Crystal Ball – LifeRider – Release date May 22nd, 2015 (June 23rd, 2015 in North America)
Along with one of my other favourite Swiss bands, (Gotthard) I have found another great band. Their 8th studio album LifeRider is quite a ride as I’ve been listening to this album. Hard Rock / Melodic Rock at its finest. With 12 new tracks that got you singing and rocking, plus 3 bonus tracks including a cover of the legend Ronnie James Dio.
Band members; Steven Mageney (vocals) with his 2nd album, original members Scott Leach on guitar and Marcel Sardella on drums. Cris Stone is on bass with his 2nd album and brand new to the band is Tony “T.C.” Castell on guitar.
“Mayday!” – Right away, the album starts off with a bang. A great edgy anthem to crank up and rock out. Another powerful anthem type track is the 5th track “Hold Your Flag” which I think would be great as a single.
“Eye To Eye” – A great heavy melodic rock track featuring a duet with Battle Beast lead singer Noora Louhimo.
“Paradise” – A powerful track with a catchy chorus. This is followed similarly by “Balls of Steel” which is a little heavier with great guitar work.
The great songs just keep rocking on this release. “Gods Of Rock”, “Take It All”. Then we slow things down with the ballad “Bleeding”, putting the acoustic guitar to work and showing what a great addition Steven has brought to this band.
Right back where we left off before the amazing ballad we get back into the hard rock with “Rock Of Life”, “Antidote”, and the title track “LifeRider”.
“Memory Run” – Starting off with a Spanish feel on the acoustic guitar and keyboard it then kicks into the full band. This is a slower track reminding me of a Judas Priest ballad. A very powerful feeling with an outstanding vocal performance.
“Sacred Heart” – A song that I have always loved from the great Ronnie James Dio. Could they do justice to this masterpiece? Yes, they have done Dio proud. To be able to cover a legend like Ronnie takes a lot of heart. Many bands have done it and this one sits up top for me as one of my favourite Dio songs.
“Sign Of The Southern Cross” – Another cover, this time of the legendary band Black Sabbath. Well done but not a highlight for me on this album.
“Not Like You” – A great track to finish off this rocking album to close it off.
Overall this is just a great hard rock release and a must to have for any fan, or if you are new to this band as I am, then fans of Gotthard, Shakra, Pretty Maids and Pink Cream 69 would also enjoy this release.
Shawn “Animalize” Irwin