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Bad - 37%

GuntherTheUndying, February 24th, 2012

Aged and mature heavy metal/hard rock act Vengeance experienced a monumental loss nearly thirty years into the business when guitarist Jans Somers tragically passed away at the beginning of 2011. They decided to carry on with their ninth full-length album, "Crystal Eye," released a little over a year after Somers' unexpected passing. The story of perseverance and hope remains something strong, but simply put, the music isn't. This album essentially captures Vengeance running around the basic rock formula and dividing its layers into the most accessible and generic equation possible. Lacking the hooks and prose of an acceptable heavy metal/hard rock album, I can't give "Crystal Eye" anything higher than an unfavorable rating.

Now let me ask you something, oh valued reader: what do you think makes hard rock a wonderful treat? I presume you enjoy the hooks, some catchy choruses, perhaps a flashy guitar solo or two? The problem with "Crystal Eye" is that it completely attempts to match these essentials and the rest of the sleazy platter of wonderful hard rock/heavy metal, but in the process looks like a cheap knockoff of AC/DC. They start strongly with "Me and You" which openly embraces the rock-laden journey Vengeance wants to embark on, but it all becomes as piecemeal and redundant as any group of guys attempting the rock business with little to no avail, and this kind of material is about the opposite of what an experienced veteran should produce at this stage in the game.

There aren't really any standout anthems; it all just buzzes by in the same pulse. The title track adds some interesting ideas to the fold, yet it's still quite boring and useless. On the other had, the track "Barbeque" has to be one of the worst songs I've ever heard; everything about it makes me want to run away and never look back. Leon Goewie delivers a solid vocal performance despite the instrumental lackadaisicalness, and the finale "Jans End Piece" pays a very cool tribute to the fallen warrior's shredding guitar work, but these small factors can't save "Crystal Eye" from what it is, and what is it? A vapid demonstration of hard rock/heavy metal grinded down into a piece-by-piece effort that follows all the rules and does its best to be something it clearly isn't. Not my cup of tea.

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