Cremisi. Cremisi.. Cremisi… No, I can try all I want, dig in every dark corner of my mind, it doesn’t ring a bell other than it being the Italian word for crimson, meaning this is a completely new band to me. Not that it’s exactly a huge shock I have never heard of this band before, since it has only been around since September 2016, having released only an EP since then. Apparently there is really nothing else of interest to report about band or achievements, considering their rather brief bio, consisting of just eight lines of text, three of which are filled with their line-up. Speaking of which, their line-up is formed by Davide Tomazzoni for the vocals and backing vocals, Francesco Messina on bass guitar, Federico Palmucci on acoustic, electric guitars and orchestral programming and Rolando Ferro on the drums. All there is left to tell is that they supposedly play symphonic, epic metal with Italian history as their lyrical concept. It’s actually pretty nice for a change having to judge a release without having extended foreknowledge which, either consciously or unconsciously, will always color your perception to some extent. So here goes, pretty much completely unprejudiced: Dawn of a New Era, the maiden full-length release of Cremisi.
Opener Dark Winds is in fact a two-minute intro with a folky undertone that melts into the actual album opener The Black Death. Right off the bat it’s clear that the term symphonic is spot on. The harpsichordish arrangements seem to have been drawn from the manual of how to write symphonic metal, which by the way in no way means they’re not original or boring, and the overall feel of the song is energetic, almost power metal like. The vocals are clean and a tad bombastic, adding to the symphonic impression this song leaves behind. Admittedly I needed a bit of time to get used to the vocals at times, they demand a little too much attention due to their somewhat distinct timbre. From there on this release is a journey past varied slices of metal and rock music, with them all being formed in a loose symphonic template as the common denominator. Along with the aforementioned power metal and folk several types of rock also left a definite mark on the music. This combined sets the boundaries within which Cremisi moves pretty wide, which gives them room to experiment, but which also is the weakness of this release.
The compositions and song structures show some definite potential, but it is as if the guys try too hard to prove they are capable of covering all possible bases in the self-set boundaries of the symphonic metal genre. Some riffs are one-time-only and some shards of music only last a few seconds, never to return again, which comes at the expense of coherence. Don’t get me wrong, it is far from full-blown chaos, but it’s not always easy to stay focused on the overall tunes due to the short-lived intermezzos, switches and whatever else happens during a song. Despite this there’s plenty to enjoy. The title track that initially sounds like it came from an old school Nintendo medieval RPG but truly unfolds in the second half, the epic Confession, the guitar work in In the Name of the Lord, the somewhat subdued The Hanged Man, there’s at least a few gems, be it musical or composition-wise, to be found in every single song.
So in conclusion it’s safe to say Dawn of a New Era is an album that definitely has its moments, quite a few actually, but nevertheless gives me the feeling the guys from Cremisi push themselves a bit too much rather than allow themselves to grow, develop, mature, whatever you call it. I honestly believe that they, if they would just give themselves the time and space to grow naturally rather than forced, might very well develop into a force to be reckoned with within the genre of symphonic metal, thereby proving the title of this release to be a true prophecy. If anything they at least have the potential to make it happen. Not there just yet, but getting close and still worthy of your time.