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Oh, would you look at that. Krypteria bounced back from releasing one of the worst pop-metal albums of all time by releasing one of their best. Again. I seem to recall this exact same thing happening back in 2007 when Bloodangel's Cry beat In Medias Res into the dust as this album does to My Fatal Kiss, further proving that these guys can actually put out some decent power/gothic metal, with those nice symphonic touches, when they feel like it. Well, without wasting any more time, let's dive right into All Beauty Must Die.
I knew right away, from the first few seconds of "Messiah," that this album was going to be superior to its predecessor (then again, these first few seconds were already better than the entire previous album, with a very 80s Priest-style whammy bar build-up note leading into an up-tempo rocker of a tune with ample catchiness for all to enjoy). It actually gets quite intense--we're only on the first track, and I've already got high hopes! Ji-in delivers one hell of a performance with her dynamic vocals, going into a low tenor at times and reaching up to a soprano during the post-chorus, and we get one of the best solos the group have ever written. Bitchin' tune. Our next song, "As I Slowly Bleed" is pretty generic--a disappointment after a rockin' opener, but it's still decent and harmless enough to keep your attention. And, like the group's discography in general, "Fly Away with Me" brings the upbeat catchiness back in droves, using its choral and orchestral touches to great effect. 2 for 3 so far, and that's a good sign.
"You Killed Me" is about as terrible as its title suggests. Not only are Ji-in's vocals more nasally than usual, but the song itself is a mid-paced key-of-C whinefest with chugga chug chug guitars, bland vocal lines, and bare-bones drumming. NEXT! "Live to Fight Another Day" is the exact same thing, with a catchier chorus and a slower tempo. 2 for 5, guys. Playing the same lethargic power chord repeatedly in bursts of 3 or 4 notes does not constitute a riff. But hey! "Eyes of a Stranger" and "Thanks for Nothing" inject some much-needed energy into this lackluster middle section, doing away with the chugs and bringing back some actual riffs, frenetic basslines, and drumming that brings Motorhead's speed metal work to mind. 4 for 7.
"Turn the World Around" is a pretty rockin' arena-friendly tune, with yet another intense sing-along chorus, but "Higher" brings us back into the depths of mediocrity with its sluggish pace and dull...dullness (it'd be great to hear distinguishable notes from those guitars, guys). "Victoria" is a great little epic, with powerful vocals and riffing and orchestral pieces--no complaints here. "(How Can Something So Good) Hurt So Bad" is a terribly generic ballad that offers nothing new or interesting, giving the impression that it was intended for easy listening radio with its utter lack of heavy guitars, and even the drummer sounds like he's counting not the beat of the song, but the time remaining before he can leave the room and vomit. 6 for 11 so far. Will Krypteria get their act together and save themselves?
Luckily for us, yes they do. "The Eye Collector" is a very nice dark, epic track, proving my point in my other Krypteria reviews that the group is at their best when they step out of the 4-minute-song comfort zone and just work at making something awesome.. Starting off with some atmospheric low orchestral swells and a pretty unsettling riff paired with pretty unsettling vocal lines, they proceed to deliver everything from hard-pounding riffs to soaring choral vocals...hell, they even manage to flawlessly weave Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata" into the mix, and it makes the whole thing that much better. And then, near the end, everyone in the studio (apparently) begins chanting "Follow me! Follow me! Follow me!" and it's infectious as all hell, and when the band begins building up the intensity, it just becomes one of the best things this group has ever managed to create. Great song. This would normally be a 7 out of 12, but "The Eye Collector" is over 11 minutes long, so I'm calling it a 9 out of 14, which means this album is a success, overall.
Oh, and for those of us who got the special edition, we have remakes of "Get the Hell Out of My Way" and "Liberatio," as well as a tune called "Come Hell or High Water" (which sounds like a national anthem, really). Long story short, the remakes are much improved over their original versions, which were present on the Liberatio album way back when. And the 3rd track is pretty cool, despite the fact I can't shake the feeling I've heard it somewhere before. Good bonus stuff. Get them if you can.
And there you have it. ONCE AGAIN, Krypteria releases a good-but-not-quite-great power/gothic metal album, with a few subpar tracks of course, after one of their worst. See what happens when you bring back the choir and the orchestra, guys? It's like a roller coaster, really, and it's getting a little too predictable. Let's just enjoy this victory before 2012 brings us the next worst album in Krypteria's catalogue.