I've been an obsessed hard rock/heavy metal fan and collector since the early 1980s. If it's got a good guitar riff and attitude, I'm in.
Crow's Flight—"The Storm"
Genre: Melodic Power/Progressive Metal
Release: Ram It Down Records, 2019
Track Number: 11 Tracks
Run Time: 45:30
Crow's Flight is a melodic power metal band from Finland who were kind enough to send along a copy of their latest album, The Storm, to me for review. (Thank you, fellas... or should I say "Kiitos?") Crow's Flight was a new name to me, but a quick round of Google searching revealed that the six-piece band has actually been around since 2008, and their recording history also includes a five-track debut EP and a previous full length album. The Storm was released through Germany's Ram It Down Records in October of 2019.
It appears that The Storm represents a comeback for Crow's Flight, whose last album (The Calm Before) was released way back in 2011. I don't know what caused the band to take such a long layoff between albums, but as soon as you press "play" on The Storm it quickly becomes obvious that the time away didn't diminish their musical abilities. The Storm is a polished, well crafted collection of melodic songs with a slightly dark edge, that should appeal to fans of bands like Stratovarius, Evergrey, and Tad Morose.
Also, it just occurred to me as I typed that last paragraph that the titles of Crow's Flight's last two releases combine to make the phrase "The Calm Before the Storm." Do I win a prize for catching that?
"Read Between the Lines"
The Storm kicks off with the barn burning opener "Forevermore," which sets the tone for the rest of the album quite nicely. Marko Vehmanen and Erno Hanhisalo's guitars mesh with Risto Raivio's punchy keyboard runs to create a solid "wall of sound" which Markko Kuikka soars over with his powerful, confident vocals. While many bands in the melodic power metal genre tend to go for a Geoff Tate-esque high pitched lead singer, Markko's vocals have a fair amount of grit to them which is a nice change. If I may drop a totally obscure comparison, he reminds me at times of Antony Parvianen, from the greatly missed (at least by me) Finnish power metal act Machine Men.
In other words, Crow's Flight have remembered to keep the "heavy" in melodic heavy metal, without succumbing to the overly slick, AOR-ish "wimp factor" that many bands in the genre fall victim to.
The catchy "Circle of Pain" leads into the impressive chug of "The Mercenary," which is powered by the thumping rhythm section of Marko Karisto (bass) and Timo Rajala (drums). "Read Between the Lines" is a fine melodic rocker and the moody "Final Sacrifice" resembles Edge of Thorns-era Savatage. Things start to heavy up again with the peppy kick of "The Path to Follow" and "Sea of Lies," but the pulsating "Darkness Within" is definitely the heaviest track on the album thus far, with a bass line that practically demands that you head-bang along. "Can't Be Undone" is a rousing fists-in-the-air anthem that closes the disc on a high note and leaves the listener wanting more.
Physical copies of the album apparently end with a bonus cover of "Home By the Sea" by progressive rock legends Genesis (from their self-titled 1983 album), with which I am unfamiliar. This song was not included on my digital promo of The Storm, but I was able to check it out via YouTube and I dug its amiable, chunky, high energy sing-along vibe. Now I suppose I'll have to check out the original Genesis version and see how Crow's Flight's take compares to it.
Summing It Up
I must confess that I've been out of the power-metal loop for quite a few years now, so I'm not exactly sure who or what is "hip" in that scene nowadays. Therefore I can't really tell you how Crow's Flight stacks up against today's current crop of prog/power bands. However, I was quite impressed with their blend of harmonics and heaviness, and I think The Storm should appeal to a wide audience of metal fans who appreciate the genre's melodic side, but also dig the heavy.
If you want more info on Crow's Flight, check'em out via their official Facebook page. If you like what you hear, physical copies of The Storm are available through Ram It Down Records.
Crows Flight Discography
Crows Flight (EP)—Indie, 2008
The Calm Before—Scandal Music Company, 2011
The Storm—Ram It Down Music, 2019
© 2019 Keith Abt
Kari Poulsen from Ohio on November 25, 2019:
I had not heard of this band, but i liked the song. Nice review.