In the intricate web of the underground metal scene, an album occasionally emerges that not only resonates through its music but also through its origins. Such is the story of Kronowski, the brainchild of the prodigiously talented Adam Kronowski, whose first full-length LP has ignited interest across the board with a formidable arrival. While Kronowski’s breakout track ‘The Pyre’ may have set the stage, I think that it is the content of this new LP, released just a week ago, that demands our full attention.
Now, to me, what’s very impressive is the fact that Adam Kronowski is not your run-of-the-mill artist; he is a powerhouse of musical aptitude, wielding his instruments and vocal skills with a deft hand. The debut LP is his brainchild, an opus where he wears every hat with ease – from plucking the guitar strings to commanding the microphone, from penning down the lyrics to crafting the melodies, and from the meticulous task of production to the final touches on the tracks.
Now, as far as the album sounds go, on this record, one finds a strong undercurrent of power metal – a genre that thrives on its epic soundscapes and vigorous rhythm. Yet, this album is far from being a one-genre wonder. Kronowski’s work is a melting pot of influences, reflecting a penchant for fusion genres that is a hallmark of our publication’s ethos. The album leans into power metal, yes, but it’s the infusion of various other elements is strong as well.
I’m a huge fan of the DIY scene, and Kronowski’s LP is an emblem of what a DIY project can aspire to be. In an age where digital production can mask the human element of music, this album stands as a counterpoint, an embodiment of the tactile and the real. It’s a collection of tracks that are unfiltered, unrefined, and unabashedly direct, speaking volumes of Adam’s commitment to his art form. It’s a raw, energetic, and honest exhibition of what happens when one artist decides to take the reins into their own hands without external adulteration.
The album unfurls with ‘Amber,’ the album’s title track that immediately establishes the tenor of the LP. The introduction ushers in a maelstrom of heavy guitar riffs that lays the foundation for what’s to come. Early in the track, the tempo surges, mirroring the adrenaline-pumping heartbeat of the song itself.
This first introduction feels like a masterful blend of modern metal’s punch and power metal’s grandiosity, creating an experience that is both bruising and uplifting. The chorus is a standout, with its rhythm and melody engineered to stick in your mind, compelling in its simplicity and its ability to invoke a visceral reaction.
The guitar work throughout the track deserves a spotlight of its own. The solo is a high watermark, adding a layer of complexity and raw emotion. And that’s something I found consistent throughout the album: the amazing guitar work. As the track reaches its climax, we are gifted with a key change, a maneuver that elevates the ending, giving the sensation of an auditory ascent. And hey, what would a great power metal song be without a nice key change at the end?
And I interpret the song’s meaning to be about resilience, a confrontation with inner demons and the external chaos of life. The imagery of smoke, skulls, and the elemental play of fire and rain crafts a narrative of overcoming and transformation – from the ember forming amber. The lyrics speak of hardships – the “headache” and “heartbreak” – but there’s a defiant optimism in acknowledging that the struggles are not as insurmountable as they once seemed.
The track “Deadman” introduces itself with an unmistakable old-time vaudeville vibe, an opening act that quickly transitions into a robust landscape of heavy metal, all the while maintaining a whimsical, circus-like undercurrent, though very, very subtle. This inventive fusion is a standout element, presenting a creative blend that is fresh to the musical palate. The song is a bold concoction of the theatrical and the heavy, sonic alchemy that Kronowski navigates with ease. I’ve heard a lot of blinds and fusions of various genres, but this one is a new one for me, and it’s super creative!
Lyrically, “Deadman” is a darkly poetic story exploring themes of entrapment and control. The opening lines, “Deadman, treading the quicksand, I own you,” immediately set the tone for a sinister journey. The recurring motif of struggle, bleeding, and the paradoxical plea for mercy paints a haunting picture of a battle against an inescapable inner demon.
“Coming Home” stands out in this album. And it might be my favorite track, though I’m sure with a record so good, I’ll give you a different answer on what my favorite is, depending on what time of day it is. But this track distinguishes itself with vocal stylings that are exceptional in their execution, offering warmth and richness that evoke the communal spirit of an Irish folk pub song. The instrumental backdrop of the song features robust guitar work that momentarily steps back, allowing for moments of melodic respite. This interplay between the heavy and the melodic gives the track a refreshing quality, particularly within the power metal style, and showcases a deft handling of musical dynamics.
As for the lyrics, they offer a story steeped in the theme of return and reflection. The opening lines set a scene steeped in nostalgia, with imagery that draws on the rural and the rustic. The song speaks to the experience of confronting and accepting one’s own vulnerabilities and imperfections.
This sentiment is encapsulated in the chorus, with its acknowledgment that sometimes, it is the journey — with all its detours and obstacles — that guides us to better destinations. Which of course, sounds just like something you’d hear out of a traditional Irish ballad.
The album closes on a high note, showcasing a remarkable range of musical styles that solidify its position as a standout debut. “Part of the Plan” harks back to the energy and rawness of early 2000s pop-punk, a surprising yet welcome departure from the heavier tones that dominate much of the album. This track adds an effervescent energy to the mix, appealing to those nostalgic for the genre.
As the album progresses, it offers a reprieve with an acoustic and piano-driven ballad, a composition that adds a layer of introspection and showcases some great versatility. It’s a song that strips back the complexity to focus on melody and lyricism, allowing the emotive power of simple arrangements to shine through.
For those who savor the intricacy of progressive metal, the album presents tracks like “The Way, PT III.” These songs show off some nice technical skills and craftsmanship, weaving together rhythms and time signatures that will no doubt resonate with fans of the genre.
Kronowski’s debut LP is an ambitious and well-executed showcase of musical diversity and technical proficiency. The album stands as a significant entry into this year’s musical landscape and one of the best debuts I’ve heard all year.
It’s an impressive beginning for Kronowski, one that not only captures the attention but also sets a high bar for future endeavors. The anticipation for what he will do next is already here, and if this album is any indication, their trajectory is one to watch closely.
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