Kingcrow – In Crescendo
Kingcrow is a new band to me, so I’m overwhelmed with awe that In Crescendo from this low-profile Italian band is the best progressive rock album since Porcupine Tree stunned the rock world with In Absentia and Deadwing. In Crescendo will go down as a landmark album on par with other modern classics such as the aforementioned Porcupine Tree albums, Karnivool’s Sound Awake, Devin Townsend’s Ocean Machine (originally released as Biomech by Ocean Machine) and Opeth’s Blackwater Park. I wish I could claim that I had discovered Kingcrow earlier (this is their fifth album), so unfortunately I can’t place In Crescendo in the context of their earlier work.
Photo courtesy Kingcrow (www.kingcrow.it)
There’s everything you’d expect from a masterpiece – beautiful, thoughtful songs, impeccable musicianship, and innovative songcraft. During my first few listens I just couldn’t believe how good this album is. The rhythm section is tight, and picks up with driving force where appropriate, while the guitarwork typically shifts between solid, thick riffs and haunting acoustic melodies oftentimes layered together with electric guitar. Keyboards are ever-present throughout the album, from pulsing electronic rhythms to piano to difficult-to-characterize sounds. Then there’s the voice of Diego Marchesi – dynamic, soaring, majestic. Everything feels like it’s in its proper place. There’s not a whiff of pretention despite the depth of each song. Porcupine Tree is an obvious point of reference (the rhythm of “The Drowning Line” borrows some notes from “Arriving Somewhere But Not Here”), but more so in a stylistic sense. “The Hatch” has an eerie vibe similar to Queensrÿche’s version of “Gonna Get Close To You” before massive guitar chords blow the song wide open. Other high points are the slow-building melodies of “Morning Rain” and the measured grace of “The Glass Fortress”. The entire album is so compelling, so rich and captivating, that there’s no question in my mind that In Crescendo will stand as a monumental classic. So rare are the moments when a perfect, life-affirming album appears as if a gift from the heavens that one must simply bask in the glow and let the music infuse your soul. This is one such moment.