Kroh is the new project from Paul Kenney of crust/grinders Fukpig (ex-Anaal Nathrakh and Mistress) and vocalist Francis Anthony. Coming from Birmingham, the home of metal, it’s weird that all the comparisons I can make are with bands from the US.
Kroh are experimental, industrial doom metal like Fear Factory but essentially are a very commercial proposition. The guitars exist as a solid slab of fuzzy force, no clear individual notes are discernible – its like being hit round the side of the head with a plank. The keyboards are chilly and clinical like the more refined moments of Korn and Faith No More. There is the brutal inhumanity of the production which is similar to Kenney‘s other bands but the combination of the clean, almost soothing vocals of Anthony ride over the top of the metallic racket in satisfying counterpoint. Possibly the best thing I can say about Kroh though is that they don’t really sound like anyone else.
Lyrically, Kroh are all about Satan and insanity, but similar to Ghost, the tunefulness draws you in, before you realise the dark matter of the words. For me there is slight problem with the lyrics and presentation, which occasionally veers slightly towards the stagey and cloying, but I’m sure those of a more Gothic disposition would enjoy them. It’s likely fans of Fukpig won’t agree, but the absolute stand out is ‘Luciphoria’. Unashamedly commercial with a catchy chorus, mass multi-tracked vocals and a hand clap breakdown, it is ambitious, radio friendly and probably a deliberate middle finger to hardcore crust freaks. Everything else pales rather in terms of downright cheek and killer chorus’s but ‘Inside’ nearly matches ‘Luciphoria’ but is just slightly too cheesy to warrant repeated listenings. Kroh slow it all down for the last three tracks which are atmospheric but rather unengageing and suffer from the worst of the vocal hamminess.
A surprising mixed bag of a record, this seems to have been made to satisfy the more commercial side of a musician who perhaps feels boxed in by his previous output, this record is kind of genreless and without an established target audience. It’s worth hearing just for ‘Luciphoria’, even if it just makes you mad, which is probably kind of the point.