Released: 2004, Independent
Rising up from the burgeoning Eastern Massachusetts scene which has spawned such bands as Beyond the Embrace, New Bedford’s Kreagen bucks the current trends of fashion metal and math-core in favor of an unpolished and unapologetic fistful of metal. UNSPOKEN HISTORY is a rough ‘n ready record, with lots of old school charm for the denim and leather faithful.
With a vibe that echoes the classic NWOBHM sounds of early Iron Maiden, Judas Priest (circa SAD WINGS OF DESTINY), and Diamond Head, as well as a healthy dose of some good ‘ol 80s hard rock (Scorpions, Sykes-era Whitesnake), Kreagen obviously have their hearts and souls in this material, as is evident in the sheer enthusiasm and aplomb with which they deliver each song.
This is also evident within front man Justin St. Pierre’s standout voice. In my opinion the focal point of the band’s sound, St. Pierre possesses a great sense of melody, harmony, and charisma, with a welcoming and warm delivery. His guitar skills are also on point, trading off leads with fellow axe man Idalino Costa.
For a debut release, there is a wealth of material here, which brings me to a few of my gripes. First, at over an hour, UNSPOKEN HISTORY is a bit too long. The song structures, while good, tend to last a little more than they need to. Also, the album opens up with two mid paced, lengthy pieces in a row, “Timeless Fate“ and “London“. Both are fine tunes, but due to their rather epic nature, no real momentum ever gets built until the middle of the record, where up tempo rockers like my personal favorite “Permanent Scar” get the fist banging (although I could have dealt without the growled backing vocals, as they were unnecessary, and a bit cheesy). If they were to space out their faster songs amidst the longer ones, or cut some out altogether (save some for an ep, perhaps?) I think UNSPOKEN HISTORY would flow a lot better.
As I said, it is within the middle of this record to the end where things really pick up, such as in “Tomb”, another standout track with really cool vocal harmonies in the chorus, and a verse that brings back fond memories of Maiden’s “Wrathchild”. Bassist Jack St. Pierre holds down the low end admirably, serving as the anchor for many of the band’ songs, including this one, as well as “Hurt for the Cry/Disbelief”.
The production is rather clear for the style, although things could be a little more punchy in the guitar department, while the drumming of Jon Costa is occasionally muffled in the mix. The weak link of the band, Costa seems to be struggling to keep up/maintain here and there time-wise (the otherwise awesome “In the Flames”), as well as within some of his fills. Other-times, such as in the aforementioned “Disbelief” and the great Priest-esque “Watchful Eye“, he holds up fine.
For a debut release, UNSPOKEN HISTORY displays a lot of promise and potential for the future. Clean up some of the guitar and drum work, throw in a nice, crunchy production, and we’ll definitely have something here. In the meantime, this record is still a worthwhile purchase for traditional metal fans, as Kreagen possess a keen ear for melody and songwriting, far more than many of their peers in the unsigned underground.
Watch this space for something special.