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The Swiss Survivor. - 70%

hells_unicorn, May 22nd, 2019
Written based on this version: 1998, CD, Independent (CD-r)

The period between 1995 and 1998 wherein the Swiss-born power metal band Crystal is concerned is largely obscure for anyone residing outside of the nation in question. At the time they were flying under the moniker of Cherry Pie and were exclusively a cover band, most likely focused on music dovetailing with the late 80s hair metal scene when considering the name's ubiquitous association with the infamous Warrant song. However, the tail end of this time period produced a lone studio single that suggests a somewhat different picture, one that was likely just as prone to be scored by the punk and grunge obsessed masses of the day States side. The resulting offering is a radio-friendly, largely keyboard driven anthem dedicated to Stefan Angehrn, a then well-known Cruiserweight boxer, 1998 IBF Intercontinental Champion and something of a national icon for the Swiss who's exploits in the ring pretty closely paralleled the plot line of the first two Rocky films.

As if the aforementioned string of influences left any doubt, the song known as "Eye To Eye" is pretty heavily similar to the classic Survivor song "Eye Of The Tiger" that was featured in Rocky III, all but to the point of having Mr. T chime in at some point with his iconic "I pity the poor fool" line. The introductory keyboard fanfare has all of the theatrical character of an opening credits montage from the early 80s, to the point where one might be tempted to play it while the introduction of one of the Rocky flicks might result in a sync-up comparable to the one that was hyped between Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon and The Wizard Of Oz, though the one at the beginning of Rocky IV might work the best given the more military-march vibe it gives off. The following music is a typically derivative mid-paced rock anthem, differing from the Survivor song largely by having a somewhat less thunderous vocal performance and a slightly more drawn out guitar solo.

One thing is pretty clear from this song, and it is that where they were as a cover band was probably not that far away from where they ended up on their 1999 debut In The Beginning, because this is pretty close to the sound they went with once they changed their name. It's presented here in 4 different versions, the difference between the radio edit vs. the full length version being a minuscule few seconds being chopped off the intro, which are then followed by a surround sound compatible version and an instrumental version for anyone looking to go nuts at the local karaoke bar in Copenhagen in tribute to a then national hero. It doesn't hold up quite as well as the endlessly played out Survivor songs that it paraphrases, but there are probably a few early 80s rock nostalgia hounds out there who will eat this up, and it's close enough to where the early Crystal Ball albums ended up to be agreeable with those who took to them.