Krux- III: He Who Sleeps Amongst the Stars

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Sunday, March 4, 2012

Doom/heavy metal band Krux features some fairly well known metal musicians, but you may not be as familiar with the group. Created by members of acts such as Candlemass, Nifelheim, Opeth and Torture Division, Krux has been putting out albums that combine elements of doom and traditional heavy metal. Their third full length release III- He Who Sleeps Amongst the Stars comes nearly five years after the band’s sophomore album, but it has been worth the wait and offers some great songs.

Admittedly it does take a song or two before He Who Sleeps Amongst the Stars really begins to take hold. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the first couple of songs are bad by any means, but I found that the middle half of the album was where the riffs really grabbed me the most. While the instrumentalists may have gone into a prog influenced direction on their sophomore effort the keyboards have been pushed further to the back this time around and as a result the band falls into traditional heavy metal/doom territory. The reason that Krux isn’t a pure doom band is because the instrumentals don’t stay in slow/mid-tempo territory and actually offer some surprisingly fast moments which helps to keep the songs feeling different from one another. By the time that the release has come to an end listeners should be thoroughly hooked and ready to dive in a second time, as the riffs really stand out.

Lead singer Mats Leven, like the rest of Krux, has been a member of a wide variety of metal bands over the years. His primary vocal style is clean singing that blurs the line between heavy and power metal, but Leven is able to adapt his singing to match the tone of each track. There are moments where he lets his voice soar over the instrumentals, but on some of the slower tracks the vocals become much more subdued. No matter where Leven chooses to take his singing it works perfectly, and this makes the album even stronger. On “The Hades Assembly” some death metal growling is thrown into the mix, and while I’m not sure which member of the band contributes these it works surprisingly well within the confines of that particular arrangement.

Krux has opted to go in a heavier direction this time around and the results are stellar. Although the album takes a little bit of time to sink in, once it has listeners should find that He Who Sleeps Amongst the Stars will find its way into their regular rotation. Bands with members this experienced sometimes tend to be underwhelming, but this is not the case with Krux and it is clear that a lot of thought was put into these compositions.

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