Review: Krossfire – Shades Of Darkness

Krossfire is a band formed in Bulgaria in 2001. In these 15 years of their existence they have released another album in 2011 called Learning to Fly.

Their style can be categorized as power metal mixed with a healthy dose of symphonic and some progressive. At times they sound like a cross between Rhapsody of Fire and Myrath, quite unusual.

After a fairly impressive intro the album starts with The Last Ride and I was a little turned off by the production in the vocals along with somewhat unusual singing. Dimo Petkov’s vocals sound a bit constrained and this is more than obvious on higher notes like on Destiny’s Calling. It’s a shame actually cause his ideas are quite cool. However mid to lower range he is sounding quite good and convincing like on Fall From Grace but then high notes make their appearance again leaving much to be desired.

Guitarist Georgi Kushev has an impressive sound through the album. His riffs are strong and powerful, it’s a blessing they don’t follow the usual power/symphonic route. Some very interesting guitar lead work can be found on Like A Shadow where his solo has a very personal sound. But in my opinion keyboards is the instrument elevating Krossfire. Peter Boshnakov’s inspired playing enriches Krossfire’s sound. Classical playing at times like on The Last Ride to more eastern flavored ideas like on King Will Come. It’s a rare thing of seeing a keyboards stepping up in the spotlight usually dominated by guitars and even more unusual when this is done successfully without reducing the heaviness of the music.

The rhythm section does the job with adequacy by keeping a strictly supportive approach to the songs and avoiding any virtuoso attempts.

By reaching song Annabelle Krossfire demonstrate some King Diamond influences and at times keys remind me of Cradle of Filth’s work. I dare to say that on that particular song long running progressive band Sorrowful Winds (from Greece) also came to mind.

Production/mixing has created an impressive sound for guitars and has masterfully positioned the keyboards but unfortunately left drums in the background and bass is even further pushed behind. While the final result is result strong and clear at times I caught myself getting a little tired of the guitar being so upfront in the mix. But the real problem is the how vocals are mixed since they’re placed in the middle slightly lower than guitars & keyboards.

Shades of Darkness isn’t a bad album. There are plenty of interesting moments but also a lot to be desired to. I think that Krossfire is still developing their songwriting style and the results will be more obvious on next release because they definitely have plenty of good ideas that could be developed more.

Till then Shades of Darkness is an album that will appeal to hardcore fans of the genre constantly looking for new blood.

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