Italian band Kingcrow, from Anguillara Sabazia near Lake Bracciano and the ancient capital of Rome, release The Persistence in September, a wonderful return to the power and majesty of their Phlegethon album, which originally peaked my interest back in 2010.
‘Persistence’ is the perfect title for this album, the band’s musical and lyrical growth evident as they continue to mature fast, and gather deserved success. Kingcrow have been working hard to have their music enjoyed globally, their recognition and popularity increasing via several European tours, including as support to Swedish prog metal band Pain of Salvation, with whom they’ll touring again through August and September of 2018, and a show at Prog Power USA in Atlanta in 2012.
The songs on The Persistence were written by Diego Cafolla with lyrics Diego Marchesi. Drenched opens the album with soft, warm keys, falling like drops of rain… then… the Thundrastorm roars! “Embrace the rain!” Kingcrow is back! Thundra Cafolla’s drums rock the airwaves as Diego Cafolla and Ivan Nastasi’s trademark dual guitar onslaught takes over the stage. Cristian Della Polla’s keys continue their march, as Marchesi’s first vocals enter the soundscape, “Stay with me! Let’s play a game. Forget what you think you have done before! Follow me. Embrace the rain. And feel the drops falling on you… weightless!” Marchesi sings like he is standing on a hill above Lake Bracciano, “Now it makes its way. A different seed, from the branches of the same old tree. Its calling you!” Be persistent! Resist the past… move forward… progress. It’s one of the best songs on the album, and that I have heard this year. The musical explosion that occurs is excellent; dual guitars, with bass, power drums and beautiful intermittent keys. A symphony of rock. Somehow Marchesi rises above it all, “Long awaited answers, from a sky that tells no lies!” It’s good to have Kingcrow back.
Closer opens with some cool keys from Della Polla, a very underrated keyboardist who deserves more credit globally. Often keyboardists get lost in heavier prog/metal bands, fortunately Kingcrow respects the need for well delivered keys in their music. Della Polla has always been innovative with his work, however on The Persistence he takes it to another level. This song is a great example. Cafolla and Nastasi’s dual guitar attacks are what most Kingcrow fans anticipate, and they always deliver, as on this track. Marchesi’s vocals return to the power of Phlegethon; “Call me again in your mind. Shuffling of bare feet at night into the unknown”. Yes, the writing continues to improve immeasurably. Just gripping. “Day after day we get closer” – and so they do.
Everything Goes opens with Marchesi centre stage, and he fills it with deep lyrics and great singing; “Your hands again upon the ground. Falling rain for hours and hours. As you learn the game”, surrounded by Della Polla’s keys and Thundra’s percussion. It is a very memorable moment. Guitars are added to the mix as Thundra provides accommodating percussion. Marchesi sings, “If you have a raging fever you are about to turn the page!” And they do – deep keys and synths, with piano, before Marchesi adds, “We know nothing in the end. From wherever you begin”. Heavy drums, excellent synths and powerful lead and bass guitars fill the soundscape leaving you speechless. Three songs in and this album is both a keeper and contender for Album of the Year.
Folding Paper Dreams features cool keys with drums support. Marchesi sings, “Coming to the end of this lucid dream. Void of sound. Near the shore”. The keyboards rise and become more prominent, Thundra’s perfectly placed cymbals, and then that Kingcrow rising growl of guitars and drums, a trademark of their sound, takes over with a rush of wild abandon. Marchesi roars like he is in the middle of a windstorm created by the swarming and whirling guitars. This song will be great to watch live. Marchesi finishes the song with a lone vocal, “Folding paper dreams, what is left of us, still resound”, before a soft guitar solo.
The title track has some of Della Polla’s best keys. It is my favourite song, and for me the most powerful. With the lyrics and the performances, from end to end it is dynamic, another of the best songs of the year. Marchesi almost yells, “Plant your foot down. And brace yourself for the waves! Do not get overwhelmed. Never… ending… struggle to keep it in line. And sail!” Yes, never surrender! Like a Rush power surge full of energy, the guitar work and hammering drums would be excellent to see live. “I won’t stop. Straight ahead!” They finish it with ELO, Mr. Blue Sky keys, almost bringing tears to your eyes.
The keys that open and close Every Broken Piece of Me are wonderful, but this is Marchesi’s vocal show; “Waiting in the cold for me to arrive. My undernourished dreams, they want a piece of me”. Thundra’s drums console, as slow picked electric guitar sets an eerie mood. They have learned to frame their music well, like Rush and Dream Theater of old. That ocean wave keyboard sound is just spectacular in the song’s mid-section, the guitar work is unique and precise. They smash open the soundscape with thundering drums, bass and electric guitars burning everywhere. The rising keys above this commotion are fantastic, Della Polla’s echoing keyboard full of bass to conclude.
Devil’s Got A Picture is full of solo lead electric guitar at the opening, then Thundra’s drums join in. Marchesi sings, “Memorizing glimpses of everything that stands. Hanging from the ceiling. Of my very own hell”. There are those awesome keys again, “I’m in the line of fire. A lost and blind folded man. Like I’m falling behind, in someone else’s plan”. Thunder drums, elevated synths and keys with that trademark Kingcrow run for the power electric guitars, charging ahead as Marchesi sings, “On this crazy ride. I’m sick and tired. Another meaningless game”. Then it sounds like he shouts, before an amazing roar of musical energy, the band sing together, “The only rule is go ahead”.
Night’s Descending introduces a good friend, Daniel Gildenlöw of Pain of Salvation. I think Marchesi is a fantastic singer, but sometimes you need to add variety and Gildenlöw does an excellent job on vocals for this Queensrÿche/Dream Theater–like production. A very good song, no doubt, with powerful lyrics and music.
Father is a wonderful, warm song, about the importance of building better communication. Marchesi sings, “Father looking straight at me. Father you were just like me. Cut from the same cloth. Never really learned to cry or laugh out loud. Talk to me. Please for real. I’m so tired of living through my memories. Wondering what you think of me”. Maybe the deepest song on an album that extensive examines feelings, the supporting music solid, like for the whole album.
Perfectly Imperfect opens with beautiful piano and train chugging percussion: “Won’t let you down. In this silence. Won’t let you blame only yourself… again”. Wow! The maturity in the sound is apparent. The supporting orchestration, guitars, percussion and drums are perfect. It’s a great closer, I can’t wait for the next album. “Please give us a chance. Cause let me say it clear. We feel the same way”. And so do I.
Kingcrow’s music continues to evolve and become ever more dynamic with each successive album.
01. Drenched (5:35)
02. Closer (4:57)
03. Everything Goes (4:15)
04. Folding Paper Dreams (7:03)
05. The Persistence (7:09)
06. Every Broken Piece of Me (6:50)
07. Devil’s Got A Picture (5:04)
08. Night’s Descending (4:53)
09. Father (4:36)
10. Perfectly Imperfect (5:06)
Total Time – 55:22
Diego Marchesi – Lead & Backing Vocals
Diego Cafolla – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Ivan Nastasi – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Thundra Cafolla – Drums & Percussion
Cristian Della Polla – Keyboards & Synths
Riccardo Nifosì – Bass Guitar
Record Label: Sensory Records
Country of Origin: Italy
Date of Release: 7th September 2018