Craneium Premiere “Shine Again” Lyric Video; Unknown Heights Out Oct. 15

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Reviews on August 18th, 2021 by JJ Koczan


Finland’s Craneium release their third album, Unknown Heights, on Oct. 15 as their label debut on The Sign Records. The Turku-based four-piece were last heard from with late-2018’s The Narrow Line (review here) on Ripple Music, and they’ve quite clearly learned a few lessons from one to the next. With a consistent lineup of guitarist/vocalists Andreas Kaján and Martin Ahlö, bassist Jonas Ridberg and drummer Joel Kronqvist — somebody’s also playing keys, or something that sounds like them on “Somber Aeons,” and the Mellotron contributed by Axel Brink to “Weight to Carry,” also elsewhere — the band present a sharpened take on their particular sonic meld that is able to be both heavy and fluid as it will. Among their three LPs to-date, the confidence with which they execute their melodies and the tightness of their songcraft across the six tracks of Unknown Heights is striking, and to call it anything other than their finest hour is underselling it.

Each side of the album opens with a big hook, with “A Secret Garden” putting to immediate use the Kaján and Ahlö arrangement dynamic — this will come up again on the closing title-track — and side B’s “Shine Again” (premiering below) offering a six-minute summation of many of the album’s strengths in its volume shifts, overarching patience of delivery, exceptional pacing, depth of mix, flowing progression and, when it’s ready, outright heft. “A Secret Garden” is very much the traditional rocking opener transposed to suit Craneium‘s purposes, running a focused four and a half minutes that establishes the tones, melodic reach and underlying psychedelic drift of the proceedings to follow.

“Somber Aeons” and “Weight to Carry” are both longer at six and seven minutes, respectively, but effectively hold onto the clarity of structure that “A Secret Garden” lays forth, the former surging with fuzz in rolling fashion after a more subdued opening, making the most of Ridberg‘s bassline for the ensuing thickness that will seem to swallow the song even as a spoken-word sample about darkness cuts through at the finish, shifting easily into “Weight to Carry,” with a more forward guitar solo later, the aforementioned Mellotron flourish and its own structural presence highlighted by the chorus.

Craneium Unknown HeightsIn launching the second half of Unknown Heights, “Shine Again” pulls together many of the strengths of the first, taking the directness of “A Secret Garden,” the volume trades of “Somber Aeons” and the instrumental gracefulness and ending build-up of “Weight to Carry” and putting them to a single purpose. This is offset by the righteously bassy and brazenly hooky “The Devil Drives,” which follows and is the shortest inclusion on the album at 4:22. It wouldn’t be appropriate to call anything Craneium present here stripped-down — the sound remains lush and the melodies, rhythms and structures thoughtful — but “The Devil Drives” is as straightforward as they get in the offering, with verses and choruses going back and forth setting up dual-leads in the back end of the song that should, must and inevitably do make their way back to a final run through the chorus to finish out.

Needs to happen, has to happen, happens, and like the best of heavy rock songcraft, it’s no less satisfying because you know what’s coming. Momentum carries into “Unknown Heights” itself, making the opening hits feel somewhat impatient, but the chill that comes with the first verse sets its own atmosphere and allows the track to unfold in its own manner.

Is that slide guitar just past the midpoint drifting over the quieter stretch? I don’t know, but it works as a proggy nuance, hypnotic and wistful in kind, and helps the transition to an even more subdued stop before the shove that will consume the last minute and a half of the song takes hold, eventually fading out in such a way that underscores the vague ’80s metal underpinnings of “The Devil Drives” — someone in this band likes NWOBHM — and that feels quick given the flow they’re leaving behind, but ultimately makes sense considering the overall efficiency they’ve wrought throughout. They’re simply not willing to waste the time, and at a crisp 36 minutes, Unknown Heights is that much more able to offer spaciousness without indulgence for the decisions the band have made.

This album is a realization for which Craneium have worked hard over the last half-decade-plus — and a mention for Joona Hassinen (MaidaVale, Domkraft, Skraeckoedlan, many others) at Studio Underjord in Norrköping, Sweden, is only appropriate as well — and the payoff is in the songs waiting to be heard.

“Shine Again” premiere follows, with PR wire info after.

Please enjoy:

Craneium, “Shine Again” lyric video premiere

Craneium on “Shine Again”:

This is the third time we collaborate on a video with our friend Oliver Webb from the awesome band Sunniva. This time we talked a lot about that we wanted to bring the artwork to life. About what it would look like if you were to step through the keyhole and into the world of the artwork to the single. We think Oliver did an amazing job and he really has an eye for weird symbolism and trippy storytelling. We think it suits this song, an ode to freedom and solitude, perfectly.

”No friends but the mountain…”

Pre-order ‘Unknown Heights’:

Lyric video for “Shine Again”, the second single from Craneium’s 2021 album “Unknown Heights”. Video by Oliver Webb.

Finnish fuzz-rock outfit Craneium have released their new single ”Shine Again”. Shifting from massive, distorted passages to blissful, psychedelic soundscapes, ”Shine Again” highlights the dynamic and experimental nature of Craneium, while presenting a new musical dimension of the band. The group explains:

”No friends but the mountains…With ‘Shine Again’, it really feels like we’ve taken our songwriting to the next step. This is the direction we want to take Craneium in from now on. We are quite happy with the vocal harmonies and lyrics, as it turned out to be both a love song and an ode to freedom. In the studio our producer and engineer Joona Hassinen from Studio Underjord got us to perform at a level we feel we haven’t reached before. The mellotron strings added by Axel Brink (our former bass player and forming member) really gave it that little extra kick.”

Craneium is:
Andreas Kaján – Guitar & Vocals
Martin Ahlö – Guitar & Vocals
Jonas Ridberg – Bass
Joel Kronqvist – Drums, Percussion

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