Cryonic Temple - Immortal 3/5

Reviewed: 12-5-08





Tracklist:

1. Immortal
2. Standing tall
3. Where sadness never rests
4. Beg me
5. Freedom calling
6. Fear of the rage
7. Time
8. Fight to survive
9. Train of destruction
10. As I sleep
11. Departure


A lot has happened for Swedish metal band Cryonic Temple since their last CD, entitled ‘In thy power’ and released in 2005. For starters, there has been a massive clean out within the band, with just 2 members still in the line-up from their previous CD. Both members are the 2 original guitarists, Leif Collin and Esa Ahonen. Entertaining vocalist Johan Johansson, aka Glen Metal, left the band along with drummer Sebastian Olsson, Bassist Jan Cederlund and keyboardist Janne Soderlund.

Filling those vacant positions are vocalist Magnus Thurin, bassist Björn Svensson and drummer Hans Karlin. Cryonic Temple’s change of personnel has not included a keyboardist for their latest CD, called ‘Immortal’. The band has also gone to a new record label, Metal Heaven, after their previous 2 releases with LMP/SPV. Finally, with the new influx of musicians comes a new direction, sound-wise for this metal band.

With ‘Chapter 1’, ‘Blood, guts & glory’ and ‘In thy power’ being fantasy power metal (knights, warriors, dragons, swords, fighting, etc), this new CD has put an end to what we have known Cryonic Temple to be. Whatever the reason, this new line-up for Cryonic Temple have severely changed their style; going for a more modern heavy metal sound, just a bit more aggressive than the norm, plus hints of power metal thrown into the mix. What once was unmistakably Cryonic Temple, with Glen Metal at the helm and their signature sound, has now become something that we’ve all heard before, something that doesn’t stand out amongst the rest. This band has obviously chosen the safe method here.

The new vocalist Magnus Thurin is a decent singer, who reminds me a lot of Andy B. Franck from Brainstorm; and also a cross between Zach Stevens (Circle II Circle) and Ronny Hemlin (Steel Attack). I feel, however, that he doesn’t have enough range in his vocals. Although Thurin has some melody in his voice, his method of deliverance is typical; sticking to his strengths, which is mid-high pitched shouting. Music-wise, as mentioned earlier, Cryonic Temple are now much more aggressive, with every track on the CD bar 2, a fierce a double-bass fest with fast “in your face” shredding of the guitars.

This new style does have its flaws, as the songwriting and end result of most of the songs on ‘Immortal’ sound quite similar to one another. There is hardly any diversity between the tracks and none of the songs really catch your ear the first time round. Yes, there are some great tracks and some poor ones too, and the guitar shredding, chunky riffs and beefed up solos will appeal to a lot of fans. The bottom line is that Cryonic Temple still have a few kinks to work out in their new sound and songwriting in general.

The tracks which I feel are the best of the bunch are “Where sadness never rests”; a long 6-minute track, which contains a great galloping riff and is the most melodic track on the whole CD. It is also Magnus Thurin’s best performance vocally. “Fear of the rage” is a fast track fitting of its title, with a top opening riff and scream from Thurin after the slow intro. The track also has a memorable chorus and solo. “Fight to survive” is a guitar-driven track, with riffs sounding almost borderline modern thrash. It has a nice feel and flow, with another melodic solo worth waiting for. And finally “Train of destruction”, contains a riff from Leif Collin and Esa Ahonen which reminded me of the old-sounding Cryonic Temple. In fact the song as a whole is the closest to anything reminiscent of the original sound of Cryonic Temple.

Overall, I must say that personally I am a little disappointed that Cryonic Temple have changed their style so dramatically, and to change it to something where now they sound like any other modern aggressive heavy metal band. Obviously there is a huge market in this genre of metal where the band can grab new fans and I understand their reasons for doing so. But by doing this, they have also cast aside all remnants of the original sounding Cryonic Temple, much like Paradise Lost, when they completely changed their style after ‘Draconian times’. As for the CD itself, I must say that ‘Immortal’ is good, but not great. Like I said before, the band needs to iron out a few things before continuing down their current musical pathway. Fans of Cryonic Temple may take a while to get used to their new sound, while fans of modern aggressive heavy metal such as Brainstorm, Steel Attack and Mystic Prophecy will relish ‘Immortal’.



SEAN




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