basic rhythm was fine, but overall the song was aurally busy and Muther’s vocals didn’t seem to blend quite right musically. That being noted, Muther’s performance on the next track, “Surrender,” fit the song perfectly. The lament with which he sings helps establish the tone of this slowly building, moody ballad. Group harmonies are strong on the chorus and a string-bending guitar solo captures the overall feel. After “Surrender” fades away, the raucousness of “Infinity” is bracing. Again, however, it is as if CROWN OF GLORY tries to do more than it should. For the most part I enjoyed the song’s basic melody (describing it in my notes as “cool”), but the tempo and stylistic shifts proved a tad jarring.

Glorious Nights” begins the second half of the album. A spare piano intro segues into rapid-fire drumming and a pleasing rhythm. The transitions from one segment of the track to another were well set up and more deftly executed than on “Surrender.” Initially I was confused by Muther’s death metal-like, gutteral vocal interludes and the darker segments of the song, but came to realize they played as a crafty musical counterpoint to the track’s mainly lighter themes. “Make Me Believe” is a well-structured song that seems to just flow. The keyboards shine, whether it be the delicate piano intro or during the synthesizer-guitar interplay heard at other points. The ninth track, “Master of Disguise” represented a distinct tonal shift, as it seemed to be played with more attitude than what had been heard previously. Chunky guitar work served as the foundation for its methodical, marching rhythm. The guitar solo had the swagger of classic metal, transitioning from string bending to tapping in an exhibition of techniques.

The album enters the homestretch with “What I’m Made Of.” Ushered in with synthesizer work that builds intensity, the whole band joins to produce a moody but driven refrain. An abrupt tempo shift results in “What I’m Made Of” coming off as almost a different song at slightly past the three minute mark, before the song reverts back to its original feel. “Until I’m Done” is a rocker from the start, though it does evidence some quieter breaks. The track is difficult to characterize because there is a lot going on, maybe too much, but its basic construct is good. “Say My Name,” based around a galloping guitar line, closes the album on a high point.

CROWN OF GLORY’s third full-length album is fairly solid all the way through. The only thing that I found not to my liking were what seemed an abundance of tempo shifts within certain songs. I suppose this is simply a matter of a different taste in musical styling moreso than an outright criticism. The synthesizer gives CROWN OF GLORY a fuller sound, serving at times as almost a foundational element, which comes through on “Ad Infinitum” loud and clear. Well harmonized choruses, classically-based guitar soloing, and tight rhythms add to the overall aural experience. “Ad Infinitum” shows CROWN OF GLORY to be masters of an artier form of melodic metal.


Musicianship: 9
Songwriting: 8
Memorability: 7
Production: 9


4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Emergency
2. Something
3. Let’s Have A Blast
4. Emporium Of Dreams
5. Surrender
6. Infinity
7. Glorious Nights
8. Make Me Believe
9. Master Of Disguise
10. What I’m Made Of
11. Until I’m Done
12. Say My Name
Lineup:
Hene Muther – Vocals
Markus Muther – Guitar
Hungi Berglas – Guitar
Jonas Lüscher – Bass
Lukas Soland  – Drums
Oliver Schumacher – Keyboards
Record Label: Fastball Music
     


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Edited 20 October 2020
 

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