'The Grey Line'
Fredrik Croona will already be a familiar name to fans of aggrotech due to his work with Cynical Existence, Project Rotten and Menschdefekt. But like any good artist there is always new directions to explore, and with that in mind he has launched his first solo album under his own name in the form of 'The Grey Line'. Starting in familiar aggrotech territory as a foundation, Croona infuses elements of futurepop, trance and the result is a nice blend of harsh and soft sounds finding a balance that is seriously club friendly.
The album gets off to a bit of a slow start with the first track 'Always The Same' sounding a bit derivative. However, songs such as 'Everytime I Die', 'The Pain', 'Close Your Eyes', 'Disgrace',, 'Coming Down', 'I Tried', and 'The Path' show off the true power of Croona's vision with an infectious blend of steady beats, strong synth leads and a good mix of clean and distorted vocals. The futurepop elements give a nice depth to the songs which along with Croona's use of clean vocals add more emotion to the songs, which are counterpointed nicely with the aggrotech underbelly.
There are a few points where it doesn't quite come together. Not so much in terms of the formula, but the final execution doesn't seem quite up to the standard of the likes of Menschdefekt and Cynical Existence etc. However Croona digs deep and when it does come together it does so in a big way.
The mix is pretty solid as well. There is plenty of that dirty aggrotech grit mixed in that Croona does so well. But the futurepop and trance elements are definitely discernible throughout the majority of the album and the production keeps up with the pace nicely.
It may start off a little shaky but 'The Grey Line' is ultimately another triumph for Croona. The sonic formula keeps you interested and throws out some great dance-friendly tracks. The album maintains a nice pace and there is a darker and more smooth vibe running throughout thanks to those clean vocals in particular. This is a nice foundation on which to build, so hopefully this won't be a one-time-only deal and we'll hear more from this project in the future.