KRAGENS
"Seeds of Pain"

(Locomotive Music)

01. Seeds of Pain
02. The Last
03. Danger of Death
04. Darkness
05. I Choose to Die
06. Reconquista
07. Dream in Black
08. Over the Deadline
09. Sonderkommandos Defy

RATING: 8/10

Am I the only one who had not heard of this French band until now? Take a good bit of NEVERMORE's heavy-thrash-meets-traditional-metal (especially those chunky riffs), color with some QUEENSRŸCHE, throw in a tiny bit of TESTAMENT, and you will have a strong sense of what you're getting into with "Seeds of Pain". Shades of traditional power metal are apparent as well. Derivative? Perhaps, but oh so well done and memorable.

The tight, kick-drum attacking rhythm section and fat thrash riffs collide head on with a simple, but damn catchy chorus on the title track. The album-opening song exemplifies the ripping, varied, and melodic arrangements of "Seeds of Pain". Renaud Espeche often employs a Tate/Dane mid-to-higher end vocal approach, most notably on the balladesque and QUEENSRŸCHE -ish "Darkness", but mixes it up nicely with a tougher attack that ranges from the occasional death growl (kind of like what Chuck Billy does) to a full-on Rob Halford scream. The vocal variety is a perfect match for tunes that range from ripping thrashers ("Danger of Death") to those that balance pure aggression with tasteful melody ("I Choose to Die"). The guitar solos bring enough shred to heat up the songs, but not so much as to be distracting or wanked up beyond all comprehension. Rather than coming off confused, the nine tracks here work together to form a cohesive whole that never strays from a molten metal attack and remains compelling the entire way through. As usual, Tue Madsen's mix is the icing on the cake, giving the music that taut, meaty sound for which he is so well known.

"Seeds of Pain" is pure metal that is heavy, yet catchy, and accomplished, yet based in the fundamentals. It seems to me that there is a lot of potential for growth as well. Look out for album number three!

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