Savage Crow - Way of the cross 4.5/5

Reviewed: 6-27-08





Tracklist:

1. Loaded attack
2. No return
3. Without you
4. Strike and run
5. Looking for danger
6. Excalibur
7. Love will never burn
8. Angels of the battlefield
9. Way of the cross
10. Dream
11. Phantom of time
12. Without you (special mix)


Alright folks, we've got another awesome new melodic power metal band here! Out of Germany, Savage Crow brings us their full-length debut 'Way of the cross', and not only has it really impressed me personally, it's a CD that should appeal to just about every power metal fan out there. For immediate comparisons, Savage Crow is in line with Burning Point, Asperity, Excalion, Dawn of Silence, Inner Wish, Black Majesty, Destynation, Fraise, Crimsonfire, Inner Visions, Destination's Calling, and there are moments that I think of Hammerfall, Dreamland, Cans, Full Strike and even Firewind. Yeah, this is a band that every power metal fan should be interested in.

Made up of 6 members, Savage Crow features 2 vocalists - male and lead vocalist Pini (with no last name given) and female sidekick Betty (also with no last name given). Both are truly fantastic, as Pini has a clear, easily understood and confident voice, while Betty has a smooth and pleasant voice, maybe comparable to Oratory's Ana Lara, though Betty isn't as expressive. Most of the time, both vocalists join in at the choruses (and sound spectacular together), but there are also times when they alternate singing, which is great too, as both vocalists are capable of handling the vocals by themselves.

Not only does the band feature 2 vocalists, but they also have 2 guitarists - Ivica Vidovoc (aka "Ivi") and Markus Mantau. These guys are killer guitarists, constantly churning out catchy riffs and tremendous guitar solos. Bassist Gerald Zinneger is also of high quality, and even provides a few short but cool solo segments. This is definitely one of those CDs with an extra-strong rhythm section, but drummer Patrick Lehmeier is the one that keeps the fast and exciting pace going, and also needs to be mentioned.

What's really surprising to me is that Savage Crow formed in 2006 (just 2 years ago), as the way they've fit together so well and produced this excellent debut, it's like they've been playing together for many years. Another cool and refreshing aspect of 'Way of the cross' is that the guitar work has a slightly raw sound, and the CD's far from the over-polished kind. Plus, with exception of a few contributions from a guest musician, we're keyless here folks! Yep, this is not one of those highly symphonic CDs, and while you all know I love keys in metal, when the guitar work is so catchy, it's great to listen to a CD like this.

You want highlights? Well, that's a tough one, as every song is excellent, but I will pick out track 5 "Looking for danger" (which has an ultra-fun chorus) and the catchy-as-hell track 9 "Way of the cross" (title track). I also very much enjoy the slow songs, which are track 3 "Without you" and track 7 "Love will never burn", as they contain some sweet guitar solos and both Pini and Betty sound terrific. Just like with most great power metal CDs though, this is thoroughly enjoyable and consistent. I should mention that the closer "Without you" is a different version of track 3, and both versions are equally great.

It's extremely hard for me not to highly recommend 'Way of the cross' to every power metal fan out there, as I just simply have a hard time envisioning a fan of this type of music not liking the CD. Therefore, do yourself and a deserving band a favor, and pick this up as soon as possible.



CLINT




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