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Prismatic O (2013)
Rating: 7/10

Cruxiter are a Texan band who has risen out of the ashes of HammerWhore and this is their debut full-length record. The band is fronted by Joe Gonzalez, who is backed by three guitarists according to the press release, which must make for quite an interesting experience on stage. Firstly there’s lead shredder Miggy Ramirez who is accompanied by Carlos Llanas and Beto Cavazos, while on bass we have Andy Gonzalez with drummer Rick Ortiz finishing the line-up.

Musically, Cruxiter are quite a thought-provoking blend of hard rock and melodic metal featuring soaring vocals and tight musicianship. The band admits that what they are doing is nothing new but it’s engaging all the same due to the quality of musicianship and those high-reaching vocals.

This is thinking man’s metal that combines the cold steel prowess of Judas Priest, with traditional elements of Iron Maiden to the more progressive streak of, say, Helloween. The Maiden influences come to the fore on opener ‘Traveler’ and in parts on ‘The Church / May Eve’, which also hints at Dio yet with a 70s occult rock influence.

There is an air of majesty about Cruxiter as they sweep with ease through slower passages before talking a wild turn into pacier moments which aren’t afraid to touch on mild thrash. The band have an eye for the mystical in there and aren’t afraid to try out a few progressive moments. My only issue however being that at times they can dawdle a touch too much when it would be far more beneficial to just put the foot on the gas and race into top gear.

The pivotal track on the album is the fiery ‘Devils Of Heavy Metal’ with its dark opening riff and eventual battering ram rush. And it’s here where the vocals shine the most, while ‘Tall Dark Glass’ and ‘The Key’ continue in that impressive vein. I also think that fans of classic power metal will enjoy this record because at times it sways into Fates Warning territory, and with those nimble riffs and delicate solos the album hints at a mature complexity I didn’t expect.

Admittedly, the album does lack a bit of beef, although this could be down to the production, but the melodies throughout should certainly stir the soul of any listener who appreciates classic metal and 80s US power metal. The worrying factor is that Cruxiter will just get thrown in with the countless other traditional metal bands doing the rounds and they may get swallowed up in due course, but I hope for their own sake that the album gets as much promotion as possible because there is potential here to suggest that these Texans are more than just formulaic.

Neil Arnold

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