Crystal Ball - LifeRider
Massacre Records
Classic Hard-Rock
15 songs (69'21)
Release year: 2015
Crystal Ball, Massacre Records
Reviewed by Chris
Album of the month

Crystal Ball, the Swiss Hard-Rock band has delivered some really great albums in the past, but I never really got glued to their albums except in passing, at least not as much as I was with bands like Gotthard or Shakra (to name other Swiss bands in the same genre). This however, is about to change.

Let's say LifeRider made one hell of an impression. After the amazing Eclipse album (also reviewed this week by yours truly), I didn't think I would get another slab of Hard-Rock of a similar caliber so soon. This album is pure, unadulterated joy for fans of good old Hard Rock. 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 great and has it's own personality while the overall disc stays very coherent. The duet with Battle Beast's singer Eye to Eye is also a welcome addition, and one hell of a song if you ask me. Alright, so vocals are pretty good overall, very fitting to the genre, reminding me old Gotthard days, and while I love them just fine I still think it's the one thing that can still be improved in the future, but I should mention that I am really nitpicking here. We have an expression in French, it's called "enculeur de mouche", not-so loosely translated that means "fly fucker". Besides being anatomically impossible the mental image this provokes is somehow a funny way we have in French to say nitpick, wouldn't you agree :) ? Back to the music, there are no weak tracks on this album, except maybe the mid-tempo Sign of the Southern Cross (A Black Sabbath cover, which might explain it for me) but then it's one of the three bonus songs of the Digipack release (which happens to be the promo I got) and god knows I am always very critical with mid-tempos as a rule (don't ask me why). Songs like the opener Mayday!, the super catchy Paradise, the heavier Balls of Steel, or every song after that in fact is simply a pure melodic pleasure. Other of my favorites include Take It All, Antidote and the third bonus track Not Like You, a straight forward Hard 'N Heavy romper. The two ballads Bleeding and Memory Run are good songs as well, if a little formulaic of the genre, still I enjoyed them greatly. Memory Run is definitely my favorite of the two though and it's chorus reminds me of some old good Grave Digger tunes.

So there you have it. It's not the best produced album I've listened these days, but it somehow helps the album with that pure 80's feeling that the songs evoke. Don't get me wrong the production is fine, but a tighter, clearer and punchier sound might have given this album even more panache. But again a fly is having its butt hole hurt right now as we speak :). My congratulations to Crystal Ball for such a great album, it makes me want to revisit their entire discography. Looking forward to hear more quality tunes in their future as well

Killing Songs :
Mayday!, Eye to Eye, Paradise, Balls of Steel, Gods of Rock, Hold Your Flag, Take it All, Memory Run & Not Like You.
Chris quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Crystal Ball that we have reviewed:
Crystal Ball - Time Walker reviewed by Mike and quoted 80 / 100
Crystal Ball - Hellvetia reviewed by Mike and quoted 81 / 100
Crystal Ball - Virtual Empire reviewed by Mike and quoted 90 / 100
Crystal Ball - Hard Impact reviewed by Danny and quoted 97 / 100
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