Krakow

Monolith


1. Coronated King
2. Art Of Motion
3. Last
4. Lantern
5. Follow
6. Oblivious
7. Monolith

"Even when looking beyond the curiosity of a Norwegian band being named after a Polish city, and actually one of the nicest cities in Europe at that, it is also relatively rare to encounter Norwegian doom metal bands. Although the influence of psychedelic ex-Vikings Enslaved is hard to miss in Krakow's sound, their debut album, "Monolith", singlehandedly nullifies the paradoxal from "Norge" and "doom".
And doom it is! Instead of committing themselves to a certain subdivision of the (sub-)genre, Krakow more or less cover the whole spectrum in the seven tracks on this album. There is a strong stoner/psychedlic vibe throughout the album, which is hardly surprising given Ivar Bjørnson's involvement, and most of the songs on "Monolith" do have their postrock compatible moments, but at the same time these four Norwegians aren't exactly shy of throwing some traditional Brum, some good old Yorkshire gloom and some gruff Winter-esque death/doom into the mix. As a result the songs on "Monolith" offer a lot of variation and differences between some of the individual tracks are substantial. Nevertheless it all sounds remarkably consistent thanks to a distinct use of effect-laden lead guitars, a strong performance by drummer Christopher Swahn Zibell and a keen use of contrast between the two vocalists, blending clean singing with a gruff, Scott Kelly-esque throaty rasp and growls.
In general, the use of dreamy lead guitar work and clean vocals makes "Monolith" a rather accessible album, but it never sounds slick and Krakow do have a few aces up their sleeves with the laid back, twelve minute instrumental title track and the wild, double bass driven "Oblivious", a track that acknowledges High On Fire as well as Hellhammer as influences. It would however go too far to say that "Monolith" is without its flawless. Even when ignoring the rather amateurish sleeve artwork, there are several signs that show that this is a debut album. The production could have been just that little bit more gritty and the vocal performance could benefit from some urgency in the delivery. Nevertheless, Krakow have delivered a very impressive first album and it will be extremely interesting to see this band develop."
Lords Of Metal, Wim

CD album

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