Review: Croword “Crimson Gaze” [NRT-Records]

Review: Croword “Crimson Gaze” [NRT-Records]

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After four years of silence Austrian MDM band Croword has returned with a new EP Crimson Gaze, releasing it via NRT-Records. The band is rather young, but not without experience, at least their music proves it. Their debut album The Great Beyond from 2017 and the first EP Manifest of Mortal Sickness a year before were an ode to a mighty melodic death metal, Gothenburg’s direction in particular.

Croword isn’t original or experimental band, their choice was made directly and inexorably, their love of melodic death metal can be tasted in every possible corner of their creative minds. That’s not good or bad, that’s just a fact, this is something Croword are fond of and something they are talented also. There are no traces of strange or bizarre attitude; Crimson Gaze is a steady and predictable release, so your mind can rest focusing on traditional and expected principles of mdm. Yes, it feels like there are clichés and foreseeable moves engaged, and that’s so; but Croword aren’t ordinary copycats, they know how to play with these clichés adjusting them to their own personal style.

And although Croword is an Austrian band, you’ll never guess it, Austria isn’t strong in fabricating melodic death metal bands; symphonic and black metal are exponentially tougher in this region, so Croword decided to get inspiration from Scandinavian music of painful melodies and melancholic hardships. Everything is about melodies on Crimson Gaze; even the heaviest songs are incredibly melodic. So, it doesn’t matter what you think about it, you will never get away from this melodic side of Croword.

Self-titled “Crimson Gaze” is a little bit groovy, but without stealing the spotlight of melodic death’s glory making it too core-based. Sometimes the rhythm speeds up to thrash domain, but also without much fuss (“Isle of the Dead”). “Death and the Maiden” sounds almost romantically blind, and is also built on primitive principles. The last track “Secession” has unbelievably optimistic mood, but still without an instant catchiness. No technical marvels here, but all is performed very harmoniously and relaxingly, making every song and this EP in general very holistic and completed.

The one and only Jens Bogren (with his godlike reputation in metal world) is responsible for the mastering, turning it to a perfect example of how melodic death metal has to sound. Creepy cover art from local Irrwisch ArtDesign symbolically plays with high feelings and fears, mixing them together in a minimalistic and aggressive way. And big hype for all art lovers – the songs are inspired by two great Austrian painters – Egon Schiele and Arnold Böcklin, who are intricately talented in conveying the darkest subconscious feelings in a grim and expressive way. These inspirational art infusions contaminate the music of Croword, making it more multi-layered and profound with a sparkling flame of refined levity.

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