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On disc: Crom

Of Love And Death - Mike Thompson - 6 stars

Of Love And Death

Of Love And Death
(Pure Steel Records - 2011)

Three years I've been waiting for the follow-up to Crom's amazing 2008 debut Vengeance and when I saw it appear for review I was so excited! At last it is here! This one man project from Germany gained many fans from the first full length which merged the boundaries of Viking metal and power metal and encapsulated a doomy melancholy throughout. Despite the vocals not being as polished as the rest of the instruments Vengeance was a great album and quickly grew to be a favorite of mine.

It is with great disappointment then that I have to report that Of Love And Death comes nowhere near the splendor of Vengeance. This album retains the same style as the debut in that the clean vocals of Walter Grosse soar majestically above the music, casting an almost ethereal feeling across the whole album. The acoustic guitars play a major role, perhaps even more so than Vengeance although the music does get heavier in parts.

However, the disappointment comes from the lack of truly catchy songs. Vengeance had Wings Of Fire, The Stars Shall Fall, Hammer Of The Gods and many more interspersed with droning, depressive numbers like A Life Unbearable which was the worst song on the album by a country mile and caused many words of thanks to the creator of the 'skip' button. Of love And Death is the complete opposite with many of the songs being of the melancholy, depressive camp and a few heavier, slightly more upbeat songs sprinkled here and there.

The themes of the album are given in the title and of course there have been many classic songs written about both love and death that plucked the heartstrings, pulled at your emotions and perhaps resonated with past experiences. Of Love And Death failed, for me, in each aspect of this. I felt the lyrics to My Song For All The Broken Hearts to be utterly cringe-worthy. Its like something from a HIM album.

Of course, I don't mean to say that the album is completely awful! The musicianship is still good and the vocals have improved considerably! If you can ignore the lyrics then Of Love And Death provides a very relaxing album. In fact one of my favorite tracks from the album is the almost-three minute acoustic instrumental Eternal Dreaming. The other track I really enjoyed was album closer The Fallen Beauty (2010). This is a re-recorded version of a song written for the 2003 EP of the same name. Its amazing how vastly superior this song is to anything else on the album. This is exactly what I expected from Crom.

For me this album does not live up to expectations. Its not bad but the follow-up to Vengeance could and should have been so much better.

6 stars

Mike Thompson


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