Crimson Shadows
Kings Among Men

I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again, Canada has a killer, underrated folk viking metal scene; Battlesoul, Vesperia , ValknachtWill of the Ancients, Valfreya, TrollwarNordheim, Battlesoul, and of course Blackguard are all fine acts to rival their Finnish peers. Well, poised to make a move to the top of the scene is Toronto’s Crimson Shadows and their  Napalm Records debut. And while the band’s 2001 debut, Glory of the Battlefield was decent, the addition of Vesperia/Bolero vocalist Morgan Rider, has the band poised to jump to the top of that group.

Taking the bouncy, speedy, power metal shreddage that comes close to Dragonforce or Children of Bodom adding a synth drenched, folk viking backbone and Rider’s deep growls and rasps, makes for an epic mix that rivals Ensiferum or Turisas and country mates Blackguard but with even more accessibility and catchiness. Of course, that might turn some folks off, especially the mention of Dragonforce, but there’s no denying this is some fun stuff.

I defy you not to get caught up in the likes of “A Gathering of Kings” or ‘Maidens Call” and end up like the Asian guy in this State Farm commercial from a few years ago, and wailing along in your car. Guitarists Ryan Hofing and Greg Rounding (who adds some well done soaring clean vocals) deliver oodles and oodles of solos and galloping melodies that will simply get you amped like “Rise to Power” and “Heroes among Us” or “Braving the Storm”. And if you need a bit of respite,  from the almost continual double bass salvo, try the superb  closer “Moonlite skies and Bloody Tides” which adds a little more pacing towards the end of the the almost draining 10 minute gallop.

Yeah, it’s super cheesy and some of the tracks are a bit too similar (latter tracks “Freedom And Salvation” and “Dawn of Vengeance” being a particularly guilty parties) but never quite as over indulgent as Dragonforce, and the gruffer vocals keep things respectably heavy. And as a result Crimson Shadows look poised to become Canada’s premier folk metal act and take the scene by storm.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
January 15th, 2015

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