Album Review: Crimson River - Here's To The End… Again
Reviewed by Paul Hutchings
A four-piece from Eindhoven, Crimson River have spent a decade in the background, as they say on their website “finetuning their sound, doing a few shows and just having fun”. They’ve finally released their debut EP ‘Crimson River’ in 2019 and now offer a 36-minute album called ‘Here’s to the End … Again’.
Let’s not cut any bull here. It’s no wonder the band lurked in the shadows, for it’s the best place for this record. It is a struggle to listen to, from the opening title track through to the merciful ending of ‘The Wild’. Whilst the band can cut the lead work with multiple blistering solos thanks to lead guitarist Kris van Rens, their compositions are challenging. NWOBHM influences dominate, but the songs are a little dull. ‘We Are the Nights’ contains a contender for worst chorus of 2023, whilst ‘Armada’ sinks without any redeeming features.
It feels a little cruel to be so critical about an album which has clearly been a long time coming, and there are some redeeming features. The musicianship is solid, but the vocals are without doubt the band’s Achilles Heel. Danny Keijsers just doesn’t have the range to support the high tempo songs.
There’s a slight sympathy for the band, for their big song ‘Requiem’ has potential. It’s a sprawling, semi-ballad but once more the vocals damage it almost to the point where it’s unlistenable. There is some fabulous slide guitar work on ‘Native’, but by here it’s a difficult listen.
Musically Crimson River are decent, and some of their playing is superb. But in a world where hundreds of albums are released every week, it needs something a bit better to stand out. Amongst the herd, this is going to get swept away.