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Another Great Mystical Power Rock Act - 81%

DeathRiderDoom, June 13th, 2010

*Written for the 10th MA Virgin Reviews Challenge

Crossbones are a band hailing from Italy who play the same mystical melodic heavy metal style of bands like Forced Entry, Horizon, Elektradrive, Zar and others. It’s a very cool style – hard rockin, heavy, but very melodic, often featuring thick keyboards in the mix. Crossbones mixes these sorts of numbers with straight up traditional Euro metal bangers. With their first appearance a simple demo in ’84. followed by a track on Italian metal collection ‘Metallo Italia’, it was a good many years till Crossbones managed to get things together enough to get out their debut full length LP on Dischi Noi. A classy effort, especially for a debut on a minor record company, Crossbones would have been well-poised to make a dent in the scene if timing and circumstances had of worked out.

Anyway, as I mentioned, the album is a mixture of more mystical, powerish deeper cuts, and conventional hard-rockers. In the first camp we have the fantasy themed ‘Promised Land’, which has a very Dio/Horizonish sound going on. Epicness is added by great lyrics, and very soft, unobtrusive keys, and orchestral strings. Slow pounding riffs and a very smooth, evocative performance on vocals by Giorgio Veronesi really make this one an epic winner. ‘Iron in Soul’ is a faster paced power metal track, with a boomingly ominous performance by Veronisi, biting riffs, rumbling bass and a very close likeness to Horizon. The Gregorian style vocal effects, and moody guitars make this one a majestic power metal number. ‘Winter’ is a moody symphonic tracks with orchestral strings, and showy virtuosic guitars in the neoclassical vein – very ambitious, this is the sort of track you would expect to find on a Yngwie Malmsteen / Micheal Angelo Batioalbum. The more conventional numbers I mention include the hard rockin’ and obviously titled ‘Rock n Roll’, that with it’s classic riffage sounds very much like a typical NWOBHM cut.

Anyway a pretty damn solid effort, especially for a debut record, this one is extremely well-produced and has some awesome power metallish cuts in the vein of the aforementioned – laced with classy studio effects, and crispy guitars – perhaps best exemplified by the ambitious ‘Winter’. But also conventional rockers – much how Horizon pieced together their excellent full length record. I adore this subgenre of music, and will continue to search out stuff in this rather small field, and am certainly glad to have discovered this gem. I remember being surprised at the musical direction here, as I expected something slightly more conventional vein, but found something very much in the same vein as the awesome Italian act Elektradrive. The majority of the tracks are mystical power-rock numbers including the epic, brooding closer ‘Fire’ that should be pleasing to power metal fans, while the hard rockiness of much of the material should please traditional fans alike. Surprisingly strong album in one of my favourite styles.