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Rating:
7.7
Cronian - Erathems
8 November 2013


01. Cold Wave Eruption
02. Ecocracy
03. Drifting Station
04. Moments And Monuments
05. Blackwater Horizon
06. Core Resiliency
07. Chemical Dawn
08. End(Durance) Part III
09. Full Moon Inferno [bonus]


Cronian is where two Borknagar big names, Andreas "Vintersorg" Hedlund and Øystein Garnes Brun, like to put their heads together and push their creative boundaries.

Their third album Erathems is a progressive reinterpretation of the multi-layered and highly melodic black metal of the pair's main band. Considering that it's composed by two of its most recognised members, you might be ready to write it off as simply a Borknagar offshoot. However, Erathems clearly demonstrates that this like-minded duo have worked something different here, something with its with own distinctively progressive character as it diverges further from the black metal core of said band and most fully explores their symphonic side.

The inspiration behind the collaborative project since its inception has been a musical projection of Arctic landscapes; a kind of metal soundtrack to the North Pole was the aim. Some of that inspiration finds its way into this release but it is inconsistently expressed and the wintry vibe is largely replaced with a futuristic outlook and a spacey feel. Hedlund's curiosity for the neoclassical is well demonstrated here; his instinctive ability to capture the cold climate of his homeland in his musical endeavours is again well attested, as it is in his elementally themed efforts with his own band Vintersorg. It all comes with being Scandinavian I suppose; seems as if the black metal runs naturally in the man's veins, fuelling his often progressively innovative and folk inspired melodies.

However, this album has less to do with Vintersorg's unique interpretation of folk metal and more to do with those alien keyboard effects no doubt inspired by past works like Cosmic Genesis, as well as the neoclassical elements that were dabbled with most effectively on more recent efforts like Orkan. Such is added to what are essentially Borknagar styled melodies "writ large" and in a more progressive vein spread across a soundscape geared for atmosphere. Less focused on black metal song structures, the melodies are composed with a more expansive and sweeping approach with an emphasis on the symphonic element. Whether they're pushed to the fore or held as a backdrop, the sounds of orchestra and symphony are predominant.

This is a stylistic crossroads in which you can hear bits of Borknagar and Vintersorg, which is not all that surprising. Also unsurprising is that expectations are met regarding the quality of song writing that these two names bring. However, the album does have a rhythmic rigidity and mechanical beat, given the programmed drums, which holds back something which could potentially be more fluid and it does detract from the strong performance. The guitar work of Øystein Garnes Brun is always something dependably solid and that is certainly the case on Erathems as he breaks through the icy layer of neoclassical symphony with hard hitting riffs that call on both progressive and black metal stylings.

In short, this a more progressive melodic black metal than Borknagar have demonstrated with their albums, and all is frozen over with some Vintersorg appeal.

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 6
Production: 8


Band profile: Cronian
Album: Erathems


 



Written on 20.11.2013 by
R'Vannith
R'Vannith enjoys music, he's hoping you do too.
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