Keen of the Crow - _Hyborea_
(Grau / Prophecy, 2007)
by: Pedro Azevedo (8 out of 10)
Consider Primordial's raging style and Morgion's atmospheric heaviness, and you will have two of the main ingredients that make up Keen of the Crow's impressive debut full-length _Hyborea_. The quintet includes drummer Rhett Davis and bassist Justin Christian, both formerly of Morgion, but the balance here is tipped away from Morgion's slow builds and more towards a warlike epic feel akin to Primordial in their blackened mood. Then again, the fact that this follow-up to their _Premonition_ MCD is based on the character of Conan of Cimmmeria should provide solid indication of increased aggression.

In a nutshell, Keen of the Crow come up with a really potent, varied and enjoyable mix on _Hyborea_: from blistering sequences driven with some throat-searing rasps to atmospheric breaks and clean sung doom passages (the adequacy of which varies somewhat). The album is not without some weaker moments (e.g., "Seeking Fury, Becoming Wrath") or somewhat derivative passages, but it also has a number of great sequences. Overall it is a very enjoyable release that shows plenty of potential and comes close to a higher rating. Goes nicely with the new album by label-mates Mael M├│rdha, too.

(Apparently both of the band's guitarists have since departed, with the remaining three members -- or two, as it remains unclear which side the vocalist stands on -- apparently willing to keep Keen of the Crow alive, according to their MySpace page. On their main website, the guitarists say the band is over and there will be no more Keen of the Crow without them, as Seth Arthur was the main songwriter.)


(article published 5/4/2007)

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