We all know the banes of the average melodic death metal band, right? Pardon the history lesson, but At The Gates had the party closed down after they showed up and told everyone to get their sh*t and get the f**k out. A lot of bands pounce on the opportunity to become the next At The Gates, and why not? Doing so is quick, easy, and accessible. Look at a group like The Black Dahlia Murder, who've instilled a monumental following and legacy, simply by applying the sub-genre's honest antics and not dropping the ball when it counts. However, calling a lot of these groups flops is like bashing gays at a Westboro Baptist Church sermon, and hearing so many factions try the same damn thing with few emerging from the sea of mediocrity has ruined much of melodic death metal's integrity.
Kruna, Italy's answer to The Black Dahlia Murder, is one such victim of this miserable plague. "Last Century," Kruna's first album, is done up strictly by the numbers. I guess they sound like The Black Dahlia Murder, or At The Gates circa 1994 or so, so they at least have that going for them. Not much else can be said about the album, I'm afraid. It's melodic death metal chopped up and served just the way any seasoned veteran of the aforementioned sound could picture, bringing nothing new to the table that'd imply Kruna is any different from the horde of groups doing exactly what they're doing here. Long story short, the songwriting, transitions, riffs, and general scope of things are all trivial and pretty much useless. Songs fly in and out like flapjacks at a busy diner—same music, different band.
It'd be rather redundant flying through detailed descriptions of these tracks, because they all sort of take the same cues and processes and rehash the same structures thirteen times over with different riffs and stuff. Not a whole lot works well for Kruna outside of their songwriting woes, as the riffs they pound out (typical melodic death metal riffs, really) are sour and bland, and Kruna's vocalist is remarkably vapid and generic. The drums aren't doing anything worthwhile as well—completely boring and uneventful. Damn. I've retained a bit of "Back in Time" for whatever reason, however, and the guitarists are certainly happy to shred like shredders shredding shreds of shredded shreds, so that's a little fun, too.
A few noteworthy moments here and there, but not much more can be said about "Last Century" in a favorable manner. Songs such as "Death Without War" and "Death by War"—really creative with the song titles—are simply there, screwing around in Kruna's safe little bubble. I've heard "Last Century" before, an album authorized and released by a dozen different bands that all do the same thing, sadly. I know I'm rehashing the same point here, but melodic death metal bands like Kruna aren't doing anything to rise above the herd, and so the herd is where they shall remain. I'd recommend this to fans of At The Gates or The Black Dahlia Murder, but chances are you'll find better quality elsewhere.