Goldfinger…He’s the man…The man with the Midas touch…No, this isn’t a tribute to the old James Bond movie but just a true statement about the worth and status of the entity called Leif Edling. A man whose creativity never stops amazing us and with his skills and his relentless inspiration. After ten albums with Candlemass, the great first and only album of Abstrakt Algebra and somewhere inbetween his personal album, came the birth of Krux ten years ago and this is their third album entitled ”He Who Sleeps Among The Stars”. Leif may get a little late in releasing albums with his fellow mates Jorgen Sandstrom and Peter Stjarnvind (once the rhythm section of the also glorious Entombed), Fredrik Akesson of Opeth on the lead guitars, Carl Westholm on keyboards (also having cooperated on Jupiter Society where Leif plays bass on their two albums) and last but definitely not least, a singer in which Leif always believed and even managed to make him lead singer for Yngwie Malmsteen in 1998: Mister Mats Leven.
From the very beginning of the album with the title track entering, it is clear that Leif did his miracle once again. A heavy riff just like the ones we’re used in listening in mister Edling’s albums breaks the initial agony for the result and entering Mats Leven, you get just by the first minute the feeling that you’re dealing with an album that you will listen many times in your life. Thinking that it just might be your good will to like the album, come the next two compositions to make you close your eyes and think you’re the face in the great colourfull psychedelic cover of the album (you may think you’re one of the stars also, none would mind after all), with ”The Hades Assembly” adding some more tons in the album’s ultra heaviness and ”Emily Payne (And The Black Maze)” grabbing you all of a sudden with its crawling atmosphere and violently bringing you back to reality. What you thought to be as something good, may easily prove more than special for you, as your ears experience this album from the beginning to the end.
”Small Deadly Curses” is correctly put in the middle of the album, being a little more up – tempo compared to the first three tracks, with a magical chorus that Leif’s colleagues in Candlemass would be really envious he didn’t use it in a song by them. Mats gives a theatrical and sarcastic performance on this one, proving why he’s been one of the most acknowledged singers of the last decade. If you have caught this guy live with any of the bands or musicians he’s toured (and believe me, they are a lot), you know better than I describe that we’re talking about a singer which not only can do anything he wants with his voice, but he lives and feels every moment of each song he’s taking part in, that’s why Leif Edling has always been saying the best about him. And we all know that the band’s charismatic leader is a very demanding person that isn’t used in compliments throughout his long almost three decade career.
To make matters even better, the album closes with ”The Death Farm” and ”A Place Of Crows” that add a special touch on ”He Who Sleeps Among The Stars”. It is a very important thing that an album can begin and end in such a way, because fans sometimes focus on the initial or final impression. Of course, this album has nothing to do with the pile of albums released out there, as every song can stand on its own as a great sample of what Krux is about. But without any thought, you will certainly consider that it is a much better album than its predecessor (”II”), maybe not that bitter and ”black” as a listening, but surely more ”bright” in expression and as the final feeling it leaves you is concerned. Maybe the surprise the first self-titled album created can never be substituted, but on the other hand, it’s albums like this one that establish a band and prove that a once great creation was not just a random moment of inspiration, but the show goes on and on and on…
To be honest, I left as a last statement the large track of the album ”Prince Azaar And The Invisible Pagoda” on purpose. MAYBE (I put it in capitals so no misunderstanding is caused afterwards) we’re dealing with the best song Leif Edling has written since…well, hard to think, but it’s one of the best tracks for 2011 for sure and not only can stand as equal next to the large epic ”Lunochod” from the first self-titled Krux album, but may also prove even larger as a song in the future. Knowing personally that Leif has always been a perfectionist, this should be no surprise to me. But it’s songs like this one that make a reviewer’s work much harder than you, the reader can imagine. All I can suggest is listening to this one rather carefully and make your own statement, as I really feel that words escape me this time. The album will flow like clear water for 45 minutes and you will have an extra terrestial reason to make you smile when you feel a little confused, or even lost in your thoughts. Listen to this one and all will clear, no doubt!
|Track List||Line Up|
01. He Who Sleeps Among The Stars
02. The Hades Assembly
03. Emily Payne (And The Black Maze)
04. Small Deadly Curses
05. Prince Azaar And The Invisible Pagoda
06. The Death Farm
07. A Place Of Crows
|Leif Edling – Bass
Peter Stjärnvind – Drums
Jörgen Sandström – Guitars
Fredrik Åkesson – Guitars
Mats Levén – Vocals
Carl Westholm – Keyboards