I can’t speak highly enough of Kingcrow’s two previous albums “In Crescendo” (2013) and “Eidos” (2015). Both are far-reaching immaculately structured collections of progressive metal songs. So naturally I was hoping for more of the same from “Persistence”, the seventh album release from the Italians.
Sure enough, the opener “Drenched” touched me with its climactic and exciting vibes and Opeth style instrumental development, which features throughout this album. But it did not touch me as much as the electrifying “Closer”. A dark electronic wave runs underneath but this fades into the background as the song develops its immense proportions. Diego Marchesi’s voice is so lush and real. The instrumental accompaniment is dark, anxious and delicate all at the same time. The acoustic guitar provides calm amid the progressive storm. The attention to detail is amazing. There isn’t a wasted note, harmony or second. “Everything Goes” is then a sea of calm. Yet it’s an impassioned song with wonderful emotional harmonies, reflective moments reminiscent of Green Carnation and another deeper passage, which could come straight from Opeth’s “Damnation”.
Kingcrow take us into a reflective wonderland again on “Folding Paper Dreams”. The keyboards add the mystique. The guitar line ramps up the atmosphere into powerful majesty. The harmonies are immaculate. This just tugs at the heartstrings. The timing and tempo are perfect. Half way through the tempo picks up but as ever the rising emotion is born out of what is there. What a compelling song. In some ways it reminds me of Threshold’s “Pilot in the Sky Dreams”, but this is more sophisticated. The emotion and the prog metal sophistry never stop. The musical patterns are magical. The songs are structures of perfection and the timing is out of this world, as each song develops its own powerful transformative personality. The title track builds layer upon layer of exciting yet measured drama, dropping back into heavenly passages as much as it surges forward. Thanks to all the subtle developments, this reaches out to other wondrous worlds. The symphonic end to “The Persistence”, reflects the loftiness but it isn’t overplayed. Nothing is. Once again, Kingcrow capture us with “Every Broken Piece of Me” with its melodic melancholy, which breaks out into drama and urgency, but always in an air of devastatingly haunting emotion. The progressive sound waves of the keyboards reflect a human heartbeat, before signalling the stars and darkness. This is immense. “Every Broken Piece of Me” is like taking a ride through all of life’s emotional journey in seven minutes. Diego’s expressive vocals are like your favourite chocolate – silky and flavoursome. The whole experience is an explosion of colour and harmony. Every second and every movement count. I could listen to this album for a week and would still be finding subtleties and joy in it. And yet it’s not at all soft or constantly tugging at heartstrings. “Devil’s Got a Picture” is sensitive, yes, but momentarily there is a stormy, growly scene. The lingering sinister feel is maintained on “Night’s Descending”, an unusual song. It breaks into a different and more vulnerable level of emotion and features a short rock solo. But as ever the memorable feature is the pitch and sustained harmony, which reflect an intense scene of night and sad reflection. “Father” is sheer emotional power and instrumental electricity – starting quietly, it’s soon sending shivers down my spine. Its structure is far from simple. Magical passage blends into magical passage before the closing dynamic crescendo. Kingcrow then captivate us one last time with “Perfectly Imperfect”. Sensitivity flows through this piece without it ever getting slushy. “Perfectly Imperfectly” lays a deck of calm whilst exuding impact. It sounds pretty perfect to me.
Kingcrow are complete musicians. Ambience, power, sensitivity, timing, balance: it’s all here. They have a creative vision of epic proportions and once again share it on “Persistence”. This scintillating and dynamic album captures spheres of musical magic. This is the reason I like prog metal and why Kingcrow are one of my favourite bands.
(10/10 Andrew Doherty)