Sons of Crom, hailing out of Finland are a duo whose sound centres pretty much around ‘epic’ heavy metal. With one full length already behind them, “The Black Tower” marks their next recording and it’s certainly an imposing one, especially overcoming that milestone mark. So yeah, less sloppy exposition and more writing… Onwards!

A better way to describe this band in terms of musical genres would be a hybrid of Black Metal, Folk Metal and the European take on Power metal. With some stylistic and musical delivery similar to that of Borknagar, it’s a very easy way to show you what to expect on this release. Blistering paced riffs which buzz away, hypnotic melodies which captivate with ease, vocals which cut through the music, be it harsh and scathing rasps or full bodied cleans with an odd chant like quality to them, “The Black Tower” is packed with variety!

Intricate and atmospheric, tracks like the instrumental opener “Steps Of Doom”, “Legacy” and closing instrumental “Rebirth Of The Sun” have a kind of cinematic quality to them (Think the start of old western films and you get the idea), which helps create solid and rather vividly detailed mental imagery. On the other hand, the tracks “Black Wings Up High” and “Summoning The Starborn” are impressive displays of folk and European styled Power Metal, similar to bands like The Apocalypse Orchestra and Eluveitie.

The real moments of interest though are the second and third tracks. “In Fire Reborn” is a blistering pseudo-Black Metal number. The fast pace, harsh growls and piercing guitars are accompanied by a frenzied rhythmic assault from the drums and the atmospheric impact is powerful. On the other hand, “Fall Of Pandemonium” is a fast paced hybrid of folk, power and traditional heavy metal. Its soaring melodies have hooks which catch you with ease and the more folky vocals help with the narrative feel of the track.

Those high points aside, whilst this is a musically solid album, it does feel rather long in places, which to the casual listener, may make this a task to listen to at times. For those who like their metal with some variety and originality, this should be a tower you would want to ascend.

(7/10 Fraggle)