Can’t Fly Without Gravity (2015)
Dine Alone Records
Toronto MC and eclectic music maker Kevin Brereton, aka k-os, is back in the game with his sixth – and arguably most experimental—studio release to date: Can’t Fly Without Gravity. Even a word like eclectic may leave a little to the imagination, as k-os’ newest endeavor is fueled by a wider range of styles than anything else put out by the adventurous rapper.
This installment is kicked off with a slow burning jazz-hop track entitled “Snap Back,” comparable to ko-s’ 2002 single, “Heaven Only Knows.” Also gracing the track list are “Turn Me Loose” and “Steel Sharpens Steel,” two heavy guitar laden tracks, taking obvious influence from rock, punk, and grunge alike.
While Can’t Fly Without Gravity boasts some seriously experimental tones, those adventurous tracks eventually pale in comparison to the genuine and lyrical hip-hop tracks on the album, such as “Boyz II Men,” which features a plethora of heavyweight Canadian hip-hoppers such as Shad and Kardinal Offishall. It is tracks like “Boyz II Men” that will satiate k-os core group of fans, while the ballad “Another Shot”—the LP’s second attempt at top-40 universality after “Spaceship”—should be able to draw in the casual radio doers, and also closes out the album in a pretty uplifting way.
k-os didn’t break any molds creating this record, but he has to be given his ups for taking such a backdoor approach to his craft, and putting out what is easily his most audacious offering since Joyful Rebellion in 2004.
The power metal genre has been stuck in a rut over the years with several bands moving away from it entirely, but one isn’t ready to stop. Returning from a six year hiatus, Finnish supergroup Cain’s Offering’s aptly titled Stormcrow, finds the band rising from its ashes to a fresh start with the addition of Jens Johansson (keyboard) and Jonas Kuhlberg (bass). The dynamic duo of guitarist Jani Liimatainen (ex-Sonata Arctica) and Timo Kotipelto (Stratovarius)’s soaring vocals show that they’re still relevant in 2015.
Stormcrow starts with the bombastic title track which encapsulates the band’s energetic sound perfectly and introduces fans to Johansson, who continues the melodic, and electronic wall of sound that was a staple from debut Gather the Faithful’s keyboards. Johansson freely experiments during his high speed neo-classical solos harmonized with Liimatainen on the title track, “Antemortem” and “Constellation of Tears,” to the point where a listener could question if he’s playing a keyboard over an electric guitar.
The album has moments of neoclassical metal and others that sound closer to 1980s album-oriented rock than typical metal. This is well shown with Stormcrow’s ballads where the pop influences shine through on the powerful “Too Tired to Run” and “A Night to Forget.” Unlike their debut album, Stormcrow has an orchestra utilized throughout the album. A well integrated example is in the unique instrumental track “Am Legion,” where the orchestra takes the lead and conducts the rest of the band through the song.
Cain’s Offering are not only willing to grow as a band and take risks, but are also willing to experiment with several stylistic changes that stops the album from sounding like a retread of their debut album. Stormcrow is a pleasure to listen to from start to finish that will appeal to any power metal fan.