Crescent Shield
The Stars of Never Seen

Though still on a similar wavelength as their last effort, Crescent Shield’s newest release, The Stars of Never Seen, is more grandiose, more expansive, and packs less punch. The NWOBHM-paced gallop woven into 2006’s excellent The Last of My Kind has gone by the wayside of a looser (and more progressive) sound. Progressive is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is clear that this album is not an extension of the last one, much to this reviewer’s chagrin.

The eerie opener “Under Cover of Shadows” unfolds with ritualistic chanting and slowly building distortion, eventually leading to a groovy guitar riff and lots of vocal harmonies. It’s a good start to the album, and it makes clear the fact that Crescent Shield have a few new tricks up their collective sleeve. The next track, “The Grand Horizon,” maintains a workhorse tempo, but comes off as whiny due to off-kilter vocals. “Tides of Fire” builds momentum in a similar fashion as the first track, taking a turn somewhere in the middle to include a muscular (and much needed) bass rhythm and lonesome soloing. It’s good, yet melancholy and not quite what I had hoped to hear from a band with a pedigree such as Crescent Shield’s. “My Anger” starts off alright, but the chorus (a drawn-out chant of the track’s title) is almost too much to bear. I could go through the rest of the songs on the album in this fashion, but I don’t have the patience to do so.

Simply put: The Stars of Never Seen doesn’t have the same ballsy quality of The Last of My Kind. The tunes aren’t bad, they just don’t have the same kick that songs like “Slaves to the Metal Horde” or “Rise of the Red Crescent Moon” do. On the plus side, however, the album’s production and sound level have been taken up a notch or two, making it that much more listenable.

Crescent Shield is apparently branching off into new territory, which is a must for all bands. However, something has been lost along the three-year path between this record and the last. Maybe the path itself has been lost. Either way, I’ll wait for the next album before giving my final verdict on this group. There is a real chance for a return to form with the follow-up to The Stars of Never Seen.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jodi Van Walleghem
August 14th, 2009

Comments

  1. Commented by: slaveborn

    Woudl buy on sight due to the really great album art.


  2. Commented by: ceno

    Maybe I should check this band now. Never liked their debut for a reason. Very good review, Jodi.


  3. Commented by: Jodi

    Maybe I should have pointed out that while it’s a more progressive sound in general, it’s still pretty much trad metal in spirit…hope that doesn’t turn you off.


  4. Commented by: emperorjvl

    Fucking great album. Disagree with the review mostly, and lack of mention of the excellent “10,000 Midnights Ago” indicates to me this just a case of mismatched expectations vs actual delivery. I reccommend unreservedly.


  5. Commented by: Jodi

    I really did not enjoy this that much…yes, I was a little disappointed, but I actually found most of the album to be flat and lackluster. There were some good parts, but overall, it didn’t do much for me.


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