Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Crystal Ball - Liferider (2015)

Genre - Melodic Rock / Melodic Metal
Track listing:
01. Mayday!
02. Eye To Eye
03. Paradise
04. Balls Of Steel
05. Hold Your Flag
06. Gods Of Rock
07. Take It All
08. Bleeding
09. Rock Of Life
10. Antidote
11. LifeRider
12. Memory Run
13 - Sacred Heart (Dio Cover) (Bonus Track)
14 - Sign Of The Southern Cross (Black Sabbath Cover)(Bonus Track)
15 - Not Like You (Bonus Track)

After a 6-year hiatus they returned in 2013 with new vocalist and another solid record, and now two years later,  the guys are back with "Liferider", maintaining their unique blend of melodic edgy rock and hard rock groove.
Indeed, Crystal Ball's music is planted on the harder side of the melodic hard rock spectrum, sometimes pretty metallised but always melodious.
Heavy riffs abound on "Liferider" fortified by a rather thick rhythm section. Even so, melody and harmony does not take a back seat to any of this.
All these things come through within 'Mayday', 'Gods Of Rock', 'Antidote', and the quite catchy 'Eye To Eye', featuring Battle Beast’s Noora Louhimo. But this song may remind of something else as it has a strong melodic metal vibe.
You're likely to catch more of this with the title track, 'Liferider', and 'Balls Of Steel', both of which have a heavy and brisk pace.
There's a super catchy number in 'Paradise', while Crystal Ball's more Melodic Hard Rock side is expressed on 'Bleeding' and 'Memory Run'.
There's great guitar and vocal melodies, and an overall positively charged fun ride. What I really love is the variety presented on this disc, each song is interesting and has it's own personality while the overall disc stays very coherent.
Amongst the many formats available you get two of the best cover versions that I have ever heard. Crystal Ball's cover of Scared Heart is powerful, capturing the magic of the original, often overlooked Dio classic, and their version of  Sign Of The Southern Cross is quite simply the best cover of a Black Sabbath song that I have ever heard, especially adding the piano to the songs opening really adds to its power and atmosphere.

If you are going to check out one melodic rock / metal album this year make sure that its this one!

Very Highly Recommended

Rating - 10/10

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