Crossbones – WWIII

Rating: 2/5
Distributor/Label: Self-release
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Released: 2017
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Band line-up:

Ols Ballta – Vocals
Theo Napoloni – Drums
Ben Turku – Guitars
Klejd Guza – Bass


1. I’m God
2. Gates of Hell
3. Gjalle
4. WTF
5. Messing With the Masses
6. Schizo
7. Rise
8. You Fool
9. That Kind of Feeling
10. I’m God pt. 2


So… Albanian Korn, eh? When I received Crossbones’ WWIII for review my immediate thought was of thrash metal. The album art, the title, and looking them up online, it all added up. They’d had one album out in ’97 which was regarded as thrash. As such, I was a little puzzled when I started listening. There was certainly a thrash influence, but this was clearly a band which had moved in some new direction, and it took me a while to put my finger on it. Then it hit me: Korn. This sounds just like Korn.

Like I say, there’s a certain thrash aggressiveness here too, but it was there, clear as day now that it occurred to me, this is totally nu rock. The stop-start guitar work, the minimal riffs, the emphasis on texture and mood over complexity, the clear heritage of 90s grunge taken in a darker direction. It was all there. Just give a listen to “WTF”, it’s a perfect illustration. “That Kind of Feeling” sounds like a Godsmack ballad.

It isn’t a direction I can think of many going in, even less so in this day and age. It’s worth noting at this point that the music here isn’t terrible. Despite “They sound like Korn now” sounding like a very straightforward insult to any metal band, it isn’t meant that way. It’s just a musical comparison.

That said, while that isn’t intended as a dismissal on its own, this still isn’t particularly good either. The main issue is song length. These guys desperately need an editor. Most of the songs on here are 5 or 6 minutes long, and they really don’t need to be. The majority meander along aimlessly (so it feels anyway), very rarely doing anything of interest, filled with quiet sections that add up to nothing and louder parts dominated by tepid riffwork. The thrash ancestry of the band does occasionally lend a bit more life to the music, but most of the time it just plods. At least Korn songs can be catchy. The music here is similar in overall sound, but carries over none of that catchiness. There simply isn’t enough worthwhile material on here to justify these kind of durations.

One point of defence of the album is that it doesn’t sound like bandwagon jumping. Hell, if Crossbones were trying to jump on the nu rock bandwagon, they’ve missed the boat by many a year. No, this does sound like a genuine musical choice and direction to go in, even if it’s not really a good one.

I appreciate the attempt at writing somewhat complex songs and developing their sound, but the album as a whole has far too much filler, and lacks drive or anything really memorable. It’s not horrible to listen to (though maybe it would be for anyone who was a fan of their older material), but Crossbones need to trim a lot of fat from their sound if they want it to catch on.

Review by Kieron Hayes