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Kruk & Wojtek Cugowski – Be There

Kruk & Wojtek Cugowski
Be There
by Alex Barnard at 23 August 2021, 9:48 PM

KRUK is a Hard Rock band from Poland. “Be There, a collaborative effort with vocalist Wojtek Cugowski of BRACIA-fame, is the group’s fifth studio album, released by Metal Mind Productions on April 14, 2021.

The DEEP PURPLE influences on this album are so obvious, one would need to be deaf not to hear them. Cugowski sings like a poor man’s Ian Gillan; Michał Kuryś’s distorted organ sounds and jazzy/neo-classical playing mimic the sound pioneered by the late Jon Lord; Dariusz Nawara hits the drums just as hard as Ian Paice; and Krzysztof Nowak plays the bass with the same thumping groove as Roger Glover. The only person who seems to stand on his own in this band is guitarist Piotr Brzychcy, whose riffs sound a little Ritchie Blackmore-ish but when he solos – watch out!

My other complaint for this album is that the songs are way too long. This isn’t a TOOL record guys; I don’t need to hear you pray to Mother Mary for ten minutes over a drab and clichéd instrumental. Get to the point and wrap it up, it's a simple as that.

The album opens with its (thank God) shortest track, “Rat Race.” I just have to say, what is it with these old man Hard Rock bands complaining about daily routines in the modern world? Are you admitting that you can’t compete in this fast-paced environment we currently live in?  Honestly, it’s pretty pathetic that Rock bands can’t come up with new lyrical concepts anymore. This is either the second or third song I’ve reviewed by a band playing this style of music where the singer bemoans the supposed monotony of daily life, and it’s getting old, folks. Either adapt to the world around you or don’t even bother trying.

“Hungry for Revenge” follows, sounding like a track that was scrapped from the final lineup of DEEP PURPLE’s 1983 comeback album, “Perfect Strangers. Here, Cugowski sings about some woman who wronged him – what else would he sing about? The highlight of the song is Brzychcy’s solo, but it's not good enough that I would wait three and a half minutes of hackneyed nonsense to listen to it.

“Made of Stone, the fourth song on the album, bored me to tears; I swear I wrote something similar to the opening guitar riff when I was three months into playing the damn instrument. Finally, the last song I’ll make a comment on is “To Those in Power,” which seems to be this band’s half assed attempt at a protest song. Why don’t you leave the protesting to the kids, all right? The lack of energy Cugowski sings with as he speaks of revolution is unconvincing and, frankly, embarrassing.

Look, I get it. You're probably not going to agree with me on this review if you like watered-down AOR/Hard Rock. But seriously, is this the best these people can do? Sure, they’re competent musicians; there’s absolutely no question about that. The production is good too. It’s just astonishes me how lazy Rock has gotten in comparison to Metal. Metal constantly pushes the boundaries of what is acceptable lyrically, musically and compositionally whereas Rock continues to languish in the shadow of its former glory. If this band is AT ALL indicative of the sound of Rock these days, then Gene Simmons was right. Rock ’n’ Roll as it once was is dead; leave it that way and make something new.

Musicianship: 7
Production: 7
Songwriting: 1
Memorability: 2

2 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Rat Race
2. Hungry for Revenge
3. Prayer of the Unbeliever (Mother Mary)
4. Made of Stone
5. The Invisible Enemy
6. Dark Broken Souls
7. To Those in Power
8. Be There (If You Want To)
Lineup:
Piotr Brzychcy – Guitar
Krzysztof Nowak – Bass
Dariusz Nawara – Drums
Michał Kuryś – Keyboards
Wojtek Cugowski – Vocals
Record Label: Metal Mind Productions
     


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