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Crescent Shield - The Last of My Kind - 2007 - Cruz Del Sur Music

Track Listing
1. Above Mere Mortals
2. Slaves To the Metal Horde
3. Rise of the Red Crescent Moon
4. Burn With Life
5. The Last of My Kind
6. North for the Winter
7. The Path Once Chosen
8. The Great Devoid
9. Unfinished Ashes
10. Await the Champion
11. The Passing
With bands like Slough Feg, Hammers of Misfortune, Antiquus, Pharaoh, and now Crescent Shield, it appears as though North America has a serious heavy metal revival on its hands. While many metal subgenres have enjoyed phases of renewed popularity over this past decade, traditional metal predominantly remained a thing of the past. The only bands that were headlining the scene tended to be those making comebacks and capitalizing on nostalgia as often as legitimate talent. And, whenever a new band came up claiming to play ‘old school’, they typically were referring to old school thrash or doom, leaving the middle ground (and, coincidentally, middling tempos) behind. However, since 2003 or so, the aforementioned bands and others like them have been reinvigorating the old guard. This makes the title of Crescent Shield’s ‘The Last of My Kind’ an unintentional misnomer, but this debut is otherwise rather promising.

After the slightly clunky ‘Above Mere Mortals’ the album begins to settle in and assert itself. The confidence level on ‘The Last of My Kind’ and its composition continuity clearly have benefited from the members’ prior experience. Although both are relatively unknown, Michael Grant’s Onward and Dan DeLucie’s Destiny’s End helped develop each artist’s talents and, in their disbandment, help bring about Crescent Shield, which appears to be their most ambitious effort yet.

However, this experience unfortunately does not prevent Grant from being the primary shortcoming of Crescent Shield. His vocal range, timbre, and lyrics (“…metal will never die…”) are highly appropriate for traditional heavy metal, but something about his style in Crescent Shield simply sounds uncomfortable, particularly when compared to his previous work. Generally a good vocalist for singalongs, Grant’s vocal lines on this album are instead memorable mostly for their repetitiveness rather than inherent quality. For the most egregious example of this, see ‘Rise of the Red Crescent Moon’, where an otherwise decent song falls victim to overzealous paste-ins of the chorus harmony. Overall, it sounds as though Grant has tried to take on a more epic, grandiose character for Crescent Shield, but his range and phrasing both become very limited as a result. A couple songs do break out of the formula, though, such as ‘Burn with Life’ or ‘The Path Once Chosen’, both of which happen to be some of the album’s fastest and shortest tracks.

It would also be nice to hear the musicians in the band push themselves a little more. Although the album has tight execution and a few standout tracks, it rarely feel as though the musicians are stretching out of their comfort zone. DeLucie’s guitarwork especially draws this symptom out into the open as he can volley from rote rehearsal to ripping excitement and back again within a single solo’s duration.

In some cases, though, Crescent Shield manage to satisfy both their own ambitions and the listener. The album’s title track, also its epic, shows in places the band that they are capable of becoming: weighty, a little rough, faintly melancholic—not unlike Jag Panzer, in fact. If on their next album Crescent Shield can manage to find the balance between their up-tempo jaunts and stately centerpieces, their second effort is sure to find even greater success.


Rating: 3


--Etiam
Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



ALL FULL REVIEWS FOR: CRESCENT SHIELD
CD
TITLE BAND
DOR
REVIEWER DATE
The Last of My KindCrescent Shield
2007
Etiam9/14/2007
The Stars of Never SeenCrescent Shield
2009
Raising Iron6/16/2009


ALL SUMMARY REVIEWS FOR: CRESCENT SHIELD

No Summary reviews currently exist for them.


ALL INTERVIEWS FOR: CRESCENT SHIELD
INTERVIEW BAND INTERVIEWER DATE


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