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Cronian - "Erathems" (CD)

Cronian - "Erathems" CD cover image

"Erathems" track listing:

1. Cold Wave Eruption
2. Ecocracy
3. Drifting Station
4. Moments And Monuments
5. Blackwater Horizon
6. Core Resiliency
7. Chemical Dawn
8. End(Durance) Part III
9. Full Moon Inferno (Bonus Track)

Reviewed by on November 13, 2013

"The long and the short of it is that if you dig Borknagar, Cronian’s latest album is one to pick up right away. Just don’t expect something significantly different in sound to come along with the name change."

A side project between Øystein G.Brun and Vintersorg, Cronian sees the two musicians covering familiar territory. They take the basic ideas from Borknagar – a band both are already card carrying members of – and Vintersorg’s solo material and throw in some slight curveballs every now and again to keep things interesting. As with either of their main bands, the Norwegian virtuosos combine black metal, symphonic elements, and a dash of prog on new album “Erathems.”

There’s something that needs to be gotten out of the way right off the bat: “Erathems” is essentially a Borknagar album. The “Empiricism” era shines through very brightly on this album, but there are plenty of flourishes that clearly come from latest album, “Urd.” This probably shouldn’t be surprising considering where the duo’s musical background lies, but it’s worth mentioning. One on the one hand this is a boon for fans, as they’re getting a new album only a year after “Urd,” but on the other it seems strange for the two primary members of Borknagar to release a separate side project that sounds almost exactly like Borknagar.

The key word there of course is “almost.” There are a few important ways in which Cronian distinguishes itself from its parent band. The album as a whole uses backing sounds very effectively. The minor plucked strings on “Cold Wave Eruption” for example add a big effect for such a little sound. On a similar note, “Chemical Dawn” changes up its atmosphere quite a bit just by adding in bubbling and boiling sound effects.

These nine tracks also tend to have a more expansive, wider reaching sound than newer Borknagar, and that makes sense, as Øystein himself mentioned in an interview that “Borknagar revolves around traditional riffs and organic arrangements, while Cronian starts out on huge visionary soundscapes, which we peel down to a cold, sharp and hard hitting expression.” Some of the changes that come with that shift in focus include the Tyr-style track “Moments and Monuments,” and the side trek of “Endurance Part III,” which takes the idea of a symphonic interlude and fleshes it out into a full track.

The long and the short of it is that if you dig Borknagar, Cronian’s latest album is one to pick up right away. Just don’t expect something significantly different in sound to come along with the name change.

Highs: Everything that makes Borknagar or Vintesorg great can be found here.

Lows: See the highs - this album is overly close in style to the musicians other bands.

Bottom line: Øystein Brun and Vintersorg collaborate for a distinctly Borknagar-ish album that tries out some interesting new ideas.

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)