Круиз – Kruiz
Greetings, and welcome to the first installment of Kylie’s Classic Corner, where I’ll be discussing and reviewing classic metal albums from bands that don’t qualify for an official Black Wind Metal artist rewind! (Shall I steal from Wolfsbane and say it’s “lifestyles of the broke and obscure?”)
A bit of a history lesson here: Kruiz (either translated to Cruise or transliterated from Cyrillic as Kruiz…I’ll be using the transliterated version from here on out, because they’re not a calypso or surf band) was formed in Moscow in 1978 as a typical AOR band by Alexander Monin. Apparently, he upset the Soviet government, and the government forced them to disband! (In Soviet Russia, government protests music!) They regrouped, this time led by guitarist Valeriy Gaina, and broke up after one album. Then, in 1985, with Gaina on vocals and guitar, Fyodor Vasiliev on bass, and Sergei Efimov on drums, they formed a NEW band called Kruiz, this time as a speed metal outfit! Their second album was recorded while on tour with Rage in West Germany in 1988, and that is where we’ll start talking about the music.
It’s obvious that Gaina was a major Helloween freak, as Kruiz bears serious resemblance to Walls Of Jericho, although with more Tchaikovsky and less Wagnerian influence, and a bit more thrash metal (although at this point in history, there wasn’t much of a difference between metal subgenres, as even Possessed’s and Death’s debuts were still very much thrash metal, so calling for a line between late 80s speed, thrash, and power metal would be absurd!).
The opener, “Knight Of The Road” sets the tone for the entire album. After a brief intro, it kicks in with a screaming guitar lead and absolutely blistering riffs. Valeriy Gaina does an amazing job playing both Glenn Tipton and KK Downing throughout the album, with both scattered fills and regular guitar solos (“Intro” from Круиз-1 really shows off his lead playing) and both wild soloing and technical shredding.
“The Avenger” is the only non-speed track here, being the mid-tempo epic metal song (although it has the thrash break near the end of the song, and “Possessed” has the very Judas Priest-esque intro and the slow down in the mid-section, the only real breaks from what stands as one of the overall fastest albums ever recorded). The standouts are the blistering and epic “Knight Of The Road” and the song that had a video (!) and was even a minor hit on MTV (!!!) “In Flames.” “In Flames” is among my absolute favorite speed metal tracks of all time, catchy as hell, fast, awesome riffs, and a great singalong chorus. The album contains the original Russian lyrics version of “In Flames” as well (the album was originally written and released as a demo with Russian lyrics, however “В Огон” on the official release has still has the distorted “Completely kills the light!” in English, so it was an overdub).
So what we have here is a rapid fire supersonic assault that manages to be catchy as hell, like an album loaded with half a dozen variations of “Eagle Fly Free” and a condensed “Keeper Of The Seven Keys.” It’s an excellent example of what a speed metal band not hailing from Deutschland could do. Kruiz is a great album lost in the shuffle of thousands of emerging speed metal acts in the late 80s, but still stands the test of time.
Kylie’s rating: 4.75 out of 5