First things first. I just need to get something out of the way here. CRONIAN is the “project” of Mr. Vintersorg and Øystein G. Brun, both of BORKNAGAR (the other band of Mr. V seems obvious), “Enterprise” being their second enterprise. The info sheet states that both wanted to realize ideas together which were not suitable for their main bands. Well, the problem is that Mr. Vintersorg is one of the best recognizable vocalists ever due to his remarkable and unmistakeable voice, and Øystein has a way of writing melodies which stand so far out amongst others you just KNOW it’s him. It may dawn on thee, dear reader, where I am getting at – It already has been hard to distinguish between VINTERSORG and BORKNAGAR since Mr. V joined the all-star-band, and now we have CRONIAN… Yet another band which sounds exactly like the two aforementioned!
Well, nearly. The trademarks are all there, and I can still not hear anything that would have justified CRONIAN rather than a new VINTERSORG or BORKNAGAR album, but after some rotations of the album I must say that it does not really matter to me anymore and I will see CRONIAN as another good, no wait, great album by the fertile Vintersorg / Brun alliance. The basis is epic and versatile melodic metal with the love for details that add the certain something, and I have not expected less from the dynamic duo. And to be fair, there are slight differences and progresses which we have not heard before from them, thus I will try to point what makes CRONIAN unique.
First, one notes that “Enterprise” is much more epic than VINTERSORG & BORKNAGAR and that obvious contrasts between the Metal and the calm parts are more striking and defined, in a well felicitous way. The use of brass instruments (providing the epic atmosphere) is omnipresent in a never obtruding way, and some really mystic and cold ambient instrumental parts like at the end of “Arcades” add to the diversity of the album. Brun is stated as responsible for the programmed drums, which I must say are among the best and realistic programmed drums I have ever heard; the man has great ideas in this department which makes “Enterprise” fun to listen to, very dynamic. And the melodies and riffs are on a constantly high and qualitative level, with many interesting instrumentations (these are most probably all synths but who cares if it’s good). There is a certain level of a magical and other-worldly mood; weird and dreamlike melodies with an overall positive aura, sometimes (not unlike the last VINTERSORG album, btw) reminiscencing the Austrian weirdos of GOLDEN DAWN with their interludes, an example being “Deportation”.
If you are wondering why you should buy CRONIAN when there is also VINTERSORG & BORKNAGAR, which indeed is a justified question, there is only one possible answer if you are a fan of these two bands: Because it still is a damn good album. Yeah, so maybe the three bands are completely exchangeable. Who cares if the product is great in the end? You are being served an opulent meal here, so to all connoisseurs out there: I declare the buffet opened.
01 – Diamond Skies