German ‘dark rock’ outfit Crone certainly know a thing or two about atmospherics. Throughout their debut album, Godspeed, they trowel the stuff on like bricklayers on a Stakhanov kick, cramming every song with enough ideas to keep most bands in albums for a lifetime.

Stylistically speaking, the band seem content to pursue a line in downbeat melancholia that puts them in the same sort of territory as Opeth (at their most accessible) or the more dynamic side of Anathema; However they do have a more epic air about them than either of those bands, hinting that, good though tracks like The Ptilonist and Mother Crone are, this might just be the tip of an iceberg we’re witnessing here.

Mother Crone, in particular, is something of a mini prog colossus, featuring supremely lyrical lead guitar playing and muted melodic chord work that you’ll find yourself absent mindedly humming hours after hearing them only once. Vocalist Phil Jonas (you may know him from Secrets of the Moon) has a pleasing, though at times soporific, style that harks back to eighties names as disparate as The AngelsDoc Neeson and Psychedelic Furs alumnus Richard Butler.

The Perfect Army adds a nice metallic edge to the band’s otherwise dreamy noise, a tough guitar sound augmenting the jagged riffage nicely, whilst following track Leviathan’s Lifework employs a wordless yet memorable refrain to good effect; it’s clear that this is a band that’s not afraid to employ a wide range of tools, even within the course of a single song, to get the job done. This is heavy music without being overtly metallic, the density of sound the band brings adding to the crushing end product.

All up this is an entertaining, at times enthralling album that fans of thoughtful, well put together rock are going to lap up. Ambitious without teetering into the pretentious, muscly without being metallic, it’s going to appeal to a lot of people, if they get the chance to hear it.

Godspeed is released today through Prophecy Productions.