KRUK – Before [Deluxe Edition] (2014)
Regarded as the best traditional hard rock band from the present Polish scene, KRUK (Raven in English) delivered two really good albums in the last 3 years, already presented at 0dayrox.
Since its foundation a decade ago, Kruk had their deserved share of glory supporting the likes of Deep Purple, Santana or Uriah Heep to name some – and made their mark in the music industry with their classic, hard rock guitar-oriented sound. Now, the band around mastermind and guitar player Piotr Brzychcy returns on the wings of their fourth authorial album “Before”. And, as it turns out, being here for the fourth time around Kruk is at the peak of their creative powers.
The first song “My Sinners” opens with a dynamic dialogue between the Hammond organ and the sharp guitar riff. If anyone up to this point had been thinking Kruk were going to abandon their traditional hard rock style in favor of anything else, this monumental, guitar laden opener should have proven this way of thinking wrong.
At times, this epic track may remind one of the late ‘70s era Rainbow (especially the slightly Dio-esque vocal manner of Roman Kantoch, the band’s current singer, as well as the blistering guitar solo). Towards the end, some distant echoes of Deep Purple’s trademark sound are also to be heard.
“Last Second” is a fast-paced hard rock piece which one somewhat hesitates to label ‘radio friendly’ – and yet, there is some certainly catchy vibe to it.
After this breakneck guitar gallop, there’s somewhat melancholic “Once” preceding a melodic mid-tempo “Wings Of Dreams” enriched with a Jon Lord-like Hammond outro.
Kruk gets a bit bluesy in the upbeat “Grey Leaf” and gives exposure to the driving power of the low bass thrum in “My Morning Star”. A moment of reprieve comes with “Farewell”, a beautiful, moving ballad with a surprisingly dynamic instrumental interlude towards the end.
This certain highlight of the entire material is followed by the fast-paced, feisty “Open Road” and “Timeline”. The latter, being the instrumental, half-acoustic, half-plugged piece, is one of these rare occasions when the music itself does the talking – and the tale it tells is simply stunning.
The icing on the cake – and a little curiosity for the foreign listeners – are the Polish versions of “Farewell” (“Moja Dusza”) and “Grey Leaf” (Szary Lisc), both included on this deluxe edition.
Kruk’s “Before” – which can be also spelled with a twist, as Be4ore – is the fourth album with the original material the band’s ever released and, most probably, their best to date.
It pictures Kruk as a mature and experienced band who don’t have to struggle for their musical identity anymore – but also a band aware of their roots and inspirations, always eager to incorporate the echoes of their influences into their own material. Such approach, combined with musical adeptness and proficiency, results in an album one intuitively puts between the Deep Purple and Rainbow classic releases in their record collection.
And although it’s the fans of the aforementioned rock giants should certainly dig “Before” because of its rootsy, classic hard rock inclinations, the listeners of other guitar-oriented genres may also find the flight on raven wings of Kruk enjoyable.
To put it simple, “Before” is a very solid album altogether, and one that’s very recommended. Check it out and fly high!
01. My Sinners
02. Last Second
04. Wings Of Dreams
05. Grey Leaf
06. My Morning Star
08. Open Road
10. Moja Dusza (bonus track)
11. Szary Lisc (bonus track)
Roman Kantoch – vocals
Piotr Brzychcy – guitars
Michai Kurys – hammond, piano & synths
Krzysztof Nowak – bass
Dariusz Nawara – drums
Ewa Toczkowska-Brzychcy – add. vocals (1, 3)
thanks to Alexandra Mrozowska
BUY IT !