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Crescent Shield

The Last of My Kind

Review by Gary Hill

The music on this album is very much old school metal. It’s got a raw sort of quality to it – not feeling as polished as bands like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden (or even Motorhead). Still, there are musical bits that lean in the direction of those first two groups. It’s a strong disc with enough variety to keep it interesting.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Above Mere Mortals
They waste no time screaming out into serious hard rocking metal. This really screams with a sound that seems to merge NWOBHM sounds with epic metal. I really dig the guitar solo.
Slaves To The Metal Horde
In some ways this is more melodic. That said, it’s no less frantic and no less ferocious. It just seems to have more pure melody worked into its metal structure.
Rise Of The Red Crescent Moon
This starts in a manner that’s not unlike the earlier cuts, but the verse is much more stripped down. The cut has an anthemic quality to it and reminds me a bit of a more metal Rainbow. There are still some hints of Iron Maiden in it, though. The bridge on this is powerful with multiple layers of vocals and some killer riffing.
Burn With Life
Portions of this cut have an almost progressive rock element to them, but this is pure metal. The progression and arrangement are just a bit more complex and involved than the tracks we’ve heard to this point. As strong as the songs leading to this one were, this is the most effective piece we’ve heard so far. There is some killer Priest-like guitar work on this.
The Last Of My Kind
In a major change acoustic guitar starts things off here, feeling very much like something Steve Howe might do. They continue by adding more layers to this – but still keeping it rather balladic. Before the vocals enter, though, it fires out into more screaming metal territory. This is a slower, but no less intent cut and reminds me a bit of a pure metal take on something from early Uriah Heep. It drops back mid-track for a mellower movement. It fires back out and as the instrumental section screams out we get some purely incendiary guitar soloing. This is the longest track on show (a little less than seven and a half minutes). It’s also the most complex and involved. It works through a number of changes and eventually goes back to the mellower motif to end.
North For The Winter
The musical diversity of the last cut carries through here. This one has both balladic and metallic sections and there’s even some piano on the outro. It’s another strong cut on a disc that is full of them.
The Path Once Chosen
More pure metal, this has an almost catchy feeling to parts of it. It’s the most polished sounding piece here and includes one of the coolest vocal arrangements.
The Great Devoid
Dramatic and powerful, this is another that makes me think of Iron Maiden quite a bit. It’s another screamer and is more pure metal than a couple of the tracks here.
Unfinished Ashes
The opening section of this – and the first half, is quite similar to the rest of the album. There’s a drop back to an almost folk oriented sound, though. The vocal arrangement there is fairly complex and it lends an intriguing change to the album. They take it back out to the main motif from there.
Await The Champion
More metallic power, this one has one of the tastier riffs of the set. It’s also one with a more accessible chorus. It’s a strong track. There’s really nothing weak here, but this might be the highlight of the set. That says a lot.
The Passing
They begin this acapella with a very old world style of vocal. Metal joins at first as accents at the end of the vocal lines. As the track pauses it feels that it might be ready to launch into pure metal. Instead acoustic guitar joins and serves as the backdrop for the next vocals. At the end of that vocal section, though, they scream out into another metal stomper. There’s a killer instrumental section later that’s quite complex. After that we get more acapella vocals that take it to the return of the metal song proper. This works to an intense crescendo to end the disc.
 
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