Narcissus - Crave and Collapse (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Crave and Collapse (2003)


I remember when I used to only know Cleveland for their shoddy minor league hockey team, the Lumberjacks. Well, it turns out that aside from doing a piss poor job of preparing players for the NHL, Cleveland has also been producing bands like Narcissus. After a couple releases with smaller labels, Narcissus has found themselves a home on Abacus Recordings, a division of metal powerhouse Century Media. This four piece blends rock and metal with surprising efficiency, and manages to avoid many of the clichés that have been plaguing heavy/melodic music as of late.

The band's true strong suit really lies in its versatility. Whether they're playing spacey rock with soaring vocals (see: the album's title track) or blisteringly heavy songs with screamed vocals (see: "Pride/Politics") the band seems right at home. Vocalist John Pope can really carry a song with his singing/screaming, as he has such a powerful voice. Both sides of his vocal attack are well done, meaning transitions come off as smooth and natural, rather than forced. The band could probably just rely on this and do quite well for themselves, but they also happen to be talented musicians. The guitar work here ranges from intricate melodic passages, to heavy distorted churning, to almost Led Zeppelin sounding riffs. If I had to make comparisons, I'd say that I'm reminded of newer Cave In, but with a bit more punch.

This album can range from being relatively straight forward to being a bit experimental, but it never really risks losing the listener's interest. It's seems rare to find a band that is both progressive and sincere, but these guys manage to pull both off. With such a huge and dynamic sound it's hard to believe that this band is only a four piece with only guitar player. No one will ever accuse this band of not making the most of what they have.

It basically boils down to this: Narcissus does a good job of taking two genres that have become fairly watered down as of late and made both sides sound fresh. You can't ask for much more from a so called "hybrid" band. "Crave and Collapse" delivers on multiple levels and will therefore appeal to wide variety of music fans, do yourself a favor and check this one out.

Pride/Politics MP3