Kraków // Diin
Rating: 2.0/5.0 — Scream for this sick and twisted girl why don’t you!
Label: Dark Essence Records
Websites: krakowofficial.com | facebook.com
Release Dates: EU: 2012.09.14 | US: No date

When I received Kraków’s promo material and saw that they are one of the bands currently represented by Patricia Thomas Band Management, the sick and twisted girl in me grinned from ear to ear (pretty much the same way Tank Girl does when she’s blowing stuff up). I expected nothing less than dark, nasty, down and dirty, sick, blood-soaked metal in its extremist form! I expected something like Shining’s depravity, Celtic Frost or Skitliv’s misanthropy or the utter despair you feel when listening to Lifelover, but all I got was disappointment and the weightiness of mediocrity! Kraków hail from Bergen, Norway and consist of a standard rock style, quartet type configuration. Their strongest influences include the dissonance of Isis, the doominess of Neurosis and the progressive-sludgy-grooviness of Mastodon, but while these may seem like great influences, you’ll soon notice that Kraków’s Diin has more of a hard, stoner-rock, experimental, progressive feel and their music gives off the pungent stench of a metal band turned hippy-stoner. Kraków have succeeded in creating an oddity of an album and though this is their second full length this album is not one that I would say is anything particularly groundbreaking.

The album opens up with “Hymn to the Winds”, a rather dissonant, atmospheric and yet strangely jarring track heavily laden with repetitive guitar and drumwork that go on and on and on eventually attaching themselves to your brain much like a parasite. Barring one brief and almost exciting moment towards the end of “Mound” where things come alive and for a few brief moments Kraków manage to pull a little bit of Black Sun Aeon-style vocal magic out of the bag it’s just more of the same across the first half of the album.

The second half of Diin held some welcome and by this point much-needed surprises! “Possessed” and “Into the Distant Sky” picked up the pace considerably, and can somebody tell me where the hell Kraków were hiding those screams of pure and delicious evil? Kraków can deliver some outstanding guitar riffs and have such a diverse and exciting vocal range it’s unfortunate, and to Diin’s detriment, that both are completely and utterly underused.

While there were some elements on this album that left me on the verge of nodding off to sleep and disappointed, by the same token there were also a couple of aspects of the album that I did enjoy. The production quality, mixing and mastering on Diin is excellent, and the layering and levels of the atmospheric and ambient elements long with the vocals and instrumentation make for a comfortable listening experience – the ‘golden touch’ was definitely evident here. Naturally the fucked-up, crazy, dizziness of “Possessed” appealed to me on so many levels followed closely by “Into the Distant Sky” – both these tracks epitomize the dark, evocative, fast, aggressive, heavy yet mesmerizing goal that Kraków set for themselves.

The album has 9 tracks, and a runs for a total of 59 minutes which by average metal and rock album standards is pretty long and only feels longer when you’re listening to a 13 minute track that won’t damn-well end. I can’t in good faith recommend this entire album, but what I am going to recommend doing is something that the obsessive compulsive in me would absolutely, positively never let me do – give the album a listen and just buy the individual tracks that float your boat.

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