|Review: Keen of the Crow - Hyborea|
Label: Grau Records
Year released: 2007
Review online: July 19, 2007
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Rated 3.7/5 (74%) (10 Votes)
Keen of the Crow is the band put together by Rhett and Justin after the demise of Morgion – one of my favorite Doom/Death bands ever, so I admit I had high expectations for this. In true Morgion style, this band has already broken up, or may be just 'on hold', so we might never get another recording from them. Fortunately Hyborea is a marvelous slab of Doomy killing, not to be missed by fans.
If you were hoping for more moody Doom/Death magic from the band that brought you albums like Solinari, then you've come to the right place. Hyborea is almost an hour of pummeling melodic riffs interspersed with more gloomy atmospheric interludes and instrumental pieces. This is not as sedate and atmospheric as the later Morgion albums, but the same melodic twists to the riffery are in evidence – the same clean-sung bits, the same kinds of inventively hooky Doom riffs. Overall, Keen of the Crow are heavier and more aggressive than Morgion were, with a more conventional approach. Vocalist Dan Ochoa has a glass-gargling style that is not as guttural as you might expect, but he lays it down with plenty of power and venom. The proper songs here – aside from a few short interlude bits – are meaty slabs of power between six and nine minutes long, all of them with a lot of variety. Lyrics are pretty much a rehashing of the plot of Conan the Barbarian, but it's very well-done for that.
Keen of the Crow strike out in some new directions, and overall this is a feast for fans of Morgion or more epic breeds of Doom/Death. Dirge-like riffs over the rawthroated howls of Ochoa interspersed with piano bits and acoustic breaks and clean singing make this an album that never gets boring in the slightest. One of the best of the year.
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