Ever wanted to find out what inspired a particular song?
Was it based on personal experience or simply passive observation?
What happened in the recording studio or on stage to make one song sound different from the rest?
These are just some of the question bands and musicians attempt to answer in Line 'em Up - the newest page of The Power Of Metal.Dk.
This is where your favourite bands comment on their albums, track by track, because as someone once said, “Ideas are the building blocks of ideas”.
Here’s a chance for you to tell our readers about your new album “In Crescendo”. But could you please start off by introducing the readers to the band and give a short version of the biography?
Well, Kingcrow is a bunch of guys who love to play what they think is good music. That’s the core of it all really. The band started in 1996 by me and my brother Thundra. Well it was not really Kingcrow but that’s where all started. It was a power trio back then and we were playing almost every style of music, from Sepultura to Beach Boys…you know, just a bunch of teens having fun trying to play everything. I think that kind of big mess of styles forged our personalities as musicians and we learned that there is so much great and different music out there that you can’t just limit yourself to just one style. Almost at the same time we started to play I just started to write music…it was just natural for me. As the years passed we started to think that maybe we had something to say and we started the search of eclectic and talented musicians to make it happens…so we went through A LOT of lineup changes. After some guys dropping in and out of the band we found Ivan which is my co-worker speaking of guitars and our style is so different and so complementary at the same time that works perfectly together. Then we added Cristian on keyboards…I was taking care of the keys myself before but since the keyboards were becoming more and more important in our “soundscape” I felt we needed someone able to play them on stage and Cristian joined us for the tour in support of Timetropia. And then we found Diego and Francesco.
And now onto “In Crescendo”… track-by-track, what inspired you, what topics are you dealing with, what do you want to express with this song etc.
01. Right Before
It’s probably the heaviest track on the record as a whole and the first single released. I wrote the chorus first and then I built the whole song around that. It is a quite complicated song in terms of time signature and it has a lot of switches and twist but at the same time is very direct. Lyrics are written by Diego Marchesi and are about having the strength to make hard choices in your life. It’s a great live track, funny to play, and people always go crazy when we play it.
02. This Ain’t Another Love Song
This song is the last I wrote for the record and I love the dynamics and the general vibe of the song. It has a kind of an “alternative” touch and the quiet section is influenced by Pink Floyd, then the song goes pretty heavy in the middle section. This is another great tune to play on stage. Lyrics are by Diego again and are about the porcupine dilemma, when you feel like you can’t stay together anymore with someone you love and at the same time you can’t stay apart. It’s a song about a complicated relationship. I think the link between the music and the lyrics here is pretty strong.
03. The Hatch
The Hatch is probably the track with the strongest connection, speaking about the music, with our previous album Phlegethon. The first section sounds a little bit like a heaviest version of Massive Attack, and then the track goes crazy with tons of riffs and twist. The Chorus is in major key so it sounds…unexpected ? Lyrics are by Ivan and about childhood’s fears.
04. Morning Rain
This is probably my favorite track on the album. It’s a song I worked on for months, and it was almost totally rewritten at one point. To me is one of our finest track ever and I simply love it. The ending crescendo is something I’m really proud of. We played it live just twice till now, and I love the atmosphere it creates in the venue…All became silent and you can feel that something special is happening. I remember that when we played it in the USA at the end of the song there was a standing ovation…it was an incredible moment. I wrote the lyrics for this one and it’s a guy who talks to his father who is passed away… and basically it’s about how people we love affects our lives and left their mark on us, even when they are no more here…but some boundaries are so deep that are going to last forever.
05. The Drowning Line
That’s the simplest track on the record. Initially we discussed if to include this one or another song on the record. I was a little bit skeptical because it sounds very OSI-Porcupine Tree but the guys were much more determined than me about that and in the end it works well in the record, it’s groovy and direct and gives a break to the listener. Lyrics are by me and about the rat race, the desire of social affirmation and how sometimes that desire goes wrong and make people hungry and ruthless.
06. The Glass Fortress
The Glass Fortress is another one of my favorites. I love the arrangements and the melodies… I had this idea of a man, lying on the bed of a hotel room, staring at the ceiling and fighting some inner demons… that was the image that pushed me to write such a fragile song. The second half of the lyrics are written by Ivan.
07. Summer ‘97
Summer ‘97 is probably the most extreme crescendo. It starts very quiet and mellow and from the second half of the song becomes very heavy, probably the heaviest section on the record and one of our heaviest ever. It’s a song about looking back, memories and how life can change everything.
08. In Crescendo
The title track is the longest track on the record and the more challenging to play live …and for the same reason probably the most fun to play. It contains almost everything you found on the other tracks, from mellow atmospheric passages to crunchy heavy sections. The lyrics are by me and Diego. It’s about a very young girl who is in pregnancy and suddenly realizes everything is going to change, wondering what will happen now. She talks to his yet unborn baby trying to convince him that it all will be ok, but she’s trying to convince herself too.
