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Suncrown - You Are Not Alone

Suncrown  - CD Review
You Are Not Alone


CD Info
11 Tracks
English Lyrics

Following a current trend among various Metal Bands, the multinational 8 piece band, Suncrown, has released their sophomore album You Are Not Alone, which contains a mixture of Symphonic/Epic Metal and Rock. I stated in previous reviews that I believe that the second album is often one of the hardest to make. Suncrown has shown that they are up to the challenge. The songs on this album mostly revolve around the theme of self-discovery, the appreciation of others, and learning from others. The exceptions to this are the two cover songs on the album.

Suncrown, an unusually large band with eight members has a truly international flavor with its base listed as Lindoia, Brazil. However, they use the recording studio in Arkansas of vocalist Darren Crisp. The members stretch from all over Europe, South American and the United States. The band, Suncrown, was formed in 2011 by keyboardist/songwriter Oleg Biblyi (Ukraine) and vocalist Darren Crisp (United States). Added to the pair were Bassist Ederson Prado and solo guitarist Gustavo Bonfá (both from Brazil). During 2011, the band released several video clips with guest drummers. Next to join were the present vocalist Juliana Furlani (Brazil) and drummer Tim Zuidberg (Netherlands). Then, in the second month of 2012, two more members were added. They are guitarist Kevin Ellerby (United States) and flute player Uğar Kerem Cemiloğlu (Turkey). The addition of solo and rhythm guitarist Sindre Flo Myskja (Norway), replacing Gustavo Bonfá, occurred in the summer of 2013. Added to this large ensemble of musicians are multiple guest musicians that I will mention later in this review.

This band, despite the large size, has unlimited potential in the Symphonic Metal Genre. They have all the ingredients needed. The vocalists are complimentary even though they have very different styles. The instrumentalists work together without being overpowering throughout the album. A plus on this album is the infusion of bits of themes from different countries similar to what classical composers did during the late 19th Century as part of the Nationalism Movement (think Dvorak, Tchaikovsky). It is mostly subtle and could be easily overlooked.

As I mentioned earlier, the main theme of this album is self- discovery, whether trying the age old question of identity, acknowledging one’s heritage, or appreciating the help from others. This band brings out the diversity of the songs, between the symphonic chorale style of “The Beginning is Near” and the driven, pulsating sound of “Push.” Both Darren and Julia get to showcase and demonstrate their vocal abilities throughout this album. Juliana especially gets to use her vocal training, whether it is operatic or ballad. Darren is able to compliment Juliana, and vice versa, and demonstrate his vocal prowess.

The opening track, “The Beginning is Near,” immediately sets the tone of the album, letting the listener know right away that Suncrown is a Symphonic Metal Band. The song begins with Juliana and choir singing very crisply. Underneath these vocals are crisp synthesized chords matching the vocals. Then Darren comes in with the verse. Underneath his voice, which is complimented by Juliana in spots, are the driving guitars and drums. Toward the end of the song we have a solo guitar over the keyboards and rhythm instruments. The main lyrics (chorus) that’s repeated are interesting.

Leave behind, all your fears, leave the past, future’s here , all who see, joy you bring, all will hear, all will sing (repeated twice)

Also, here are the lyrics to part of the first verse.

There comes a time, in a young man’s life, when he begins to wonder, how he fits in the world around him.

“You Are Not Alone,” also the title of the album, is a mixture of Symphonic Metal and a Rock Ballad. We have after a rockish instrumental opening, Juliana performing a ballad a la Amy Lee. Later Darren takes his turn with the ballad. There is a nice flute interlude by Uğar between the verses. Other songs which feature the voices soaring above the Rock/Metal instrumental parts are “Who are You,” “Grandfather’s Song,” and “Open the Winds.” These songs, besides offering advice about life, have guitar solos, riffs, and the typical underlying drumming. The lone instrumental song, “Victory Inside You,” has a synthesized chord and vocal chorus similar to “The Beginning is Near” except that it is much smoother and flows very easily.

The song that has received the most attention due to the video that was released is “Just Like You.” This is the song that has an extensive line up of guest performers. On the album, this is the one song that would not be classified in the Metal Genre. It is a true ballad. From the opening piano solo by Yaniv Taubenhouse (Israel), who also transcribed the piano part, we have a variety of soloist, both vocal and instrumental. The vocal part is first sung by Anusha Karthich (India), then Deniztin Doğan (Turkey) joins in and is followed by Rochelle Bradshaw (Jamaica). With the three ladies it becomes a solo, duet, solo, and duet. The instrumental interlude is performed by the piano and Jenee Fleenor (U.S.A) on the violin. Suncrown then joins the song with a light rock background and featuring Darren in various duets with the guest vocalists. A soaring vocal part over the group is performed by Ember Lanuti (Canada) and the final instrumentalist is violinist Mary Haley (U.S.A.). The song is performed with raw emotion, as it states the desire of most human beings, to be accepted. The lyrics to this song are too good not to be included. They are:

Just like you, I want to be loved need to give love, share in this love
Like you, I want to have value
Make a difference, bring something new
Just like you, I fear the unknown
Just dying to trust, fear being alone
Like you, I need to feel secure need to be noticed to survive, keep dignity near just like you....
Just like you, I want to be glad maybe thrilled, I can be sad
Like you, I can believe in myself
I can be proud, selfish at times, never give up
Just like you.....
With you, there's a passion to live with you, there can be comfort and heeling
There's a hand to push back the loneliness
There is a peace and acceptance
For you, I am willing to change for you, I'm dying to love
I'm just like you

The two cover songs, “Primordial Chord” and “Gates of Babylon” are nice additions to the album. The band adds a very unique touch to both songs. I am pretty sure that the drummer, Tim Zuidberg, had a hand in adding “Primordial Chord.” This song was originally performed by Infernorama, a Dutch Metal Band that was formed by Tim’s Uncle, Manny Van Oosten, and Tim has performed on drums in several tribute concerts for Manny. A very unique part of this song was hearing Juliana doing the semi-growl part along and then the duet with Darren. “Gates of Babylon,” a Rainbow cover, has that unique Middle Eastern flavor in the opening. This song definitely showcases Darren’s voice and it is also a chance for Sindre to let loose on solo guitar. Perhaps this song is also paying respect to the international flavor of the group as well.

My favorite song of the album would have to be “Push.” This song opens with guitar power chords along with a short synthesized folk-like melody which belies the rest of the song. At first it seems like it is going to be similar to the other songs. However, very quickly, the guitars and driving drum beat quickly dispel that notion. Dan’s vocal part, whether in the chorus or verse, is on high energy and shows his vocal range. Juliana’s voice joins in with close harmony and she sings a verse herself. She holds her own against the instrumentalists. Another unique aspect of this song is how that short folk melody reappears throughout the rest of the song, whether with the guitar, violin, or other instrument. By the end of the song the synthesized version returns to end the song. I enjoyed the song because the vocals were treated like instruments, neatly done, and included the infusion of a folk melody into a metal setting.

Overall, You Are Not Alone is a pleasant and diverse album, especially for a multinational group. The eleven songs are a mixture of Symphonic/Epic Metal and Rock. They were able to provide two energetic covers songs and the instrumentalists and the vocalist show mastery of their instruments and blend together in a very nice style. My only recommendation would be to not have cover songs on the album, even though I understand the purpose behind the two, and the fact that it is trend among newer bands. I definitely added this CD to my library and any Symphonic Metal followers should consider this one as well. More information about the band and band videos can be found at their website or their Facebook .