Hot off the Press

Crow 7 | Symphony of Souls

by Mark Allen
Staff Writer —

This German band has coined a catchy tag for their style of music: ProMeRo, which stands for Progressive Metal-Rock. It’s a memorable descriptor designed to announce their presence as a hybrid band that incorporate several different genres into their sound (besides progressive, metal, and rock, the group also mixes in modern rock, dabbles in death metal, and slips in some symphonic subtleties). Unfortunately, the acronymic tag is better than the actual music.

The press release claims Crow 7’s sound resembles “the good old rock of the ‘80s.” Yeah, well, McDonald’s can claim their Big Mac tastes like filet Mignon, but that don’t make it so. This album has as much in common with ‘80s rock as Paris Hilton has in common with a starving street urchin. What this album really sounds like is progressive rock slathered with the slick, beefy production so popular today peppered with some death metal growls to increase the intensity and up the modern metal appeal. Hard rock and power metal chops also come out to play once in awhile, but at its core this is modern prog with about as much interest in the ‘80s as the Pope has in exchanging his rosary beads for anal beads.

The musical mash-up Crow 7 attempted is laudable, even if it must be considered a failure. So many artists are content to cower in the comfort zone and crank out exactly the same thing as a thousand bands before them, so kudos to Crow 7 for having the guts to go against the grain and attempt something adventurous. The problem lies not with the innovative concept itself, but in the execution of that concept. While the members are all very skilled and the production is impeccable, there is an absence of energy and a hollow void where the hooks should be. With its tendency toward brooding seriousness, the progressive metal genre sometimes struggles to hold listener interest, and this is a struggle that Symphony of Souls fails to overcome due to a scant supply of interesting songs.

But “scant” does not mean “absent.” Sift through the endless supply of tracks. Seriously, fifteen tracks is overkill—and you will uncover a handful of decent songs. “Street of Slaver” and “The Guide” both sport solid enough chorus hooks to make them stand out, though “solid” should not be confused with “good.” Sure, these songs are more listenable than the other dullards on the album, but that is damning with faint praise. Joining them in the “solid” category is “Dirty Lies,” a rocking mid-tempo number that avoids slavish commercialism by adding a progressive touch to the chorus as well as some growled backing vocals. “Breed of the Crime” brings some appreciable metal credibility to its sonic output despite the symphonic keys and violins accentuating the back of the mix, while “The Final Ride” brings a burst of double-kick adrenalin. Still, even if all these songs are awarded a passing grade, there are still ten songs remaining, and few people will be satisfied with that kind of lopsided ratio.

Symphony of Souls strives to be all things to all people and ends up satisfying none. Credit to the band for daring to do something different, but the cool idea is crippled by flawed execution and a disjointed approach to too many broad genres. The prog practitioners won’t appreciate the death metal dynamics. The hard rock crowd will be bored by the long songs and lack of catchy hooks. The heavy metal component doesn’t make an appearance often enough to satisfy the headbangers and the growled vocals do not offer enough compensation. And the symphonic elements are too much of an afterthought to impress that demographic. The band may describe themselves as ProMeRo, but a better phrase would be “jack of all trades, master of none.”

Genre: Progressive, Modern, Melodic, Rock, Metal

Corbin Eved (vocals, guitar)
Seth Aban (guitar)
Gideon Vanth (bass)
Janus Mantus (drums)

Track Listing
1. Symphony of Souls
2. Street of Slaver
3. Shiva Sigh
4. The Guide
5. Kingdom of Calm
6. Spawn of Evil
7. Dirty Lies
8. Virtual Reality
9. Great Spirit
10. Winter Breeze
11. Breed of Crime
12. Ocean of Fire
13. Winner of the Quest
14. The Final Ride
15. Where Do We Go Now

Label: SAOL


Hardrock Haven rating: 6/10