Could you please tell us a bit about the artwork – who made it etc. and how important do you feel it is to have a cool artwork?
We always try to make the artwork expresses the main theme of the album, it’s not just about the coolness. There is always a strong connection and the baby sleeping in the nest is a strong image that shows that sense of security typical of the childhood. The Artwork is made by Devilnax, who also made the one on Phlegethon. We started working on the artwork when I was still writing the songs…I invited Devilnax in the studio to let him listen the record and to discuss the visual aspect of it. When we finished the listening session we just immediately agreed that the album main color has to be white. Don’t know why but that was the first synesthetic feeling we both had. Then we worked for months on the whole booklet, trying to capture the essence of the record.
Three years have passed since the release of “Phlegethon”, and “In Crescendo” is finally out! It has already received rave reviews from the critics, and is also on my personally “Top 5 prog albums of 2013”. What are your own feelings on the positive reactions?
Thank you! Well, I have to say I was surprised much more than the other guys. I tend to be always the most skeptical and this time I was not sure if people’d get the album because is very different compared to Phlegethon. But I was proved to be wrong since the reviews are overwhelming and passionate and we collected a lot of 9 and 10… I mean, most of them are 9 and 10 so it seems to me that we raised the bar so high with In Crescendo that we’re in trouble for the next one. :D
What’s the biggest difference between your previous four albums and this release?
Well, I see our first three records as experiments… I was learning how to write, arrange and produce songs, trying different things and we also had a lot of lineup changes. It was an important period of time but the records honestly sounds just like that…a band trying to find its way. So now I tend to consider Phlegethon as the first real Kingcrow record. It’s with that record that we finally found our personality. So the only thing I can do is to compare In Crescendo with Phlegethon. The new one has a more melancholic vibe and it’s less epic and classically heavy metal than Phlegethon. On In Crescendo it’s all about beauty, in terms of melodies and arrangements. I don’t want to sound arrogant or pretentious but I honestly think some of the melodies and some of the arrangements are simply beautiful. With that I’m not saying it’s a better record, I’m still very proud of Phlegethon, I’m simply saying it’s a different record, more mature, with more depth. When I read that In Crescendo is a “Straightforward” record compared to Phlegethon I’m surprised since IC is a more complex record by far… so I end up thinking we did a good job in terms of arrangements and transitions through the different sections of the songs, avoiding to make them sound too much angular or forced.
Are there any songs on the album that gives you any special feelings?
Well, I love almost all the songs on the record. Speaking for myself, the title track makes me proud, I feel I did a good job on that one but if I avoid intellectualize music, if you know what I mean, then Morning Rain and The Glass Fortress comes to my mind as very special songs. There is some very honest quality in them, like if in some ways that’s the very real me, without filters.
Who and what has inspired you musically on this album?
I remember I wanted to make an emotional record, full of beauty, strengths and frailties. It’s a very human record. That’s what the record is about. When I was writing the songs I re-discovered “Dark Side of the Moon” by the Pink Floyd. That’s one of the first record I really loved as a kid but I don’t know why I did forget about it for years and years and suddenly I found myself listening to that record again and again while writing . It’s such a piece of art…so I think it ended to be a strong inspiration for “In Crescendo”. Other than that I can’t say much more about influences since it’s usually a subconscious thing…all you listened in your life tends to be part of your background. Besides my songwriting I think all the other guys did a fantastic job…and to play with them is an inspiration itself. I always have their personalities in mind when I’m writing and I have deep respect for what they think about our music and about their inputs.
Tell us about the recording of the album?
The album was recorded in my studio here in Rome and it is produced by me and Thundra, as the last two albums. The recording/mixing sessions took 6 months and in between the recordings we did go on tour in Europe with Jon Oliva. There was a little bit of a final rush since we had to finish the record before the ProgPower USA… I think the whole production process took half of the time we spent on Phlegethon but I’m really happy about the production. The record is mastered by Alan Douches in the USA.
You have announced a European minitour and are headlining with the French prog metal outfit Spheric Universe Experience. Do you have any plans to say hello to little Denmark?
This is our first headline European tour so we’re pretty excited about it, well’ be playing a lot of stuff, most of In Crescendo plus a lot of songs from Phlegethon. No Denmark this time but I hope to come back soon since we really enjoyed to play in Copenhagen two years ago! Anyway we’ll return to Holland, Germany, Switzerland and also we’ll play in France and Spain for the first time. I hope our fans we’ll be attending the shows since we’re putting together a hell of a show.
Thank you very much for answering my questions. Any last words you want to round this interview off with?
Thank you, it’s a pleasure. Just want to say to all you out there give In Crescendo a listen, and if you like it, come to see us on tour!
Tommy Skøtt, August 2013