Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Twin's Crew - The Northern Crusade (2013)

In 2011 Twins Crew released their first full-length entitled “Judgement Night.” It was a good album that was a little rough around the edges. The choruses were good, but the verses needed a little work. It wasn’t a contender for album of the year, but it showed that Twins Crew have a knack for making old school, Judas Priest sounding power metal. Now two years after the release of “Judgement Night,” they have returned to give it another shot. “The Northern Crusade” takes everything that “Judgement Night” has done and makes it more refined and solid. In the two years between albums, Twins Crew have come back for another round. While it does have a couple of missteps, it’s much better than “Judgement Night;” the good outweighs the bad. With this only being their second album, they’ve done a tremendous job.

The album opens up with “Last Crusader” which immediately shows that they are going for a much more melodic approach than the last album. “Judgement Night” was a little heavier and it tended to drone on. That’s not the case with “The Northern Crusade.” This album is very easy on the ears and a lot more varied than its predecessor. “Blade” has one of the best choruses on the album and is a great follow up to the opener. The album takes a little turn when “Unholy Grail” comes on. It has more of a progressive sound than anything they’ve done this far. It sounds like they are mixing mid-90’s Stratovarius and early 80’s Judas Priest. It’s a departure, but it’s one of their best songs. It’s truly a stand out on the album. “Dr. Dream” has a weird name, but it’s a good song nonetheless. It’s epic and has a wicked solo. With “Loud and Proud” the album goes off the tracks a little bit. It’s in between a melodic track and a ballad; it doesn’t really fit at all. It sounds like a throwback to Motley Crue. It would have been better suited as a bonus track at the tail end of the album. It’s not an awful song per se, it just disrupts the pace of the album.

After “Loud and Proud” comes “Under the Morning Star” which is the best ballad they’ve done. It picks up the slack that the last song left and runs with it. It’s beautifully written, has a great flow and the chorus is epic. A fan couldn’t ask for more. “Kings of Yesterday” is a complete triumph. It’s easily the best song on the album, bar none. The chorus is incredibly catchy and the solo is awesome. It’s tightly written and doesn’t have a misstep. It sounds like “The Scarecrow” era Avantasia. They really hit it out of the park with this one. “Heaven Waits” has a so-so verse but a good chorus. It doesn’t ruin the flow of the album, but it doesn’t really do anything for it. “Take This Life” is another good song that doesn’t really stand out. It’s not bad, but it doesn’t bring the album anywhere. The closing track “Angels Fall” is a perfect way to end the album. It goes back to the progressive sound on “Unholy Grail” and they create a song with a great soundscape. It’s slower than the other songs, but it ties everything up nicely and makes me want more from them.

“The Northern Crusade” is many steps ahead of “Judgement Night.” The vocals are better, the solos are tighter and the melodies are bigger.  Even though “The Northern Crusade” has a couple of skippable tracks, it’s still a great album. As I’ve said before, the good outweighs the bad. “Kings of Yesterday” is one of the best songs they’ve ever written. If this album is a sign of what they are going to sound like in the future, sign me up. Twins Crew isn’t trying to be something they’re not. They are simply here to make balls to the wall metal and they succeed. “The Northern Crusade” is a must listen for fans of Stratovarius, Avantasia and Judas Priest.


- Brian DuBois

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