Cronian - Terra
Mr V. (Andreas "Vintersorg" Hedlund) and Öystein G. Brun, both from Borknagar take a step to the side and form the project Cronian that is supposed to be a soundtrack for our current arctic times. Vintersorg is a most productive man and the ink from my review of his earlier effort Waterclime has hardly dried when this one album comes along. The list of bands involving Vintersorg can be made very long and now we can add Cronian as yet another one of interesting band with him.
Why I choose to name the genre as experimental in the table of facts is easy, it is impossible to say that Cronian is either this or that kind of band. The music can be described with words as epic, dark, soft, progressive, aggressive, symphonic, soothing or whatever you like, there are many describing words that fit and also those that are contradictions can be used on Cronian.
Mr. V and Öystein are creating musical landscapes filled with emotion and symphonic as well as progressive elements combined with heavy riffs. It is hard trying to describe how Cronian sounds like but it has a great deal of a typical sound of Mr. V and a lot in common with Borknagar, although it can in one moment sound like aggressive Borknagar and the next moment float away like the progressive band Fates Warning. The music spans from 70's progressive rock when it comes to melodies and further on to Dimmu Borgir-esque black metal combined with an experimental touch and sweeping soundscapes.
Most memorable track on the album is The Alp that blends most of the elements and has a part where the pace is quickened in Borknagar style with growls and a symphonic melody line that supports the aggressive parts. Mr. V combines his vocal techniques on Terra and the clean emotional vocals can't really cope to carry this album, it feels like the music is to demanding for his normally great voice as on his Waterclime album for instance. But I simply love his growling, it is bloody brilliant and the mixture of his styles gives a really nice touch to the album.
So how do they manage to tie together their wide range of musical styles with Terra? Rather well, even though it tends to come out a bit pretentious at times. And the drum sound, that I presume falls under the category of programmed, sounds a bit flat and lifeless. I realise that my words in this review does not exactly cast any bright lights on how Cronian sounds, but if you like Borknagar or any of Vintersorg's earlier work there is a fair chance that you will like this. It is a difficult album that takes many times of listening to before it sinks in, but you will discover new nuances and favourite parts for every time you listen.