I've decided to start a weekly column called Obscure Metal Bands where I highlight some of the best and underrated acts from the early '80s to late '90s. Below is the first installment. I hope you enjoy it.
Back during my teenage years in the late '80s, I used to take the train out from Queens to Long Island, NY to a club called February's (it changed names to Hammerhedz later on) to see metal and hardcore shows. It wasn't the sort of club where many touring bands would hit, but when it came to regional acts, the place was a hotbed of local talent.
One of the bands from that era that drew a sizeable crowd at February's was Kronin.
Comprised of brothers Peter (vocals) and Mike Kronin (bass), plus Dave Penna (drums) and Steve Koslowski (guitars), the Long Island-based outfit perfected a groove-driven style of metal that benefited from A+ musicianship from each member. While their previous two demos showed a lot of promise, it's Peace Bomb where Kronin truly rose above the heap of unsigned metal bands of the time.
Before I speak on the rhythmic triumps found all over the 1990 demo, I have to spend a moment on Peter's vocals. His performances on the demo's four tracks showcase his raspy yet soulful approach, a potent partner to Kronin's metallic attack. If you appreciate Phil Anselmo's work on the Atco-released Pantera records, you'll also appreciate what Peter Kronin does here.
Moving on to the rest of the band, Peter's bassist brother and Penna provide a steady-as-fuck foundation for Koslowski to lay down his spidery riifs and melodic solos. Since I got to see Kronin live on several occasions I can attest to Penna's virtuosic skills behind the trap kit, and his parts on Peace Bomb certainly help prove that, but it never gets in the way of the songs. Like the guitar and bass work, Penna's drum patterns are always tasteful and fresh-sounding at the same time.
Kronin managed to independently release an album called How Do You Start This Thing? in 1993, but they never did secure a proper label deal. The band broke up in the early '90s, and as far as I know, Penna is the one member who has kept working as a musician in the years since.