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Crematory - Pray

Published March 16 2008

=Staff's pick

When Darkness Falls*
Left The Ground
Sleeping Solution*
Just Words
Burning Bridges
Have You Ever
Say Goodbye

Genre Gothic/Atmospheric Metal
Felix Stass
Tracks 10
Matthias Hechler
Runningtime 48 Min.
Harald Heine
Label Massacre Records
Release 01 Feb. 2008
Markus Jüllich
Country Germany
Katrin Jüllich
Similar artists ---

I was quite the fan of the german band Crematory in the beginning of the 90's but I lost track, or rather interest, of them around the time of the new millenium. It had all become a bit too saggy and stale for me and I thought they would from there on just remain a somewhat pleasant memory. It is with great pleasure I listen to their new album Pray and hear a fresh and bombastic album with all ingredients not only intact from the glory days, but taken to even greater levels. Since I have not heard their previous four albums, apart from a lousy single a few years ago, I have no idea if this is how they have sounded throughout their career or if it's a newfound energy, but I will sure check the matter up.

They set the tone right away with the solid When Darkness Falls which elegantly glides over in the equally good Left The Ground. Both great tunes clad in a fat production and the semi-growling vocals from Felix Stass are lifting the songs to great heights. Alone is a song that I am pretty indifferent to, but they pick it up again with the great title track Pray. Sleeping Solution and Just Words are captivating songs with great ambience and nice atmosphere. Burning Bridges takes the speed up a notch while maintaining the high level of songwriting. There is a good balance between the metal elements, the keyboard parts and the more melodic and melancholic refrains.

The second half of the album holds up just as good as the first and it is a very solid album with songs that seeem to grow on to you slowly but surely the more you listen to it and Say Goodbye rounds everything off in a very good way. The songs are overall intense and overwhelming while still very laid back and the great, clear and fat production is a big factor to this.

Most people might call this Gothic Metal, and are indeed doing so, but I think there is too much "metal" in this to justify that simple description. The great heavy riffing and the vocals are making it a bit more than that. I would simply call it metal of the heavier kind in a mid pace, containing very atmospheric yet subtle keyboard elements and great mixed vocals of the common dark/clean kind, where the latter ones are courtesy of guitarist Matthias Hechler. I am happily surprised to hear Crematory still delivering on this level. They are certainly one of the better bands in the genre at the moment and this is one of the best albums I have heard from them.








7,5 chalices of 10 - Tommy

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