CREPUSCLE – Heavenly Skies

CREPUSCLE – Heavenly Skies

Symphonic melodic death metal is a genre where talent and skill, no matter how great, are seldom enough. On their 2nd album the Californian powerhouse shows all of the above in abundance and the songs are very good but, with precious few exceptions, Crepuscle 2019 is a one trick power metal pony.

Crepuscle, named after the time of day right after sunset, was born Draconian Winter, in 2006, in Red Wood City, California and, after 1 demo and 1 EP, they changed their name to Crepuscle, in 2011. Eponymous demo (2013) heralded their arrival but they named their debut full length after the old band (Draconian Winter) (2014), which they released independently, before securing a contract with Creator-Destructor Records for the release of "Heavenly Skies". The 11 track affair was recorded as Eligio Tapia (guitars, vocals, founder), Cameron Stucky (guitars), Aaron Robitsch (keyboards, backing vocals), Gavin DeVaughn (bass) and JB Schuller (Drums).

"Heavenly Skies" gives plenty of evidence for Crepuscle’s collective talent and skills. Eligio/Cameron twin attack recalls 1999 In Flames, most notably on the opening title track which would snuggly fit on "Colony", or 2006 Insomnium (Road To Peril) with similar riffing to "Above The Weeping World", but my favorite track is the Hypocrisy-ic Omnium Gatherum-ish doomy melodeath of "Resignation" with a faster guitarwork which incorporates the same excellent chorus to not leave my head and with a memorable slowdown a’la Arch Enemy. Most of the other tracks, while they could rightly be called symphonic melodeath, are more in a power metal vein of Kalmah or Wintersun, which leads me to the flaws.

While the musicianship and songwriting is undeniable and, for the most part, fairly enjoyable, it boggles the mind why this insistence on a one trick pony pace for the majority of the album. The total score for this review is the score of the average track, denoting the feeling I have about these songs where the parts are greater than their sum. I mean, imagine if Prong’s "Cleansing", one of the most varied and versatile records of all time, had all but 2 songs in the vein of "Cut Rate", the excellent thrashy, fast paced scorcher. How long would you listen before you realized it? Two tracks? Three? Maybe four, but eventually you’d quit or skip to a different vibe, and you’d keep skipping until you’d find something different. Such is the case with great majority of "Heavenly Skies". The Dragonforce syndrome gets old fast, despite the instrumental quality. Finally, the production is flat with everything rammed together at the same pitch and level, without much room in between, melodies coming and going without much repetition, plus some of the guitarwork is actually lower in the mix to the point of being barely audible. This is why "Resignation" is such a breath of fresh air.

"Heavenly Skies" is a very good album but it is craft over soul and that can be heard and felt even after 4th revolution. I would strongly suggest more variety, more organic sound and ditching power metal influence altogether for the next album.