KROSSFIRE – Shades of Darkness
The second album "Shades of Darkness" from Bulgarian power/progressive metal band Krossfire continues their intriguing blend of epic strains, symphonic/operatic nuances, as well as occasionally heavier overtones. Veering into more Symphony X-type territory for "King Will Come", the keyboard-led "One More Time" contains the bombast and pomp that put Styx on the arena rock road during the 70’s, while "Fall From Grace" has the right power/symphonic balance to appeal to everyone from Blind Guardian to Nightwish.
Mixing up conventional arrangements with the ten-minute plus "Annabelle" and seven-minute follow up "Glory to Heavens" allows Krossfire to stretch some of their theatrical, dramatic creative muscles – the former exciting because of the up and down register heroics of singer Dimo Petkov and the equally doom to progressive shift changes, the latter much heavier and injecting some exotic, Middle Eastern guitar hooks. Over an hour of music provides the band ample opportunity to get their point across- and I feel that "Shades of Darkness" digs deeper into variance and heaviness while maintaining a lot of their power, progressive and symphonic metal stance that they established through their "Learning to Fly" debut album.
Because of their diverse output, the only struggle that could occur is Krossfire straddling so many sub-genres that many fence-sitters will be scared off by the band not sticking to one specific direction or course. It’s all good to these ears, as "Shades of Darkness" has enough aggressive bite in the guitar department to allay any fears, while those who appreciate arpeggio runs and operatic/ dramatic vocals will be satisfied as well.