Vera : On top of the infosheet of the new Crematory album 'Pray' I read: "Your Prayers Were Heard”. Well, they are right!!! They surpass my expectations and I would like to announce 'Pray' spontaneously as best Crematory CD ever. They go back to their roots I read. Well, that's what happened with more bands, but in this case we could say it has become a doom metal album instead of a gothic metal effort.
After a sabbatical era of three years - being active since 1993 and enriching my collection in the mid nineties with meritorious albums such as 'Illusions', 'Crematory' and 'Awake' - the German band returned on the scene in 2004 with 'Revolution'. It was a strong album, but I had some objections about the electro loops the band greedy incorporated. Well, they achieved huge success with it, but if success is acquired by danceable beats, the undersigned is not that happy. Their return to a more organic sound is a wish comes true.
They really have upgraded the Crematory sound in general. The use of keyboards was subject of a complete metamorphosis. No modern loops anymore, but dark soaring background support, organ, classical piano with delicious choirs and even some string arrangements. All this perfectly integrated into the new songs that breathe more and have a genuine feel. Another new element is the clean vocals of Matthias. These are used often and that is a plus, for the contrast between Felix's dark growls and clean vocals is amazing. Succeeding the German album 'Klagebilder', 'Pray' marks the return to English language. The icing on the cake is that we have standout songs all over. You can feel that there is something going on from the first track on. 'When Darkness Falls' includes plucking acoustic guitars and whispering vocals, passing into an exciting vocal interaction between Felix and Matthias. Catchy choruses remain. During 'Left The Ground' the resemblance with End Of Green even popped up.
Next is the first song that gives me goose-bumps. 'Alone' is pure doom! Slow and compelling, with organ and dark choirs, this song is an absolute stunner that reminds me of bands like Swallow The Sun and Officium Triste. Mark the grunts with echo of them clean chants and the ultimate doom riffs. The title track is a bit speedier, but it maintains its doom alike approach with semi spoken raucous interludes, vivacious keys and elastic riffs as main features. 'Sleeping Solution' is a bit slower again, but instantly haunts you. The summit that immediately amazed me and sent shivers down my spine happens to be 'Just Words'. Dreamy spoken doom passes into clean vocal lines of a captivating kind, words cannot explain these inner thoughts. Later on this song is graced with dramatic tinges (screams of the Pink Floyd era) and Crematory really surpasses them. The savage 'Burning Bridges' includes heavy orchestration, but the next songs surely have a catchy aspect as well. 'Say Goodbye' is a proper occlusion, switching from melancholy to furious outbursts and when the last notes fade into the distance I feel the need to hear this all over and over again. A remarkable top notch album of Crematory!