Frontiers [Release Date 04.08.17]
The latest in a series of star-studded melodic rock collaborations on Frontiers, Kryptonite have the pedigree of a bona fide supergroup of some of the top Scandinavian names, headed by Poodles singer Jakob Samuel and including current and former members of Treat and Eclipse in the rhythm section of Pontus Egberg and Robban Back.
The spoof comic book artwork of the CD is strikingly distinctive, but the music less so, as often happens with these studio projects. ‘Chasing Fire’ is a strong, swaggering opener, and ‘Better Than Yesterday’ and ‘No Retreat No Surrender’ close the album in equally brash, uptempo style.
It’s no coincidence that stronger tracks like these have the guitar work of Michael Palace – whose eponymous band produced one of last year’s more promising releases – all over them, but he is underused for much of the album.
Despite not being an official band member, the power behind the throne is Alessandro Del Vecchio, a seemingly ubiquitous presence on Frontiers releases. He produced the record, supplies liberal doses of keyboards and has a writing credit with Jakob on nine of the eleven tracks.
While hardly original the songs are enjoyable enough, notably the stately progress of the anthemic ‘Across The Water’ with Jakob’s strong, rich tones, and ‘Keep The Dream Alive’, with a chorus with chord progressions that screamed Magnum’s Tony Clarkin at me.
The biggest gripe, as often with a studio rather than band project, is that the production feels rather disjointed with the rhythm section an afterthought. In particular I found a truly horrible drum sound, which has the air of a guide track being laid down, ruined the second song ‘This Is The Moment’ and continued to irritate throughout the album.
‘Get Out Be Gone’, Michael’s sole co-write, ups the pace in the middle of an album that sags under the weight of one or two ballads too many, including the sickly ‘Knowing Both Of Us’, where Jake sounds somewhat like Axl Rose, and the Journey-esque ‘One Soul’ with its generic ‘love will change the world’ lyrics, admittedly not written in their native tongue.
In short Kryptonite have delivered a strong collection of songs, albeit lacking an identity of their own, and undermined by production issues. A decent album, but not the sensational one the pedigree of the artists promised. ***1/2
Review by Andy Nathan
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