When a band starts its debut LP with an impressively one minute long epic instrumental intro of whispered words over ambient sounds (“Beyond The Gates…”) either is way too ambitious and probably its members don’t know the word fear or is just a bunch of fools. Of course if the rest album sucks this might turn into a disaster.
Well Athenian (Greece) band Crush knew that its material could stand next to big names’ releases of the time and mostly could stand proud and tall in the ultimate test; the test of Time. Speaking of Time as you all know is also the name of Mercyful Fates’ fourth studio album and second one after their glorious reunion in 1993. Crush’s debut came several months earlier, but it is impossible not to bring it in mind. It’s not only the chorus and closing part of Crush song “The Gloriest Night” that reminds me of Mercyful Fates’ song “My Demon” and the other way around, but also the guitar tone that is quite similar to early Mercyful Fate’s works (in the veins of “Melissa” and “Don’t Break The Oath”) and the strange vocal lines close to King Diamond’s too. Ok, Panagiotis Konstantinidis hasn’t so high pitched vocals or using so much falsetto, but their ways are similar enough. The self-financed lo-fi production doesn’t help for the comparison as “Kingdom of the Kings” is like being recorded in early 80’s so it sounded already old school even from its first months of appearance. Still this was exactly their strong card as the raw production and the characteristic accent of the Greek singer which sounds exotic to rest of the world (that also used face paint) gave extra cult vibe to their music. The eight songs are just brilliant. The meaty guitars are excellent. A tremendous through simplicity work from Pantelis Rodostoglou. Sometimes he is too simple using the overused galloping riffs, yet his soloing is dazzling. The Maidenisque melodies of course are here and there scattered in whole album in its entirety. The rhythm section featuring Tasos Vretakis in bass and Kostas Vogiatzogloy in drums is rock solid and gives a decent performance.
Musically speaking you will hear influences from Omen, early Manowar, Heavy Load, Aria, Cirith Ungol and Manilla Road as well. There are many US Power elements and the song structure follows a 80’s logic and motive in a riff couple chorus couple chorus solo chorus base, without surprises or many tempo changes.
This album is totally awesome. It’s a hidden treasure, a well-kept secret of obscure Heavy Metal. The artwork cover is 100% childish, so as you can imagine all you that dig it, 1000% cult!
Truth be told besides the die-hards that were there and loved it (to the maximum) even Greek fans in their majority have missed it and it was Fenriz of Darkthrone that brought it to the surface, when he had written an article/ review in Rock Hard and mentioned it in an interview a couple of years ago in Greek Metal Hammer magazine and people started to wonder who are these crazy Greeks named Crush.
It doesn’t matter what brought to or how you got into Crush and their debut gem. It’s a must buy for fans of traditional underground Heavy Metal born in the cauldron and under the Earth’s surface straight from the catacombs. Eternal hymns or pure Metal such as “March of the Deads” , “The Gloriest Night” , “Princess of Hell”, Flag of Hate”, “Kingdom Of The Kings”, “Run To The Highway” , “Unborn” , ”Ballad Of Sorrow” can only be found here. Trust me…
You can search for the cd version that was cut in 2009 by Sirens Records.