Cronian - Enterprise
Indie Recordings
Progressive Metal
9 songs (48:35)
Release year: 2008
Indie Recordings
Reviewed by Goat

A two-man project from Vintersorg and Borknagar members Andreas Hedlund and Øystein Garnes Brun, the second album from this supergroup of sorts is pretty much a continuation of the path taken on their debut Terra. Epic keyboards swoop and glide, Prog Metal structures duck and dive, Vintersorg’s vocals switch between snarls and majestic clean singing... let’s face it, the Norwegian Post-Black road is long and wide, with plenty of scope for little forays off to the sides, and Cronian walk that path proudly. Heck, listen whilst unsober and it could be the new album from Arcturus or Borknagar. My first few listens were actually marred by an increasingly disappointed feeling, the music seeming rather clunky and dull, having moments of greatness but never managing to fit them together. Well, how wrong I was! It took many listens to realise it, but Enterprise is a damn good album, the complex Progressive structure of songs masking their brilliance.

I should have expected it, really. The members are hardly short of talent; after all, giving such respected artistes a bit of the old benefit of the doubt should go without saying – a lesson for the future. And once the songs are unlocked, they’re pretty damn amazing. Opening track Diamond Skies is diverse and expansive, reminiscent of Blind Guardian in the melodic moments and of Solefald’s harsher moments otherwise. Follow-up Arcades begins with a gentle melody and builds on it to a crescendo that’s as much Queen as it is Quorthon, harsh vocals mixing with Mercurian grandeur. Fine, I’m not a huge fan of the Londonian legends, but a little influence from them can add much, and here it’s the cherry on the cake.

The keyboards truly are epic throughout, moments like the start of the mildly Avant-Garde Nine Waves even capable of fitting on Nightwish albums. Added to this are the clean vocals, hardly perfect yet possessing plenty of charm, enough to keep anyone gripped. And of course, the Metal itself is far from forgotten, moments like the Thrashy burst later in Nine Waves fitting in well and often having as grandiose an effect as the keyboards. The most impressive aspect of Enterprise, perhaps, is the songwriting, Cronian never taking the easy or overly-catchy path, clearly preferring that their listeners keep the album on the playlist for a long time – there are catchy moments, of course, but they serve a higher purpose; the ‘wooo-oooh’ing in Project Hibernation is the shiny wrapping paper covering the birthday present inside.

Enterprise just screams upper-class Metal quality throughout, the mid-album instrumental Cirque especially serving to elevate matters above the usual working-class feel that a lot of Metal thrives upon. This is elitist experimentation for the refined Extreme Metallist – to be taken infrequently and with respect. One for the connoisseur.

Killing Songs :
Diamond Skies, Arcades, Nine Waves, Project Hibernation, Moving Panorama, The Encounter
Goat quoted 85 / 100
Other albums by Cronian that we have reviewed:
Cronian - Erathems reviewed by Goat and quoted 82 / 100
Cronian - Terra reviewed by Jeff and quoted 90 / 100
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