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Krossfire - "Learning to Fly" (CD)

Krossfire - "Learning to Fly" CD cover image

"Learning to Fly" track listing:

1. Visions (Intro) (2:52)
2. War Machine (6:02)
3. How Can There Be (4:25)
4. Icaria (Intro) (2:06)
5. Learning To Fly (5:38)
6. Touch Of Destiny (6:03)
7. False Reality (5:36)
8. Angels Cry (5:33)
9. Cold Winds (4:23)
10. The One (5:11)

Reviewed by on January 24, 2012

"What we have here is a rarity: a debut release that shows as much maturity as from a band which has been at it for four or five releases."

Bulgaria is not known as a hot bed of metal, much less a hot bed for power/progressive metal. Notable acts include the traditional metal band Rampart and power metal band Project Arcadia. Krossfire is a pure power/progressive band which has been a cohesive unit since 2008. The debut LP “Learning to Fly,” having been self-released in May 2011, now sees a worldwide release through Pure Steel Records. Krossfire offers a technically proficient style reminiscent of latter Symphony X with a strong Dragonland feel throughout. The album delivers highly skilled guitar work of Gerogi Kushev, spectacular albeit overly demonstrative, keyboard work from Peter Boshnakov, and topped off with the soaring vocals of Dimo Petkov.

“Learning to Fly” may be apropos for a normal debut, but from the very first listen Krossfire has clearly left the nest long ago. What we have here is a rarity: a debut release that shows as much maturity as from a band which has been at it for four or five releases. Take tracks like “False Reality,” “Cold Winds,” “Learning To Fly,” and “Warmachine” would fair very well against more established power/progressive acts. There is an overall epic feel, not in a cinematic Rhapsody style, but a neo-classical meets Dragonland style.

The only small drawback of the album lies with a portion of the sound. The album is crisp, clear, and clean, but at times the keyboards are way more demonstrative and tend to swallow up the song rather than give way to Kushev’s guitar work. Make no mistake, the keyboards drive the mood of this album and add a whole dimension to the sound, but there are times where they are way too up front in the mix rather than encircling behind and binding the rest of music together (examples: the beginning of “Angels Cry” and just as the guitar work starts on “Learning To Fly”). In addition, the snare drum sound is a bit “coffee can” like upon the first listen, but on each successive listen it becomes less and less impressionable.

Overall, Krossfire is highly impressive and looks to make a quick strike on the power/progressive scene. The band has all the tools necessary to do so and, with a slight tweak in the mix, is a hair away from hitting the upper echelon of the genre. It is a rare sight indeed for a band to be that close on its debut album!

Highs: Highly skilled power/progressive debut.

Lows: Needs to tone the keys down in the mix.

Bottom line: Krossfire leaves the nest and has the power/progressive genre in its sights!

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

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)