Thursday, August 19, 2010


Our friends at Roxx Records have offered another treat from the past. Crystavox, were a melodic metal band from the Southern California area circa 1988-1991. Bringing elements of Skid Row, The Bulletboys and the attitude of Van Halen, Crystavox were the real deal, however not being content with just putting out the same recording from 20+ years ago, Roxx has given us a completely re-mastered album.

Re-mastering will usually give a chance to breathe a little new life into a release. Perhaps certain audio frequencies were absent or overdone in the original releases. The volume is generally enhanced as well, which will contribute to the overall listening experience of the fans. Yet even more work was done to this special recording,

'These tracks have been completely remastered and totally redone; new guitars, drums and an over-sampling method vastly increasing the mastered volume of each song to today’s standards making for an optimal sound that brings these tracks straight in to the modern day.' Roxx Website

Such is the case with the release of Crystavox – the 20 Year Mix. Eight tracks were taken from their sophomore effort ‘The Bottom Line’ and the remaining four were taken from their self titled debut. They've never sounded this good!

Listening to this album I really think these songs have stood up rather well, especially in comparison to some of the recent releases by Liberty N Justice or Line of Fire. With oodles of energy and swing Crystavox offered a high quality listening experience, no lack of chops here. Quick melodic rockers throughout this 12 song compilation provide a great summer time listening experience.

Break Down the Walls and Stick to Your Guns are my favorite tracks here, lots of energy and melody that will stick to you like glue. The mid tempo’d slice and dice on The 20 Year Mix is rather catchy. However the bands one attempt at a fast more straight metal tune, Paradise, leaves me flat; almost like the song wasn’t finished.

No album from this time period would be complete without a few power ballads, Home Again and No Boundaries fit the bill nicely. Home Again scored a bit of radio play back in the day and Roxx was trying to bring that back again by issuing that as the first single. You can see the lighters going up in unison.

The members of the band have all gone on to other endeavors, but have all thrown their support behind this release. It’s a good thing too, because the quality here is not to be missed. Roxx even included an extremely high quality DVD as well, live footage, interviews and reminiscences by the band. Vocalist Adam Lee Kemp provides some written insights as well, amongst the liner notes.

One item that did elude me is what happened to their bass player? No mention of him in the liners that I could see, yet on the DVD he’s right there. Just a question, not a criticism.

Grab that leather frilled jacket and snake skin boots, big hair is back. If you missed ‘em back in the day pick this one up and see what the excitement was about. For the fans, this release is an absolute must that will delight and engage you, while reminding you about all that was good about Crystavox in the first place.

8 axes


Sutekh said...

The bass player is Mike Grato, of Deliverance/Recon fame. He gets a credit on the CD cover (looks like he was the live bassist from 1990-92).

Great review!

Anonymous said...

Non male come album, essendo una sorta di greatest hits si trovano tutte le canzoni più famose della band portavoci di quella sorta di hard rock classico tra il commerciale e il meno commerciale. Un po' datati come brani, forse, ma ammetto che il gruppo non è tra i miei preferiti.
Di: inquietudinedikobal