16 January 2014

Pointless video post – ‘Redemption’ by Queensrÿche (with Todd La Torre) and ‘Anyone Can Be a Hero’ by Crystal Ball

After one of the messier, more dramatic and litigious of band break-ups in 2012 (enough Blabbermouth fodder to make Tarja’s departure from Nightwish look like a downright friendly tiff by comparison), two different Queensrÿches showed up to produce two duelling album releases. It’s brutally clear who won that shootout, and it wasn’t the quicker draw. The Queensrÿche featuring three-fifths of the old crew plus Parker Lundgren and Todd La Torre cleaned house with a short and punchy release featuring some solidly retro power-metal offerings like ‘Redemption’ above. The catchy, wailing chorus line comes straight off their early work, too, as though Todd is channelling the Tate of 30 years ago. The lyrics are also quite noteworthy; Geoff Tate’s having left the band on the worst of possible terms hasn’t made the ‘Rÿche any less pissed-off at big media and big business, it seems. Definitely some shades of Operation: Mindcrime here, and not just in the twin-guitar riff attacks. Reminds me why I fell in love with the ‘Rÿche in the first place. Search and you’ll find the answer, indeed!

Speaking of catchy, Swiss eurockers Crystal Ball have serendipitously surfaced on my sonar, so to speak. This is some truly fine power-tinged hard rock, and hell if their new guy Steve Mageney doesn’t sound like the love child of Andi Deris and Thomas Laasch (just enough grit to keep things interesting) rocking out to an accompaniment who all clearly listened to ‘The Final Countdown’ one or fifty too many times. I say this with the greatest affection, by the way. ‘Anyone Can Be a Hero’ is brilliant in its elegant simplicity, an upbeat ‘80’s-style stand-up-and-be-counted arena-rock anthem that simply doesn’t get old. Dawnbreaker, from whence this song comes, is a bit more diverse in its sound, and crosses over into power metal and even straight-up ACCEPT-style ADH at several points, but they’re at their best when they stick to their hair-metal guns, cheese and all, as here. And no, I won’t be getting that haircut; thanks for asking.

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