KROSSFIRE - Shades Of Darkness

Krossfire - Shades Of Darkness

12 songs
62:55 minutes
***** **
Pure Steel


In late 2011 I got to listen to Krossfire’s debut album Learning To Fly, and this might also have been the first time I had the chance to listen to a metal band from Bulgaria. Four years later they are back with their second album Shades Of Darkness, and I was quite keen on hearing if they could maintain the positive impression from the predecessor.

The line-up is still the same, but starting with the opener The Last Ride, it is clear that the keyboards play a more dominant role as in the past. Also the vocals reach unprecedented heights. All in all the vocalist does a good job even though at times his performance feels a little strained. This shouldn’t mean that everything has changed within the band. They still put a lot of emphasis on powerful riffs that often come soaring through the speakers, and on the choruses they always decide for a more melodic option. Still there are some exception, and a track like One More Time could benefit from being edgier. The piano ballad Farewell is a little too long with its six minutes running time, giving the band too much time for pathos. But there are also some positive surprises. Fall From Grace is one of the band’s best songs so far, with parallels to Powerwolf. The biggest surprise of the addition of a professional female opera singer, who is also the sister of one of the musicians. She is featured on several tracks and manages to add one those not so fast track to inject a pleasant amount of drama. Finally I want to point out Annabelle, a ten minute epic which sounds so gloomy and dramatic that it would work well in the context of a spooky musical.

Krossfire still label themselves a pure power metal band, but I see things a little different. Even if this is still a major component of their sound, other elements like symphonic metal (a lot) and progressive metal (to a lesser degree) have found their way into Krossfire’s music. The band has opted for a way that doesn’t hit my preferences as much as they did on their debut. Shades Of Darkness finally doesn’t sound as juicy as its predecessor, but it is still a solid piece of work, especially for those who don’t mind their metal a tad more commercial.

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