(DGR reviews the 2014 debut album by Crepuscle from Redwood City, California.)
There are styles of heavy metal that I think, through no lack of trying on America’s part, are always going to be distinctly European. Folk metal and its various offshoots, alongside the hybrid genres of pagan melo-death (I’m still not sure that means anything but have seen numerous tours under that banner) and the sort of symphonic battle hymns that the combinations of the aforementioned genres, are all styles of music that European bands, and particularly the usual Scandinavian suspects, seem to have on lock down.
There have been some valiant attempts in the U.S., of course, as firing a shotgun into a wall is bound to hit something, and there have been a ton of bands over the years who have been inspired by groups such as Wintersun, Ensiferum, the viking metal explosion (itself a thorny briar patch of bands not easily defined), and their folksier brethren — but those bands have usually suffered from one of two problems: an inability to find a crowd here in the States and therefore no staying power, or a tendency to display a light shade of mimicry.
It has usually been all too clear that the musicians in these bands were massive fans of their influences, but they were never able to get out of their shadow creatively, leaving them feeling like the B-team to a better product that sadly, rarely seems to tour over here.