Review: Crohm – Failure in the System

The Italian band Crohm was formed in 1985 by guitarist Claudio Zac Zanchetta, vocalist/bass player Riccardo Taraglio and vocalist Sergio Fiorani. Three years later Crohm already quit. During that period they only recorded two songs, Quake and A Long Day Begun, both for an album, titled AO002. In 2014, 26 years after Crohm stopped, the band reunited. Now, more recordings followed, starting with their debut full-length, titled Legend and Prophecy, in 2015. Two years later it was succeeded by Humanity. Humanity was the first Crohm album on which their current drummer, Fabio Cannatá, who joined the band in 2015, could be heard. On February the 10th, three years after Humanity, Crohm released their third full-length album, titled Failure in the System.

First of all: this album certainly has its nice moments, but my main impression of it isn’t that positive.

That mainly has to do with Sergio Fiorani’s lead vocals. The sound of his voice isn’t exactly to my liking, with the exception of his lower vocals. Unfortunately these aren’t that much included on this album, but a few examples of those can be heard in the calmer Deep Blue, the heavier cover of The Beatles’ Eleanor Rigby, which by the way doesn’t include a mention of it being a cover, Until You Disappear and Ride The Storm (I Am Crohm). In a few songs, which leave a bit more positive impression on me due to this, he shows some more variation and depth in his vocals. Those songs are What Is Behind, Eleanor Rigby and the last two songs of this album, the 2019 versions of Legend and Prophecy and Mountains – Heavy Folk Version, with those last two songs containing this the most. Those last two songs are also both featuring composer/harpist Vincenzo Zitello, which definitely is a nice addition.

The fact that my main impression of the lead vocals isn’t that positive isn’t only because of the sound of his voice. It also is because of the fact that he regularly sustains his notes quite long on quite a lot of moments, such as can clearly be heard in Deep Blue and The Man Without Voice. In addition to that these lead vocals are also quite predominant in the mix, which makes that these will attract your attention even more, compared to the other aspects of Crohm’s music. At some moments, such as in the opening title track, Castles of Sand and My Brother, it also seems that the volume of the instruments is also a bit lowered during the vocal parts. And finally, Sergio’s accent can be heard quite clearly through his English vocals.

Like I said this album certainly also has his nice moments, of which I already mentioned the lower vocals, the songs in which Sergio’s vocals include a bit more variation and depth and the nice addition of Vincenzo Zitello in the last two songs, which also seem to be better mixed compared to the rest of the songs. In addition to that we’ll also hear a nicely humming bass, such as can be heard very clearly in Restart, Deep Blue, Until You Disappear and The Man Without Voice, quite pounding drums, which come with such intensity they make it sound like you’re standing right next to them, such as can be heard in the title track, Castles of Sand and What Is Behind, nice sounding guitars, interchanging between a bit more roaring sound, such as in Restart and Legend and Prophecy, a bit more heavy, crunchy sound, such as in Castles of Sand and What Is Behind and a bit more echoing sound, such as in Deep Blue and The Man Without Voice. In addition to that almost every song on this album also includes a nicely roaring guitar solo.

All aforementioned, to me not that positive, and sometimes distracting aspects of the lead vocals, or related to those, makes this album quite difficult to keep your attention to. I even didn’t include the album’s length, Failure in the System‘s length is one hour and five minutes, with that yet. Of course such an album length isn’t a problem in itself, as long as you can keep your attention to it. However, to me that already wasn’t the case with this album and that album length isn’t making that easier. Failure in the System surely has its nice moments, but unfortunately the less positive aspects are predominant to me.

However, Crohm’s Failure in the System might not leave a very positive impression on me, but it of course might leave a different impression on you!

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