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Wednesday 14 September 2016

Reviews: Crystal Ball, RSJ, We Are Catalyst (Reviews By Stief)

Crystal Ball : Deja Voodoo (Nuclear Blast)

This is the ninth album from this swiss quintet and it's a brilliant slice of melodic hard rock, with doses of power metal thrown in. With great head banging riffs right from the outset, it's obvious the band know exactly what they're doing. Steven Mageney has a great voice, one with a slightly sinister roughness to it, but it only adds to the band's overall sound.

The album has it all, ballads (Home Again & To Be With You Once More), full on power metal (Full Disclosure & Dr Hell No) and the aforementioned hard rock (Reaching Out & Without A Net). The background organs in certain songs, the sound of Mageney's voice and the lyrics mix to create a dark, haunted-house sort of atmosphere, an excellent album, definitely one to consider putting on during a Halloween party. Keep up the great work guys! 9/10

RSJ - Giant Glenn (Copro Records)

The title track of this fourth outing from the York group holds nothing back; a slow, chugging freight train of noise, caving your eardrums in ready for the onslaught of Fuck Off Joe. What follows is a great chunk of metalcore goodness, the band effortlessly changing from heavy-as-f*ck riffing to more subtle atmospheric sounding stuff, often within the same song. There are a few points for breathing room before the band tear into another storm of noise. 

One example is Dear John, which samples Joan Jett's Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction speech, in which she talks about music and its effect on politics and the world. Dan Cook's vicious growls, backed up by Matthew Gamblin and 'Guff' Thomas, they are the core of the band's brutal sound with Gamblin's sludgy bass work supported by Greg parsons on drums to create a brutal base for the excellent guitar work of Thomas and Dan Kentley. Overall, it's a brilliant album, and an excellent example of what great metal is. 9/10

We Are The Catalyst - Elevation (Ferocity Records)

This is the second album from this Swedish quartet, and it's a good one. During opening song Delusion, you can tell that lead singer Cat Fey has a great voice, although it seems at points she's pushing it too much, and takes some getting used to. However, throughout the rest of the album, she seems to settle back into a more comfortable vocal range. Fey is supported by Kenny Boufadene who, when clean singing, is a great backup to Fey's dramatic voice.

However, Boufadene's growls leave a lot to be desired, often jarring enough to take you away from the songs. His guitar playing is brilliant however, and he's supported by HÃ¥kan Strind on drums, and Joni Kaartinen on bass. The band's overall sound ranges from heavy and hard hitting like in A Million Claws to melodic and soft in songs such as Life Equals Pain. Great album, slightly let down by dodgy vocals in places. 7/10

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