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Great tunes ruined by vocals - 60%

caspian, October 10th, 2017

I'm pretty confident that just like, I dunno, War and Peace, cats, or Kant and Hegel, no one actually genuinely enjoys Crystal Logic. They like what it represents, what it's about and what their fandom of it symbolises. You like War and Peace because you want to appear real deep. You say you've read Critique of Pure Reason 'cos you desperately want to sleep with philosophy students or with your philosophy professor. You like cats because you want to tell the world that you are a ruthlessly boring dude. You like Crystal Logic because as a metal fan it is your duty to like every well meaning 80s album.

It's not like it's a terrible album, well, well it kind of is. Sorta. Let me finish. It's rubbish in the same way that a $5000 wine with a giant grogan floating in the bottle is rubbish. Suffice to say, Mark Shelton the riff writer, Mark Shelton the dude that writes the vocal melodies, he's a $5000 bottle of wine. Mark Shelton the singer is the grogan.

It could be super anthemic, it could be so good. If only the lead guitar wasn't so tinnitus inducing, if only that weird flange wasn't everywhere (is it just really bad phasing?), if only the vocals weren't so shit.

The vocals are really shit.

Like astoundingly shit. It's just real weird considering how the riffs are really well written, real catchy, kinda this garagey proto USPM sorta stuff- so clearly these guys knew what they were doing, they know what's musical, what's catchy etc etc. They can throw in cool tempo changes, they can even write a fairly OK major key rock song (I guess seeing as I liked United, I can like almost anything). But then the vocals, this inhumanely nasal whine, devoid of power, really loud in the mix, always there. It makes most of this stuff borderline unlistenable.

Necropolis is the best example. It's a really charming tune, simple but very effective riffs, catchy and very tightly written but quite atmospheric nonetheless. Except for the vocals! My god man, it's so powerless and awful and intesely nasal and recorded with possibly the brightest sounding microphone in the world. It ruins the song. It's just real weird, real weird that no one ever thought to tell the MR guys that perhaps they should find another singer- get the bassist to do it, I dunno. I find it hard to imagine that no one in the band wasn't capable of being a better singer. The guy has a good enough scream on him, I'll certainly grant him that- but we're looking at, say 80% of his vocals being fucken terrible.

I kinda liken this to Diamond Head's Lightning album. You need to find covers of the songs to enjoy them, or perhaps live versions. Basically, it's very well written stuff- top quality riffs (there's certainly a few real good riffs in practically every song) and real catchy vocal lines, but you've got shitty vocals, a confused production that doesn't know whether to be muddy, real harsh, out of phase or all three at once. Crystal Logic has some terrific songs, for sure, but in its' original form it's a historical record and has little else value