Released By: Rockshots Records
Release Date: June 15th, 2018
Genre: Heavy/Power Metal
Berti Barbera – Vocals, Percussion
Manu Savu – Guitars, Bass, Keyboards
Uffe Tillman – Drums
1. Crossing Eternity
2. Ghost of a Storm
3. Ghost in the Sky
4. High Above the Crown
5. Kingdom Come
6. Embrace Your Voices
7. Journey to the End of Dreams
8. Winter Poem
10. Dreams Fall
11. Angels Cry, Rainbows Hide
12. Spirit of the Forest
13. War of Gods
Some bands seem to appear completely out of nowhere, to release new music, when almost no one has even heard about them before. The latest such band to take me by surprise is Crossing Eternity, a Romanian/Swedish heavy/power metal band I had not heard anything about until recently, and yet here they are with their full length debut The Rising World. It turns out, they’re a three member band, two from Romania, one from Sweden, and they’ve all been involved with various projects for 25-30 years, but they recently decided to come together to start a new band, focused on a metal sound while bringing in some influences from other genres they’ve worked with in the past. I saw the video for their self-titled track before hearing the album, so that gave me a good idea of what to expect, but I was still very interested to hear whether or not the overall album could live up to the quality of that track. Sadly, I’d say that isn’t quite the case, though The Rising World is definitely a solid debut and is definitely well worth listening to for fans of either genre.
One thing I wasn’t expecting from the album is just how heavy it can get at points. I was expecting a melodic European power metal sound, with some symphonic elements thrown in, and while it is true that some symphonic elements are present at times, I actually hear equal amounts of European power metal and rawer, more aggressive US power metal throughout the album. One element of the latter I especially notice is a tendency for slower paced, darker passages that almost have a slight doom metal feel to them, with keyboards being used to add an extra layer of atmosphere. Even some of the speedier sections are quite aggressive, as well, and the guitar work is quite strong in general. There are some more melodic passages, for sure, and the vocal melodies are quite goof most of the time, but this is certainly a heavier album than I was expecting it to be. The performances are strong across the board, with the guitars in particular standing out, and production is a bit raw, but also quite good overall. Songwriting is a bit inconsistent, with a few excellent tracks, a bunch of solid tracks and a couple weaker tracks towards the end. I think the band could have probably cut out 2-3 tracks, to make this either a 10 or 11 track album, and that would have probably made it move by a bit quicker as well as help to make it a bit more consistently entertaining, though it’s still a solid album as is.
One of the obvious standout features of the band is vocalist Berti Barbera, who has a rather deep and powerful voice that manages to carry the melodies quite well, while also fitting in perfectly during the heavier sections. He gives a smooth performance for the most part, and excels during choruses. His higher register at times reminds me of Geoff Tate, while his lower register sounds very similar to Blaze Bayley at times, and while he sounds good throughout the album, I find his lower notes to generally be a bit stronger and more memorable, as he very rarely struggles a bit with his higher notes, while his lower notes are always perfect and sound effortless.
I say it all the time, but as good as everything else is, the most important aspect of an album is the songwriting, because if the actual songs aren’t good enough, it doesn’t really matter how good everything else is. Thankfully, The Rising World is mostly good in this area, aside from a couple weaker tracks in the second half. It gets off to a strong start with the opening self-titled track, a mid paced, moody track with some nice atmospheric keys in the background, giving way to some thick and heavy guitars, while allowing Berti to shine on vocals, especially during the melodic and catchy chorus, as well as a nice, softer vocal section towards the end, with some slightly bouncy keyboards. Next is “Ghost of a Storm”, a slightly faster paced and harder hitting track, where the symphonic elements are very noticeable. It has some moody verses again, before opening up in a big way with one of the catchiest and most enjoyable choruses on the album, while the solo section in the middle is very technical and quite impressive. The highlights keep coming with “Sand in the Sky”, a track which moves along nicely during its verses, before building up to another big chorus. It stays mid paced for most of its duration, but it picks up the pace in an awesome way near the end.
After a strong start, “High Above the Crown” is the first track to showcase the very dark, slower passages prominent throughout some of the tracks. It;s a slow but very hard hitting track, with a sinister sound to it during the verses, while even the chorus is darker and less catchy than normal, but still quite good, as it shows off Berti’s lower register nicely. Next is “Kingdom Come”, a slightly more upbeat track with some minor folk melodies thrown in to add some variety. It moves at a nice pace throughout and is one of the more melodic tracks here, while still having some heavy riffs and another very fun and catchy chorus. Definitely one of the better tracks on the album. Both vocal influences I mentioned can be noticed very clearly on “Embrace Your Voices”, another slower, moody track which is very vocal driven, with some heavy riffs used in quick bursts. During the verses, the vocals are very deep and thick, while during the chorus they’re higher and more animated, with both sides of Berti’s voice being showcased in full measure.
The pace picks up quite a bit for the next few tracks, starting with “Journey to the End of Dreams”, the first very speedy track on the album. It does have faint traces of classic power metal, except with some symphonic elements thrown in, as well as having some heavy riffs and a much darker tone than usual for the genre. The chorus is speedy, catchy and very fun, and it’s a great track overall. Next is “Winter Poem”, another track where the symphonic elements are very noticeable and are used quite effectively. It moves along at a nice pace during the verses, building up to a huge, speedy and epic chorus, and the instrumental section in the middle is quite interesting as well. One of the speedier songs on the album is “Haunted”, where the guitars have a slight thrash edge to them, and it’s a fast paced, hard hitting track with fun verses and a rapid, very enjoyable chorus.
Sadly, the album reaches its weakest point as the end draws near, with “Dreams Fall” entering in with some rather screechy guitars that hurt my ears a bit. The rest of the song is decent and moves at a nice pace, except that the chorus has some pretty weak vocal melodies and lyrics, and is easily the worst chorus on the album. However, the weakest overall song is next, that being “Angels Cry, Rainbows Hide”, a slower paced track with some nice folk melodies, and an excellent chorus. Sadly, the verses are a bit boring and just seem to drone on a bit, while the section just before the chorus has Berti attempt some high notes that seem just a bit out of reach and the result is rather painful. It’s his only misfire on the album, and thankfully he makes up for it during the chorus, but that one part is bad enough to ruin the whole song for me. The best track out of the last few is “Spirit of the Forest”, a mid paced track with some slightly upbeat and enjoyable verses, where keyboards are used nicely, while the chorus is very fun, melodic and catchy, and the solo section is quite good. Closing out the album is “War of Gods”, a slow paced track with some hard hitting riffs and strong vocals, though I find it lacks the really big hooks and vocal melodies most other tracks have, leaving it feeling a bit empty. It’s a decent track overall, but nothing special.
Overall, The Rising World is a solid debut from Crossing Eternity, with some surprisingly dark and heavy passages on many tracks, while being nicely varied with faster paced sections and slower sections, mixed in with the many mid paced tracks. It’s often a very moody album, yet still manages to have some great vocal melodies. Aside from a couple misfires towards the end, it’s a solid album overall, with many highlights, and is easily recommendable for fans of heavy metal and power metal with some slight symphonic touches here and there.
Written by: Travis Green