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Croword - Crimson Gaze Award winner

Crimson Gaze
by Andrew Graham at 08 November 2021, 10:38 PM

Austrian outfit CROWORD follow up their seminal album The Great Beyond (2017) with their Crimson Gaze EP, convincingly crowning themselves princes of modern-day Melodeath. The sound created in this bombastic feast expertly blends that classic Melodic Death Metal style with more contemporary elements – this is what IN FLAMES should have ended up sounding like, it had to be said! In all seriousness, there is a strong case to be made for these guys as heirs to the Melodeath throne.

The eponymous opening track grasps everything that is great about Melodeath and blends it together in a stylistic melody almost. The acoustic guitar melodies that open fill a rich canvass background against which rumbling bass and dancing cymbals crash. It’s fast-paced but not ludicrous – momentum is steady, and no energy is lost throughout despite changing rhythms and small intermissions between sections. Make no mistake, this is a very strong opening, and the rest of the EP certainly doesn’t disappoint.

“Isle Of The Dead” is relentless in opening and the pace hardly lets up – no rest for the wicked here! Quite simply here the band pile up the evidence of their expertise in their craft. The recording and mixing are also things of beauty. Drums are prominent against the backdrop of crunchy guitars and Adrian’s harsh and heartfelt vocals. There is a veritable feast of complex melodies and grooves on display, with moments worthy of inclusion in LAMB OF GOD’S finest moments.

“Death And The Maiden” really displays the expertise of the band, navigating seamlessly between intensity and heaviness on one hand, and melancholy melody on the other. It’s a real album high point and shows skill and technique of a band beyond their relatively short years of existence, right down to some downright sexy guitar solos!

“Secession” has a definite feeling of climax about it. From its opening moments it’s clear we’re on the home stretch. Johannes’ driving drums really shine through here, managing to set and maintain a consistent pace whilst also throwing in plenty of flourishes and improv to keep the listener utterly enthralled. All builds up to the finale, which crashes into view before fading out with haunting acoustic guitar: what a finish!

The EP is a huge amount of fun, striking that Goldilocks zone of balance between sheer brutality on one hand and command of melody on the other. It’s only a short offering but every moment of those 22 minutes and 28 seconds is a genuine treat. Great things are to come from these fine folks!

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

4 Star Rating

1. Crimson Gaze
2. Isle Of The Dead
3. Death And The Maiden
4. Secession
Adrian Schattovits – Vocals
Dino Sulic – Guitar
Julian Schattovits – Guitar
Lukas Rappitsch – Bass
Johannes Eder – Drums
Record Label: NRT-Records


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Edited 28 January 2022

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