VENGEANCE - Crystal Eye

Vengeance - Crystal Eye

11 songs
44:19 minutes
*****
Steamhammer / SPV

Bandpage

Vengeance just don’t know to let go. The band was founded in 1982 and even broke up for some years around the turn of the millennium. But then they got back together, and Crystal Eye is now the third album since their comeback six years ago. All in all, this is the ninth studio album by the Dutch hard rock legend that even without guitar god Arjen Lucassen still sounds like they always used to. The band was hit severely in early 2011 when guitarist Jan Somers passed away after a heart attack. They honoured his memory with the short Jans End Piece, concluding the album with a short live cut of one of his guitar solos. His son also has a guest part on the album, and the cover artwork is also based on a motif designed by the late Mr Somers. These are all very nice gestures!

But let’s move on now to the album itself. I have to admit that even as a teenager, I never really got into albums like Take It Or Leave It and Arabia. Vengeance were always a little too soft for me. As I mentioned earlier, not much has changed since their big days. Vocalist Leon Goewie is the only remaining original member, and probably trying hard to make his band sound like their fans came to love them. The opener Me And You is a nicely done straightforward track that sounds totally out of time, and even has a certain, undeniable charm. Unfortunately not all tracks can keep up with this piece. Especially whenever they cut back the pace, which alas happens all too often, the songs turn into harmlessness. Promise Me for instance sounds like a Bon Jovi ballad, and the single Barbeque also doesn’t have much to show for itself. The cheesy Missing is another track I could very well have lived without. The band managed to hire two guest writers, which shows, as their songs are somewhat different. Former Black Sabbath vocalist Tony Martin is responsible for the cult track Whole Lotta Metal which reminds a little of Guns N’Roses before heading into bluesier territory. Arjen Lucassen seems to have decided to turn back to his roots with the title track which starts quite dramatically in a certain Jon Oliva vein before then losing steam all too quickly.

You will find some crunchy rockers on Crystal Eye, but all in all the album has turned out too mellow. Is that a reason to complain? I hardly think so, as those – like me – who were never overly fond of the band won’t be converted neither with this new album. The band’s early fans should have no problem though, but I can’t imagine the Dutch hard rockers still winning many new fans today with their rather antiquated sound.

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