Crocell

Relics

Written by: RUB on 24/02/2018 12:44:14

The Danish death metal veterans of Crocell have just celebrated their 10-year anniversary and are now ready with their fifth studio album, entitled “Relics” and due out on the 16th of March. Their trademark brutal and fast take on the death metal genre still remains grim and powerful, albeit with slower and more crushing passages as well, and even entire songs that solely rely on monstrous breakdowns and heavy riffs. This is the follow-up to the band’s excellent 2015 release, “Prophet’s Breath”, which contained one of the highlight tracks of that particular year — namely “Tyrant of Iron”. Not only did that song have an insanely heavy main riff, but also an instantly recognizable intro and chorus, with its deep growling of “Tyrant of iron!”. Hopefully, Crocell would thus continue to develop their own sound on this latest release instead of recycling the same formula in terms of song structure, so as to avoid resigning “Relics” into the shadow of its predecessor and perhaps helping to propel them into the larger international scene.

As “Tyrant of Iron” did on their previous release, so “Black Death Redemption” does on this record; The track leads the album into war with a brutal intro and straight into piercing blastbeats. While perhaps not as powerful as “Tyrant of Iron”, it still contains a very melodious piece in the chorus that, when coupled with the fierce growling by front man Asbjørn Steffensen and the epic-sounding guitar and drums, still manages to come close. And in “Tombworld” they’ve managed to get almost all of the notes right. Both melody and song structure fit each other well, and when the deftly placed breakdown hits the listener about halfway through, it all just manages to reach that special other level necessary to make it truly memorable — especially when the song picks up the rolling drums again, you just know this is going to be a live-banger! Elsewhere, with “Last Dawn Duet”, we’re treated to a truly heavy track. With the guitars almost droning along the sluggish drums, it gets the neck muscles all warmed up for the moment when the track picks of the pace. Luckily, it keeps that same pace almost throughout the entire song, which makes it stand out amongst the rest of the songs by virtue of its heavy take on death metal. With a very different style from the previous track, “Mammon Rise” is back to the fast-yet-brutal style of death metal for which Crocell is revered. After a melodious intro, both drums and guitar follow suit, switching between fast tremolo and slower, heavier compositions. This leads to a decent guitar solo about two thirds of the way into the song, which again makes it stand out. Definitely another highlight moment of the album.

Grading this album has nonetheless been a surprisingly tough struggle. Crocell has managed to write a follow-up album worthy of both the title and their brand of death metal. But I cannot help but think it still lacks that special something to make it truly memorable. It contains great death metal bangers, as the download section is a testament to, but even though this is the case, it still has a number of quite forgettable pieces in the likes of “Conqueror’s Tyranny”, “Plague Altar” and the instrumental album-closer, “World at Its End”. I’m not entirely sure what the latter is even doing on the album, as it sounds like it’s building up towards something great, but then abruptly ends. And that is sadly Crocell in a nutshell, in my opinion. On the one hand they can write some fantastic, melodious, yet heavy death metal tracks that will make even the most elitist of fans tremble with envy, but they do also have a tendency to include a lot filler that basically sounds like any other dime-a-dozen death metal track, or like lesser versions of the highlights I have already pointed out.

Indeed, the album clocks in at over 40 minutes but it could easily have been a song or two shorter, making it more compact and — hopefully — free of such placeholder material. It is a shame, really, since Crocell still can prove that they’re a force to reckon with. As suggested in the intro, this makes “Relics” stay in the shadows of “Prophet’s Breath”, while still incorporating the group’s signature sound in the highlight songs mentioned. In order to make their music more memorable, the band needs to keep evolving their sound instead of relying on the same formula time and time again, as has been the case with this album. For now though, they’ve still managed to write a decent album with enough good songs that will probably be featured on their upcoming tour around the country.

7

Download: Tombworld, Death Black Redemption, Once Called Slave, Last Dawn Duet, Mammon Rise
For the fans of: At the Gates, Carcass, Decapitated, Exmortem
Listen: Facebook

Release date 16.03.2018
LongLife Records

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