Crystal Tears - Hellmade - (6/10)
Published on May 4, 2014
For such a delicate band name, Greek power metallers Crystal Tears are anything but. Fronted via the largely enjoyable Søren Nico Adamsen – who you may well recognize from Artillery, Crystal Eyes, or Inmoria – the band play an aggressive blend of traditional and power metal, which at times steps into the boundaries of extreme metal, via harsh vocals and some melodic death metal style passages. As a result some of the material here is without doubt deserving of the title Hellmade, although the melody refuses to take a backseat throughout.
In context of their contemporaries I’d say Crystal Tears remind a fair bit of modern, Ronny Hemlin fronted Tad Morose, as well as springing acts like Mystic Prophecy or the aforementioned Inmoria to mind. It’s really not much of a surprise that this is on Massacre records, and I’d say Hellmade is very much a characteristic release of that label. You won’t find anything which necessarily breaks the mold, nor will you find a contender for your exclusive end of year list; you will, however, find some solid music which would be ideal for a car journey/bus ride/morning run/work out, and so on so forth.
The material throughout Hellmade’s brisk forty minutes straddles the line between speedy, aggressive numbers, and melodic anthems which recall the Swedish regional power metal scene. Whilst Crystal Tears are hardly the finest at crafting either particular sound, the command of the material is naught to sniff at. Expertly performed, and awarded a degree enjoyment which may well stretch further than the material itself, thanks to Søren’s killer vocal performance, as well as some undeniably excellent lead guitar playing.
I definitely prefer the more anthemic side of the band, and it’s a side they could further expand upon to winning effect. The vast majority of the songs which leave a lasting impression all apply to that approach, particularly in the case of “Psycho Pollution” which weaves happening guitar lines throughout a straight-forward song structure in deft fashion; showcasing all the skill housed between members, even in some admittedly standard, rhythmic vocal lines.
Still, the speedy numbers are good enough, just a little too obvious/generic for my palate – although I’m sure a fair many would find enjoyment. On the whole, I can’t say Hellmade ranks among the finer albums I’ve heard in its style as of late – not bad by any stretch – though, I can’t say I’ll be coming back to it much, if at all. If modernized power metal with a strong dosage of venom sounds good to you, then I’d suggest giving this one a listen, and I think genre buffs will want to at least hear the more melodic cuts.