Released: 2011, GMR Music
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
Raise your hand if you knew that a new Krux album came out this week...I mean if you knew before I just told you. This is nuts, there’s been zero mention of this in the metal press, but the latest release from Leif Edling’s “other” band is their best yet and one that warrants a helluva lot more attention than it’s received so far. KRUX III - HE WHO SLEEPS AMONGST THE STARS doesn’t stray from the territory traveled on prior records, but a pristine level of polish and a much tighter batch of songs make this the most serious Krux album yet.
KRUX III sounds like Candlemass’ CHAPTER VI had a doom metal baby with Edling’s solo album SONGS OF TORMENT, SONGS OF JOY. That is to say that it’s got that heavy ‘Mass DNA in each of the album’s 7 tracks, but with a more traditional metal structure and with a more pronounced emphasis on organs and synth work. And the tunes rip. There’s a great mix of songs on the album that for the first time explicitly shows what this lineup is capable of. Just take one listen to the opening title track and tell me you’re not hooked. Dark galloping riffs, spacy keyboards, screaming licks and the incredible Mats Levén behind the mic. What an entrance boys…
But it’s the stalking gait of tracks like “THE HADES ASSEMBLY,” “EMILY PAYNE,” and “DEATH FARM” where the band really fires on all cylinders. Classic, beefy doom riffs wrapped in wailing guitar solos and powerful vocals, they’re the kind of tunes that could give the most recent Candlemass discs a run for their money. It never ceases to amaze me what a creative savant Leif Edling continues to be almost 30 years into his career, it’s unreal.
But what pushes KRUX III from a good album to a great album is the band itself, talk about a who’s who of the Swedish metal elite. Beyond Edling, you’ve got the talents of Mats Levén (Abstrakt Algebra, Therion, Yngwie Malmsteen, and Candlemass for a hot second), Fredrik Åkesson (a little band named Opeth), Jörgen Sandström (Entombed, Grave, the Project Hate MCMXCIX), Peter Stjärnvind (Nifelheim, Entombed, Unanimated), and Carl Westholm (longtime Edling collaborator). They’ve all got their individual talents, but collectively they do wonders. Also worth mentioning is the exceptional production work on KRUX III, an overhaul that’s long overdue. Let’s put it this way – the production work on this album makes KRUX II sound like a Darkthrone record. Yes, it’s quite an improvement.
Based on the caliber of tunes on KRUX III – HE WHO SLEEPS AMONGST THE STARS, I can only hope that Edling dedicates more of his creative time to Krux once Candlemass calls it a day next year. This is excellent album from a stellar cast of characters, and one you need to hear. As I’m looking on Amazon.com, it’s currently available as a digital download for the hefty price of 6 bucks American. Dude, buy this now.