Incrave - Dead end 4.5/5

Reviewed: 3-14-08


1. Shattered
2. The forgotten
3. A shadow in the dark
4. The touch of death
5. Unveil the truth
6. Shades of me
7. An empty soul
8. Scream in silence
9. Nevermore
10. Dead end

Swedish band Incrave began their career as Evergrace and they released a very good 's/t' debut in 2006, which grabbed the attention of many metal fans, including myself. Unfortunately, they had to change their name and it's rumored that they were contacted by the similarly named and popular band Evergrey (also from Sweden), who forced them to change their name, otherwise they would be heading to court. This situation had to be hard for the young band, who was just starting to make themselves known in the metal community, and kudos to them for quickly moving on.

As Incrave, the band re-released their debut in 2007, with the new and appropriate title 'The escape'. Now they're back already with their excellent 2nd CD 'Dead end', and let me tell you folks, this CD is going to pull in fans of a few different styles of metal. For starters, the wonderful melodic metal style of Last Tribe, Leverage, Shining Star, The Codex, Cloudscape, Red Circuit, Planet Alliance and Winterborn is present. But that's not all, as there's a strong influence from progressive power metal bands like Vanishing Point, Platitude, Evergrey, Avian, Conception, Anubis Gate, Serenity and Kamelot. Really, Incrave sits somewhere in the middle, in an impressive way.

The band is quite young (with an average age of 22, currently), but they are extremely talented and seem to fit very well together. I'll first mention vocalist Johan Falk, as he has a fairly high voice not unlike Lance King of Avian, Pyramaze, Shining Star and others. Keyboard player Jonathan Stenberg does a great job, keeping the keys in the background for the most part, but they pop up out in front sometimes and bring in some melody. Josef Davidsson is the powerful drummer and Martin Daviddson provides some really cool bass segments (the opening of track 9 "Nevermore", for a quick example), but a final mention must be made of the 2 fantastic guitarists (Jon Balefalk and David Ohlsson), as they keep things catchy, heavy and crunchy - even up to the level of Tad Morose. It's no wonder why, as the CD was actually mixed/mastered by Per Ryberg, who's responsible for CDs from Tad Morose, Bloodbound and others.

For something extra special, the CD features 2 guest guitarists: Markus Sigfridsson of Darkwater (and Harmony) and Daniel Olsson of Tad Morose. So the CD as a whole is just full of talent, and it's reflected in each and every song. The CD's upbeat, bouncy, exciting, never boring, fun as hell, and nothing sinks down to an average level. There are many terrific guitar solos, and that's something I always hope CDs like this contain. So it's very hard to pick favorites off of an excellent CD like this, but I guess I'll single out the keyboard-highlighted and ultra-crunchy track 5 "Unveil the truth", the smooth and passion-filled track 6 "Shades of me", the fast-paced track 7 "An empty soul", and the tremendous closer "Dead end".

I strongly feel Incrave is going to turn many heads with 'Dead end'. The CD is released through the up'n'coming label Ulterium Records (who's already responsible for Darkwater and Ivory Moon), and is distributed in North America by the well-established Nightmare Records, which of couse is ran by Lance King, who was previously mentioned in this review. So if you're a fan of melodic/progressive power metal (and especially the many aforementioned bands), pick this up as soon as possible. Highly recommended!!




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