[schema type=”review” name=”Kaos Krew – Returno” description=”Label: CoproRecords ” author=”Sarp Esin” pubdate=”2017-09-15″ ]
It was a staple of 90’s to have Extreme Kool Letterz in the names of things, like Mortal Kombat. Metal bands have longed done that, so what does Kaos Krew offer other than typological oddities? Let’s peruse.
Kaos Krew are an industrial rock band hailing from Finland. The DC Comics-like titled album, Returno, is their first outing in four years. That said, it’s very hard to shoehorn them into a single category, as they play this weird mix of old school heavy metal, modern industrial rock, hard rock and, especially in the vocals department, just a touch of modern prog. It’s a very delicate balancing act, and it works mostly in their favor, although there is something to be said about maintaining so delicate a balance. The production is admirable for, if nothing else, coherently bringing together a wide range together in a coherent manner. More on that later.
Throughout Returno, the consistency comes in the form of how these elements are brought together. Hard rock / heavy metal hybrid riffs come at you right from the get-go, and the way the riffs are structured blur the lines between the two. The bass is mostly inconspicuous (save for When Soldiers Cry, there it shines), but it does the work. The drumming is competent, though nothing special. Now, the industrial bit comes in with the use of synthesizers, but the label itself is a bit of a misnomer, as the synthesizer sounds mixed into the music are used much in the way of a neo prog band, only with about half the flair. This sort of eats into the album, because for every coherent industrial or hard rock moment (Man Down and Dying to Survive respectively) you get a jumbled mess (dear Lord, Panama.)
The vocals are a weak link, not because they are sub-par or anything, but the lyrics are often uninspiring, bordering on and actually clichéd, and they could do with a lot less serious and a lot more fun to better suit the energy of the music. Crippled by Belief is a serious offender in this regard, and the lyrics don’t really do the album any favors. The delivery is also dry and pretty much the same in every song, but then there are attempted breakout moments, like ones littering Dead and Gone, that only serve as a bitter reminder that they never quite get there.
Speaking of, this is a good time to get into the main shortcoming of Returno – the songwriting. There is a lack of focus throughout. Remember when I said it was a delicate balance? Well, the downside of that is, Kaos Krew try to bring together those influences out all at once, and so often jump back and forth between them rather than melding them together. When Soldiers Cry is a good, solid example: its verses are ominous, tense and foreboding, but the chorus comes in and washes all of that build-up away in a limp-wristed payoff marred with showy, almost upbeat guitars and dry, drawn out vocalizations before returning to the tension, creating an unpleasant mood whiplash that promises more than it delivers.
Thus the overall album is a bit incoherent, and also a bit repetitive. The songs easily blur together before long and while there are good individual moments, they are scattered and you easily space out. These songs, like the penultimate / closer Follow Him can’t hold attention for very long, and once that goes, so goes the song. Also, I fail to see the point in ending the album, any album for that matter, with a live rendition of a previous track, and so Returno has that as a downer.
Overall, though, Kaos Krew offer a competent, nice album that, despite its shortcomings, may offer a welcome distraction, and a nice enough place to visit. Give it a go, I’d say, see what you take from it.
01. End My Pride
02. Man Down
03. Dying to Survive
04. When Soldiers Cry
06. Crippled by Belief
07. Through Flames
08. Dead and Gone
09. Follow Him
10. Big Sale (live)