In the months, leading up to the release of the album, several tracks have been released in various forms. Were they carefully chosen as being the ‘best’ tracks? Was this going to leave us with 8 ‘filler’ tracks? Hell No!! Point of No Return - the second album from South Wales rockers ‘Those Damn Crows’ is one of those albums which is a game changer. It sets the bar for everyone who follows. From the opening bars of ‘Who Did It’, to the closing notes of ‘Devil in my Pocket’ the band give listeners a non-stop assault of killer tracks touching on subjects which lay their soul bare.
Frontman Shane Greenhall comments, “In order to grow as individuals and as a band, certain mindsets, relationships, and scenarios had to end. These conscious choices led us to make our most honest, emotional, and creative music yet. There was no going back. We had to move forward, smash the glass ceiling to evolve, whilst ensuring we kept the Crows DNA intact. The album and its title, ‘Point Of No Return’, are the direct result of making those decisions.”
The new album was recorded with legendary producers Colin Richardson (Bullet For My Valentine, Machine Head, Fear Factory, Sepultura) and Andy Sneap (Judas Priest, Trivium, Killswitch Engage, Opeth, Megadeth) along with producer/engineer Chris Clancy and features thirteen blistering tracks of modern hard rock. Shane adds, “We jammed every song in Judas Priest’s rehearsal room (not bad aye?) moments before tracking and recording which meant we were literally capturing and recording the Crow energy we create when we play live.” He continues, “There are songs on this record that are brutally honest and are of a subject matter that are very difficult to open up and talk about.”
‘Who Did It’ was the first released single, and quickly became a favourite in their live sets, at the same time as it was getting airplay on rock radio stations. A hard hitting track based on the traumatic suicide epidemic in their home town, questioning the media and its attitude to the large number of young lives lost. It is a dark subject dredging memories of the events.
The album builds its already heavy tempo with ‘Set in Stone’ - a song about trauma, a past that dictates how you then approach your future and future relationships with others. This track demonstrates the growth of the band from its solid foundations to delicate yet powerful guitar work from David Winchurch and Ian ‘Shiner’ Thomas.
‘Sin On Skin’ , the third track, looks at depression and self harm, a lack of self worth and seeking any sort of feeling, good or bad. This is another hard hitting track, which brings out the superbly powerful vocal range of the frontman. His crystal clear voice hitting each note with precision and clarity. The album brings all the individual talents together. None more so than ‘Be You’ which has a catchy intro. Lloyd Wood’s bass tones drag you by the scruff of the neck though the ear worm as the backing vocals of the rest of the band complete the multilayered track. It is no surprise that it was ‘A’ listed by Planet Rock on its release.
The curveball of the album is ‘Never Win’. A track that is so different to anything we have heard from the Crows before. Stripped back to just the bare bones of a piano and vocals, the emotion in the lyrics is obvious. The subtle drums which appear mid point, and the orchestral arrangements means that there is nowhere for Shane to hide. It is simply stunning and would not be out of place on a movie sound track.
The pace picks up again, with ‘Send The Reaper’ and ‘Kingdom of Dust’ bridging the midpoint on the album. With their driving bottom end, we have more belting sing-a-long tracks that are bound to be fan pleasers as the chunky riffs are topped of with brilliantly constructed solos. The heavy bass and powerful, unrelenting drums making the instantly recognisable ‘Crow’ sound.
‘Going Down’ continues the excellent second half of the album. Ronnie Huxford gives the track a huge dose of cowbell, for a raunchy number full of naughtiness, before we get another familiar track, ‘Long Time Dead’. This song has appeared in a few live shows with its high tempo demonstrating the bands massive musical excellence.
Somehow, they keep up the tempo with ‘King of Second Chances’. The twin guitars of David and Shiner taking a centre spot as they have done before with brilliance. Working together to create something very special, underpinning Shane’s vocals.
If this album is about relationships, emotions, and difficult decisions, then the next track ‘Go Get It’ is about the band. The message, most definitely, is ‘if you want something, make a plan and make it happen’. Lyrically, it speaks volumes about the band, their work ethic and development since we first saw them back in 2016.
As the album nears its end, the positive message in ‘Hey Man (Look at me Now)’ begins the next ‘Crow Chapter’. With the middle eight being dominated by a bass solo, and Ronnie’s vigorous and rousing drumming, we have a song which sets the stage for the future.
Finally, ‘Devil in my Pocket’ brings the album to a close. Ronnie dominates the start with an unforgiving, thunderous drum intro before giving way to yet another high tempo, gut wrenching track, previously only heard on the occasional live show.
Overall, the album is brilliantly put together. There is a familiarity to the album which makes the album one that will be played over and over again - the way music used to be listened to. It is a huge leap forward in the bands development as they try out alternative gear, new arrangements to bring the ‘Crow’ sound with tougher edge. This will be a hard album to beat in the race for ‘Album of the Year’. We love it.
To celebrate the new album, the band will be out on a 7 date UK tour. At the time of writing, all the dates are sold out, except for the final date - 12th February, at the Tufnell Park Dome, in London. There will be other chances to see Those Damn Crows , including 25th April, when they will be headlining at The Tramshed in Cardiff.
The album is set for release on 7th February 2020, and is available to pre-order: