Review: “Born Free” by CroMagnum

Seven years in the making and promising thundering waves of primordial power, “Born Free” is the sophomore release from Montreal, Quebec Canadians CroMagnum who as a power trio specialise in Heavy Metal in the more traditional sense. Masterminded by multi instrumentalist Maximus Rex who is joined by bassist Gino LaPosta, the bands drummer departed after this was recorded but while they search, you can also enjoy a comic book that shares a title with the EP, written and illustrated by Rex himself.

Instrumental opening “End Your Slavery” is the ideal tone setter for the EP bringing flavours of Spirit Adrift and Crowbar while cleansing the mind in preparation of the onslaught that you might not even see coming. The title track is a whirlwind of staccato riffs that come from the pre-Thrash era with a raw rhythmic power cut but melodic leads that float above them like a friendly ghost, adding a touch of quality to the otherwise driven attack. “Waterval Boven” brings more Thrash isms with a ripper of a solo of epic grandeur, the audio equivalent of looking at the ceiling of the Sistine chapel with a timeless glory. Both cuts share some similarities in the riff department and that helps create the EP sound as they play perfect partners, while the use of the bass like a second guitar in places in the mix works really well. While this isn’t a concept release, there are repeating lyrical themes that run through it that are thinly veiled, finger pointing at Government corruption, politics, history and philosophy are all interwoven into the fabric of this with an intelligence that confirms the kind of people that these musicians are. There is no place for any sappy romance or aching heartbreak in this whirlwind of a saloon bar fight, instead having a sense of empowerment and purpose about it that holds it all together. While “Tunguska” has more of a storytelling vibe with the horse vocals of Maximus Rex depicting a Demon from on high to wipe the slate clean with the sharpest of blades, it doesn’t wait on circumstance, instead bringing a plethora of searing riffs. The finale “Congregation” has no let up in the aggression while bringing a chant-able fist in the air chorus and a couple of virtuoso solo moments that lifts everything; the taping section being spellbinding [7.5/10]

Track listing

1. End Your Slavery
2. Born Free
3. Waterval Boven
4. Tunguska
5. Congregation

Born Free” by CroMagnum is out 17th September 2021

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