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Star Gazing - 89%

GuntherTheUndying, October 16th, 2010

Being that Cruz Del Sur Records is the harbinger of epic metal, it would only make sense Crescent Shield registered for their glorious roster alongside the other elites of such valorous might. Needless to say, "The Stars of Never Seen" manufactures an immobilizing shift of alchemistic power metal, combining the driving fury of old-school speed metal with today's catchiness and song structures often detected in power metal bands all over the nations. Nothing makes Crescent Shield unoriginal at all though, because the group's abstract nature pulls an interesting cover over their dynamic material, giving themselves and their second record a blessed shadowing that magnetizes the mystic and constitutes a wonderful listening experience in every sense.

I suppose the main point hovering over "The Stars of Never Seen" is the staggering direction Crescent Shield takes, much unlike several power metal groups attempting a similar feat. Their style is boldly atmospheric and heavily circulated on a full-fledged instrumental balance featuring fast yet sophisticated riffs, a complex and independent bass, and an impressive percussion scenario, with comfortable swarming to other influences (progressive rock/metal or NWOBHM , for instance) being played when the time is right, overall making a crisp identity one could not resist that emits no tracks of poor quality.

Take "The Bellman" for instance: a goofy jig giving nods to some mild NWOBHM influences and mid-paced structures that really don't fit with the mysterious feel most of the record radiates, but Crescent Shield is obviously so comfortable in their own skin that dropping the cryptic overtone clearly does nothing to damage the great reputation already bestowed upon "The Stars of Never Seen," as it is one hell of a song. On top of this, the album demonstrates a massive exploitation of rapid riffing in the vein of classic power metal factions such as Omen or Jag Panzer, but applied within a neat web that Crescent Shield molds into their own unique brand of casual dominance.

Now the only negative thing I tend to detect from the masses whenever Crescent Shield is discussed revolves around Michael Grant's voice, which is highly unlike the status quo of throats and even makes a weird duck such as Warrell Dane look like a Rob Halford clone. His pitch is quite low, maybe uncomfortably at times, but I really don't see his effort hindering the overall scheme throughout this record; in fact, I believe he sounds great in this particular group.

Overall, negative opinions do no harm to this record; they simply are deflected and then respectably ignored. You could say "The Stars of Never Seen" demonstrates the importance of originality balancing against a stellar atmosphere that can only be truly understood once it is given life, yet I'm inclined to argue that Crescent Shield's mystical offering yields so much more than the pitiful alms of words. Being that the album is an epic voyage to places unknown, I suggest you get a good seat on the magic carpet and enjoy the trip. Just keep your hands and feet in at all times, ok?

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