Boguslaw Balcerak’s Crylord – Human Heredity Review

Crylord as a word evokes the purest of sadboi feelings—songs of scoured hearts and drowned eyes. Rest assured, Boguslaw Balcerak’s Crylord will do anything for love, but not that.1 Human Heredity promises nothing more than a good time, despite the band moniker’s sorrowful suggestion. Rather, their light-hearted brand of arena-ready tunes threatens to grease your day with gooey power-infused cheese. On past albums, Crylord resembled a darker, shred-stained neoclassical affair like At Vance or Axel Rudi Pell—the eight years between their last outing Gates of Valhalla have been quite the wild ride, fueling the need for the more uplifting material gathered here. While Boguslaw Balcerak’s Crylord name rolls off the tongue like a flat tire, can their roaring tunes keep your spirits afloat?

Though Crylord is adorned with their creator’s appellation, Balcerak acts much more like a seasoned songsmith than a wanky guitar hero providing a plethora of power metal and hard rock joy. In fact, Balcerak himself is responsible for all except drums and mouth sounds on Human Heredity. To assist him, he calls in not one, not two, but six esteemed vocalists to realize his vision,2 each imbuing the tracks with various levels of over-the-top croons and wails. Often, his urge to lead with well-developed synth melodies and pulsing bass lines (“Falling from You,” “Wind Me Up”) reminds me more of the 80s output from bands like Michael Schenker Group or Whitesnake than million-note masters like Racer X or Yngwie Malmsteen himself.

Crafty riff and synth-work remain the cornerstone of this style and Balcerak makes sure to deliver in spades. Often simple melodic accouterments like whammy-wobbled chords (“Set My Heart on Fire”) or harmonized patterns (“Death is Rising”) are all that’s necessary to add depth to the familiar sounds that peak through. Urgent and whimsical synth lines keep diversity and energy bountiful throughout (“Scary Dream,” “Wolf at the Gates”) adding another element that gives life to potentially pedestrian phrases. Of course, many bars are peppered or punctuated with proper guitar gymnastics (“Death is Rising,” “Falling from You”) just to remind us of Balcerak’s agile axe abilities.

Now, it’s no small feat to rope together multiple vocalists on any album, but this choice on Human Heredity does rob the experience of identity. Veteran pipes-for-hire Göran Edman (Headless, ex-Yngwie Malmsteen) lends a sultry hard rock vibe to the playful opener “It’s Just a Wind” and bouncy anthem “Wind Me Up,” injecting lethal doses of hooks. In turn, relative newcomer David Åkesson (Qantice) lends his heavily layered, frighteningly treble stylings to the high-dairy platters “Lord of the Light” and “You Are My Only Relief,” landing with mixed results. Some may find the tolerance for the “more is more” philosophy embodied by Åkesson whose shaky successes still help build a feel good romp. It’s the gritter offerings with faltering performances like the frightening falsetto flops on “Eyes of Fire” or the characteristic Tim “Ripper” Owens” crying cat choir on “Wolf at the Gate” that really swipe away the smiles.

Human Heredity possesses an undeniable charm at times but does so in a jukebox fashion. When the coin drops on a certified banger like “Thunderbolt,” I’m ready to let my hair whip in the wind as I cruise down the highway. Unfortunately, when someone flips the page on my tune to a clunker like “Eyes of Fire” then I’m ready to pull over and wipe the bugs off the windshield. Balcerak doesn’t need to tighten up his instrumental act. However, to put together a more cohesive, impactful experience, he should consider finding a happy balance between one and six singers.

Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 192 kbps mp3
Label: Pride & Joy Music
Releases Worldwide: February 18th, 2022

Show 2 footnotes

  1. RIP Meatloaf.
  2. Just to make sure I name them all—Göran Edman (Headless, ex-Yngwie Malmsteen), Rick Altzi (Herman Frank, Masterplan), David Åkesson (Qantice), Ryan Beck (Arkangela), Jota Fortihno (Signum Regis), Tim “What note?” Owens (Charred Walls of the Damned, The Three Tremors, ex-Judas Priest).
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