Crossbones - WWIII

10 songs
55:00 minutes
***** **


Metal from Albania isn’t something you get to listen to too often in these whereabouts. Crossbones come from the capital city Tirana and started in 1996. One year later, they were the first Albanian metal band to release a CD, Days Of Rage. Then they went quiet, and from 2008 onwards the band released occasional digital singles, until this year when they are finally back with their sophomore longplayer, titled WWIII. Crossbones are apparently the only Albanian metal band that played concerts beyond their country’s frontiers.

Crossbones sound today like a typical metal band from the end of the Nineties. Biggest influence are Metallica circa black album and Load / Reload, even though the Albanians sound at times even darker. They prefer to stay in mid-tempo territories, with the guitar and vocals showing strong parallels to James Hetfield, which has definitely its charms. And yet it would be wrong to dismiss Crossbones as a mere Metallica clone. On Gjallë you can hear industrial influences, and the Albanian lyrics give this track an exotic touch. Then there is a darker and more mystic side to Crossbones, that can for instance be heard on WTF which reminded me of Tool. The second half of the album surprises with the funky groove metal track Rise which shows some parallels to the early Red Hot Chili Peppers.

I grew up with the metal of the Eighties, which might be why I deemed that decade always more suspenseful than the following Nineties, when slowly but surely crossover made an impression on the genre. Crossbones definitely do a good job but eventually play a kind of music that doesn’t really hit a note with me. The album is also maybe a bit on the long side. A few tracks less would have given WWIII a crisper impression. It is not unlikely that metal fans that are ten years younger than me will get a crazy retro kick out of this music, but I also recommend to every other metal fan to check out this rare band from Albania.

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