Review Summary: Cryoshell has bigger things in mind than mere promotional songs.
I'm sure the LEGO fans among us link the word "Cryoshell" to "Bionicle" whenever we hear or read it. The LEGO fans among us would not be wrong: Cryoshell got its start by making songs that were used to promote LEGO's Bionicle toyline. It's hard to separate "Creeping in My Soul", "Closer to the Truth", and "Bye Bye Babylon" from their beginnings in commercials, and naturally some of us will wonder how well Cryoshell expands from its promotional past.
The answer? Cryoshell has a promising future.
The melodies in this album are very well-constructed. The majority of the songs follow a basic intro-verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus-outro
formula, but I don't feel that the formula drags the band down at all. Similarities with Evanescence
and Within Temptation
are obvious; comparisons with Skillet
(mainly their album Comatose
) come a little less readily; and the background guitars bring to mind a touch of Linkin Park
. However, Cryoshell doesn't seem to rip off the aforementioned bands, just inhabit the same musical area. Lead singer Christine Lorentzen has a very good voice that soars above the instrument mixes; the rest of the band offer sound albeit straightforward performances with their respective instruments.
String synthesizers, broken chords played on the piano, and driving background electric guitars set an eerie yet powerful mood throughout the album. Really, Cryoshell's only real weakness is in their lyrics: They range from weak attempts at poetry to straightforward and radio-ready.
The album starts on a high note with "Creeping in My Soul", which morphs from a creepy, ambient piano song to hard rock reminiscent of Evanescence and a bit of Linkin Park. "Bye Bye Babylon" continues the adrenaline, pushing Cryoshell away from Evanescence's shadow; it incorporates some guitar solos into the mix as an energetic synth string melody gives the song some extra power. These are two of Cryoshell's most known songs; the question in my mind at this point was, Will they continue the momentum?
"Trigger" does so. It's slower, but it showcases an emotional side of Lorentzen's voice. "Feed" has an odd feel to it, not to mention the lyrics sound off (more off than most of the rest of the album) but it's still decent. This brings us to the fifth song, another well-known one, "Closer to the Truth"; swamped with electric guitar and (probably synth) strings, it reminds me of Within Temptation's song "Jillian" in its originally overwhelming but ultimately underwhelming sound, like all the strings were busted out for no reason except to fill empty spaces.
If Cryoshell were to release a U.S. radio single, "Falling" would be a perfect choice: the electric guitar(s?) simmer underneath the surface for the verses and burst out for the chorus, and the message is simplistic enough for the masses to get. "The Room" begins with a great piano intro and turns out to be another catchy hard-hitter in the vein of "Falling". "Come to My Heaven" has an intense intro that leads into chant-like verses and a decent chorus, but the song as a whole sounds rather Evanescence-esque.
A short piano riff then leads into "Murky", which showcases the piano between the simmering verses and choruses until strings lead the outro; as a whole, this song has one of the most cohesive structures on the entire album. This (somewhat jarringly) leads into the quiet, piano-arpeggio-led song "No More Words", which builds from simple, silent piano to accomodate orchestral accompaniment that results in a very beautiful sound (that again draws faint comparisons to Evanescence).
Truthfully, the last two tracks leave the album feeling incomplete to me; after a song such as "Murky" leads into a quiet song like "No More Words", would not an eleventh song building up to a climax truly close the album?
That said, this album is very well-constructed for a debut. Songs like "Falling" and "The Room" feel rather radio-friendly, but not in a very uncomfortable way. "Feed" and "Closer to the Truth" are the weakest songs on the album music-wise. The lyrics aren't poetry, not yet. Yet this album is enjoyable. Even if you can draw no LEGO-related nostalgia (in my case, "Closer to the Truth" brings up some negative nostalgia), if you like Evanescence
, Within Temptation
, and a little bit of Linkin Park
, and if you like piano and symphonic elements intertwined with hard rock, you're likely to enjoy this album.
"Creeping in My Soul"
"Bye Bye Babylon"
"No More Words"