Taking a discernible dip into darker, heavier territory following the demise of their previous outfit (punk rock trio Taras), Ivy Crown have been tipped as the melodic metalcore ‘phoenix from the flames’ for this Danish collective. And indeed, whilst Echo does represent something of a wholesale transformation from the bristling, snotty punk attitude of their past, any semblance of rock’n’roll electricity has been scrubbed away, the sonic gloss and melody-powered bombast which replaces it representing a somewhat unremarkable, slow-burning rebirth.
Christ knows it sounds immaculate, with some swelling synths and orchestral touches elevating the likes of ‘Run’ and ‘Rising’ to the level of radio-friendly anthems which will probably endear the band to a sizeable audience. However, beyond the jauntily incensed ‘Worst Days’ and its intriguing rough edges, Echos‘ mid-paced sheen and heavy handed production has Ivy Crown a hairs breadth away from a slick, mainstream pop act, albeit one with a penchant for occasionally muscular guitars and the odd harsh vocal. Even the guest appearances (the singers of MØL, Ghost Iris and Loathe all make equally violent cameos) feel like shoe-horned attempts to justify their self-proclaimed metalcore tag, the visceral breakdown in ‘That’s What You A Do’ completely at odds with the tracks overwrought balladry.
It’s not all bad news, as vocalist Maria Kjær stamps her identity with a convincing and powerful performance, and when the symphonic melodrama finds its mark the record is likeable and harmless enough, yet there is nowhere near enough invention or aggression on display here to file Echo under anything other than a just shy of solid debut.
Echoes is out 25th October via Long Branch Records and can be purchased here.
Words: Tony Bliss