Album Reviews

Crystal Tears – Decadence Deluxe Review

Released By: Pride & Joy Music

Release Date: May 18th, 2018

Genre: Heavy/Power Metal

Links: http://crystaltearsofficial.webs.com/

 

Line Up:

Søren Adamsen – Vocals

Kostas Sotos – Guitars

Máté Nagy – Guitars

Alex Chamalides – Bass

Chrisafis Tantanozis – Drums

 

Tracklist:

1. Evil Vs. Evil

2. Blindead

3. Heart of a Lion

4. Where Angels Die

5. Death Haunts Forever

6. My Own Hell

7. Bleeding Me

8. Chaos Thy Name

9. Sick of It All

10. Dear Insanity

11. Tears for the Dead

12. I’m 18

13. Tie Your Mother Down

 

There are some albums that can take several listens to fully sink in, before opening up and revealing themselves to be amazing, as well as some that blow you away right from the first listen. With these kinds of albums, it’s easy to be left thinking about them constantly in between listens, as they’re simply so good you need to hear them again as soon as possible. Then there are other albums that manage to be consistently fun and enjoyable every time they’re played, but they never manage to go beyond that, never leaving much of a lasting impression. Such is the case with the latest from Crystal Tears, a band I discovered in 2014 with their third full-length album, Hellmade. It was along those lines being an entertaining album of fun, catchy heavy metal songs that I remember enjoying back when the album first came out, but over the years, I have forgotten pretty much everything about the album, with none of the songs sticking with me over time. Now with their fourth full-length album, Decadence Deluxe, the band has again made a solid album, that keeps me entertained every time I play it, but I get the impression I won’t be remembering most of these tracks too much in another year or two.

Stylistically, this album is a slight departure from Hellmade, as I remember that album mostly being classic heavy metal, with a slightly modern twist, as well as the occasional power metal influences, where Decadence Deluxe is an evener balance between heavy metal and modern power metal, maybe even pushing further towards the latter than the former. Expect some hard hitting, at times thrashy riffs, big choruses with nice melodies, killer guitar solos and consistently fast-paced, catchy songs, with a strong focus on the vocals. The band certainly wastes no time here, as if you subtract the two bonus live tracks, the release clocks in at under 40 minutes with 11 full-length songs, and so every song goes by very quickly, with the album flowing nicely from one highlight to another. Of course, the flip side to this is because the tracks are so short, they can blend together if the songwriting isn’t brilliant, and while a band like Sabaton or Powerwolf can pull this off wonderfully, Crystal Tears haven’t quite done that here, with a few songs sticking out as clear highlights, while the rest tend to blend together, some of which I barely even remember at all in between listens, which obviously isn’t a good sign. It’s certainly an easy album to play several times in a row, though, so I guess there’s a bit of trade-off to it. Sound wise, all performances are strong and the production is perfectly done, being powerful enough while also feeling very polished and well balanced.

One big strength of these past two albums has been the vocals, as Søren Adamsen has a very distinct and powerful voice that fits the heavier material especially well, with an often deep and aggressive voice that brings out the heaviness quite nicely, while still being able to tone it down a bit and shine during the more melodic portions. I’ve heard him sing with a few different bands before, and I think Crystal Tears is definitely a great fit for him, as their music takes full advantage of the different aspects of his voice, while also letting him showcase his more aggressive vocals a lot.

The one area where this album does well but doesn’t blow me away is in the songwriting. As I said above, this is a consistently enjoyable album, with a few particular tracks that stand above the rest as being memorable and more exciting, while the remaining tracks are enjoyable, but don’t leave much of an impression. There certainly aren’t any weak tracks, at least on the main part of the album, so there’s certainly nothing momentum killing here, which is a plus. I just think maybe they could have done something a bit more ambitious for one or two tracks, to do something that would be a bit more special than most tracks here.

Moving on to the highlights, opening track “Evil Vs. Evil” is a fast-paced, hard-hitting thrash infused power metal track that wastes no time in showcasing its vicious riffs during its opening verse, while Søren shines throughout, especially during the fun and addictive chorus, and the guitar solo in the second half is quite awesome as well. Overall, it’s a fun track with a ton of energy to it, and it’s definitely one of my favorites here. The next big highlight is “Heart of a Lion”, a more mid-paced track with some nice melodic lead guitar work. It’s a heavier metal based track, with some slight hard rock touches. It moves along at a nice pace, has fun verses and a huge, super melodic chorus where the vocals really shine, and it’s probably the best chorus on the album. Musically it’s a bit light, but the guitar solo in the second half is great, and it’s definitely a nice change of pace from most tracks on the album. Right after that track is “Where Angels Die”, a more typical sounding power metal track, moving at a very fast pace with nice melodic guitar leads, fun verses where the vocals are soft but still intense, and it has another great chorus. Another very speedy track is “Chaos Thy Name”, possibly the heaviest track on the album, moving at a frantic pace with some pretty thrashy guitar work, and even the chorus has some very intense vocals, while the instrumental section is quick but very fun. Definitely another one of my favorites here. One last highlight is “Tears for the Dead”, another very hard-hitting, speedy track where the riffs have a slightly sinister tone to them and are very intense during the verses and instrumental section, though the chorus is actually very melodic and has some of the best vocal lines on the album. It certainly closes the album out nicely.

Among the remaining tracks, there’s a nice amount of variety, with softer, slower tracks like the power ballad “Bleeding Me”, as well as the slightly heavier but still melodic and slow paced “Dear Insanity” offering a bit of break from the heavier, more intense material, while tracks like “Blindead”, “Death Haunts Forever”, “My Own Hell” and “Sick of It All” deliver more of the heavy, speedy power metal sound found on most of the highlights I mentioned, though they never quite managed to grab me in the way any of those songs did, with the last of those, in particular, feeling a bit generic at points, though it’s still a solid enough track, overall.

One last thing that has to be mentioned is that the album contains two bonus live acoustic tracks in “I’m 18” and “Tie Your Mother Down”. The first of these is a decent enough softer track, while the latter is performed decently, but the chorus simply gets on my nerves after a while. Suffice to say, I usually skip past them when I listen to the album, though I guess they’re a nice bonus for fans interested in that kind of thing, and they don’t affect my overall rating for the album in any way.

Overall, Decadence Deluxe is an another solid, but not particularly memorable album from Crystal Tears, who have injected a bit of a thrashier, more power metal infused sound into most of their songs this time around, while still having some of the classic heavy metal sound found on past album. It’s an album I doubt I’ll be talking about much in the future, but it’s certainly fun for several listens and can be recommended to fans of heavy metal and power metal who prefer something a bit heavier than most bands in either genre.

 

Written by: Travis Green

Ratings:  7/10

 

Tell Us How You Feel

Comments