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Crysknife - "Mythos" (CD)

Crysknife - "Mythos" CD cover image

"Mythos" track listing:

1. Reanimate
2. Unraveling
3. Fill the Need
4. Concede
5. Sun Gate
6. Of Our Own Making
7. Spare Change
8. Cold Embrace
9. Just Fine
10. All I Can See

Reviewed by on November 10, 2009

"'Spare Change' has a funk rock edge, while 'Sun Gate' has a stoner rock feel, and 'Just Fine' has a vibe that's somewhere between Bob Marley and Deep Purple, and it all works spectacularly well."

With "Mythos," Crysknife has created one of the finest showcases for keyboards in hard rock and metal since Jon Lord's Deep Purple heyday in the 1970s. Literally a band of brothers, the team of Tom and Steve Campitelli have created an album that seamlessly blends guitars, keyboards, hooks and grooves into one of the most senses satisfying releases I've heard in a long time.

It'd be difficult to pigeonhole Crysknife into a specific genre. The band cites influences ranging from Helmet and Deep Purple to Clutch and James Brown, and you can hear all those influences on the album. There were occasional moments when the disc reminded me of Wolfmother in terms of its psychedelic classic metal sound.

The disc opens with "Reanimate," featuring Thomas Campitelli's bass and guitar work right out of the gate. It's a classic Zeppelin style groove right up until Stephen Campitelli's Jon Lord style organ playing cuts in. I've never been a fan of synthed-up keyboard sounds meant to emulate brass and strings, and Stephen avoids those sounds going for the much more earthy organ and piano sounds through most of the album. Also, the solo breaks on this one are spectacular, with Tom Campitelli blasting out a bluesy guitar solo that works spectacularly well.

"Unraveling," my favorite tune on the album, begins with a funky yet ominous piano line that turns heavy once the guitar joins in. I particularly like the way the keyboards play subtly during the verses, allowing the guitars and vocals to have some space, and then come hammering back during the chorus.

Stephen's classical piano training comes in handy for the beautiful opening to "Fill the Need," complemented by Tom's acoustic guitar. I was astonished at how well the piano fit with the full-out metal riff that follows. I loved how the piano was given priority during the verses, and Stephen's solo breaks are spectacular in this one, particularly in the song's last minute.

The brothers also handle all of the vocals. A note in the CD booklet tells us "No pitch correction software of any kind was used in the production of this album. Any singing in tune is purely accidental." If that's the case, the vocal harmonies on "Of Our Own Making" qualify as one of the happiest accidents ever.

I can't stress enough the amount of musical variety on this disc. "Spare Change" has a funk rock edge, while "Sun Gate" has a stoner rock feel, and "Just Fine" has a vibe that's somewhere between Bob Marley and Deep Purple, and it all works spectacularly well. The one time the album falls down a bit is on its "most metal" track, the thrashy "Concede." The song just doesn't go anywhere and it feels a bit like a throwaway.

Session drummer Phil Robertson handles his duties well, knowing exactly when to stay out of the way of delicate keyboards and guitar — and when to bring the thunder. Though he's not an "official" band member, he shows some excellent chemistry with the brothers. Also, it's worth noting that the production on this disc is superb, with each instrument — including the vocals — mixed perfectly.

Crysknife (named for a weapon in Frank Herbert's "Dune" books) have cut a near perfect album in "Mythos." Lovers of melodic metal and classic rock sounds (and I mean "classic" in both senses of the word) will find much to love here.

Highs: The gorgeous "Fill the Need," "Unraveling," and "Of Our Own Making."

Lows: The thrashy "Concede."

Bottom line: A spectacular melodic metal album that blends a variety of classic sounds.

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 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)