Review: Crows “The Dying Race” [Century Media Records]

Review: Crows “The Dying Race” [Century Media Records]

- in Reviews
Score 85%
Summary
…Germans?
85 %
User Rating : 3.9 (1 votes)
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It always fascinates me whenever I stumble upon a band that doesn’t represent the stereotypical ideas which a country has embraced. Take England’s Cloven Hoof for instance, which circa Dominator had more in common with US than European power metal from a stylistic perspective. The same could be said about this band named Crows – although they originated from Germany.

Granted, The Dying Race isn’t as vividly evocative as, say, Awaken the Guardian, nor is it as intelligently crafted as Nosferatu, yet in terms of guitar chops The Dying Race embraces a melodic, yet rousing style of riffing that makes it a lot of fun to listen to. “The Frantic Factor” doesn’t waste any moment and instantly goes for the kill through a series of blistering, yet memorable riffs, while Leszek Szpigiel’s frightful cries lead all the way towards that smooth lick of a chorus. The production is slick and allows the guitars to come through in full force, while the drums crash in the background with the right sense of explosiveness to them. “Too Proud to Fight” shows a different side of the band, where Leszek Szpigiel takes charge of through his addictive, yet empowering lines; the subtle changes in tonality compared to his performance on the opener proves how much of an excellent vocalist he is – as he relies as much on imagination as he does on vocal range. For the most part The Dying Race just doesn’t let you down in terms of superb riffing and excellent vocals – even embracing some thrash-like tendencies halfway through and they’re without a doubt the band’s heaviest crafts. “East of Eden” features a Leszek Szpigiel soaring like a possessed eagle ready for attack while the guitars storm through with malice – resulting into an ass whooper of a power/thrash metal hybrid.

…But of course heaviness isn’t everything. “Change the Border” features enough sophisticated thrashing heaviness to rival Metallica’s …and Justice for All, yet i can’t help but think that Crows sounded out of their element here and hence it’s not one of my favorites. “Insanity Defense” is another heavy tune…or is it not? The hammering riff that introduces it sounds promising, yet you end up with a verse where the guitars vanish into oblivion and Leszek Szpigiel’s restraint vocal lines aren’t doing the track a favor either. Certainly, you could make a decent three minute tune out of this, but alas we’re dealing with six minutes of deceiving mediocrity here. Fortunately, The Dying Race ends on a serious high, as the title track vaguely recalls Fates Warning’s “Point of View” thanks to that identical main riff, but Crows had no interest in playing lightweight progressive metal – thanks to the blazing guitars, smooth vocal lines and a drummer who sounds on top of things, the result is a top-notch power/progressive metal closer that could blow the roofs off.

I’d have liked to see Crows release at least one more record after this (well, let’s face it: if the band had released two killer albums I’d have asked for a third follow-up instead) as this was definitely an oddball, yet superb kind of band. If US power metal is your thing, there’s simply no way you could go wrong with The Dying Race.

Release date: 1991

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