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Centurion > Cross and Black > Reviews
Centurion - Cross and Black

Dark, Epic, Gloomy Heavy Metal - 74%

DeathRiderDoom, May 19th, 2009

Centurion – Cross & Black

The first thing that catches my attention about this release is the title, I love it! It’s interestingly worded and very dark, which works well with the – you guessed it – dark sound contained within. Centurion play dark, almost doom-tinged heavy metal in the epic thrashy tradition of Manila Road, Wicked Lester, or Metal Church. Many of the riffs would work well in an early 80’s hardcore band, particularly one of the darker ones, like Crucifix – they’re crunchy and effective. Also, Centurion’s sound retains a certain 70’s doomy quality, almost Black Sabbath-ish in small parts. The album art and name certainly reflect whats contained inside.

‘Rebels Freed’ is an epic which starts off with one of the punk-ish riffs I mentioned earlier, and retains a bit of a punk/ doomish quality throughout. The vocals are kinda rough also, which furthers my punk likened hypothesis. This song gallops along with incredibly crunchy, raw sounding riffage, and thunders through several well done guitar leads including a fade out one at the end. Subject matter is a mix of punk/heavy metal, discussing what I think is a rebellion of American rebels kicking out the Brits – excellent.

‘In the Night’ is the most memorable track for me (Along with ‘Shadows on the Wall’) – and definitely has a strong punk sounding feel to it, which is again helped along with buzzsaw guitars and rather rough (compared with your high pitched soaring stalwart heavy metal vocalists) vocals. The vocals on this one kinda remind me of the singer from Gang Green. The lyrics on this one again evoke ‘punk’ to me. There’s one that says “I only want to live, and so do you…” delivered in a very rough, straight-up punk anthem kinda way that furthers my hypothesis to no end. This cut also features some rather technical little bass bits particularly at the end which add to the character of the piece. This is the song that probably gets stuck in my head the most.

The bands obligatory self-titled track is a winner, with a cool thrashy yet epic introductory riff with a sweet rumbling scale-ish bass riff underneath which I thoroughly enjoy. Any traces of punk which I suggested of several of the other tracks are all but banished in this no-holds-barred ‘metal or die’ anthem, which features all the standard great typical lyrics of this particular sub-set of true metal song. This one is an epic 70’s influenced almost Jag Panzer-ish number with extensive use of the same basic riffs, adding in some squealing and epic-quality guitar leads by Dave Felton. Making your title track the most epic and longest, on an album with a definite ‘epic’ quality is unusual, and I like it. Most bands in the genre tend to have their title track a quick, punch, shouty number, which is hook heavy, and leave the epic stuff for other numbers (see Iron Maiden). A nice touch, I thought.

On the subject of short punchy numbers, the album’s obligatory quick hard hitter is ‘Streetbeater’, up next, which is nicely arranged. While a small percentage of the verse riffs in this number could be likened to punk, the roots of this song lie in NWOBHM rockin’ out, and a bit more of that traditional 70’s ‘Sabbath sound. Quick tempo, and ‘pro-rock’ lyrics feature heavily in this one which is positioned well among the generally slower, drawn out affairs on much of the rest of the album.

The remainder of the album is a mix of the above; some buzzsaw punk riffage, bass heavy ‘Sabbath inspired passages, doomy gloomy stuff, and some ‘heavy metal’ imagery – all blended together in a rather decent way to produce a strong album that’s advisable to check out. Fans of US power metal will likely enjoy this one, touches of Legend, Manila Road and the like can be heard, with a definite punkish edge showing through occasionally. A good arrangement of tracks, often with many different parts to each song to keep things interesting, and a generally ‘heavy’ ’low’ sound, which I enjoy.