Crystal Tears – Hellmade
Reviewed by Arno Callens
Søren Nico Adamsen loves crystal. Eyes, tears, next thing you know he’ll be adding vipers to that list. The singer whom articles keep referring to as having sung in “Artillery” is known much more to me as the guy who suitably replaced Daniel Heiman in Crystal Eyes and assisted in making Dead City Dreaming and Chained the underrated classics that they are. Last heard on Serpent Saints’ All Things Metal and Dignity’s questionable Balance Of Power, Adamsen is back into crystal (wait for it) and it brings tears (get it?) to our eyes (oh yeah!).
Tears of joy, that is, because Crystal Tears is the Greek answer to Mystic Prophecy. Especially the Mystic Prophecy of yore, where every album wasn’t yet a contest to cram the song title into the chorus as much as possible. I’m kidding, but Hellmade had our souls positively savage and our angels afire. It must be the hardest thing to hit Greece since a) the kraken, or b) the banking crisis. Or both combined. The thought of a banking kraken would sure make the loan sharks tremble.
“Destination Zero” kicks off this monster with riffs like rippling waves of awesome. Adamsen may be a little rougher than when he was riding the rainbow, but that pre-chorus gives me fist-pumping chills every effing time. Ironically, the chorus is a title-repeating one, which makes my Mystic Prophecy-joke from earlier seem even more pointless. Sorry about that. Similar outbursts of Teutonic fury are packed into “Resurrection Suicide” and “Violent New Me”, the latter having such a blistering riff that it made my ear buds disintegrate even faster than those blasted things do anyway. Turns out it isn’t just the country of Greece that owes a large debt to Germany, ha!
Subtler material – if not less badass – comes in the form of “The Devil Inside” and “Under Your Skin”, which take more time to let the melodies unfold before segueing into another Spartan guitar assault. More radio-friendly are the video/single “Out Of The Shadows” and the bizarre-but-catchy cover of “Beds Are Burning”, originally by Midnight Oil. The cuts fly by fast, making a few repeat listens necessary to realize that every song I didn’t mention is worth mentioning as well. And for those of you who were starting to worry: there is a rock/metal-anthem in the form of “Rock n Growl”, which pretty much rounds everything out.
Hellmade was made in a studio, not in hell, but you could have fooled us. Crystal Tears deserves a small round of applause for employing Adamsen alone, but a standing ovation for using him to his full capacity. Well, near-full, anyway. This ain’t no Crystal Eyes, but it’s a hellmade of a lot better than Serpent Saints and Dignity. Fans of Mystic Prophecy or power metal with balls in general should find this to their liking, and now Crystal Viper just needs to fire their vocalist in order to make the trilogy complete.
4.0 // 5