Cryoshell is the self-titled debut studio album by Danish rock band Cryoshell, released June 7, 2010 under the band's own label Cryoshell I/S in conjunction with Voices Music & Entertainment. Produced by Jacob Hansen, the album was recorded between late 2008 and early 2010 at Hansen Studios in Ribe, Denmark.
Prior to recording, Cryoshell was best known for producing music for Bionicle - a popular series of construction toys manufactured by Lego - as soundtracks to their commercial campaigns for sets released between 2007 and 2009. Lego was also partially responsible for the band's formation. Due to the popularity of their songs, Cryoshell announced plans to release an album featuring them as well as new material.
The album was announced for a late 2008 release, but due to inexplicit reasons, it was pushed back numerous times until a definite date could be confirmed. As a result of difficulties in securing a worldwide distribution agreement, the album was initially released in Scandinavia and received later publication in other territories via different record labels.
Cryoshell has sprawled two singles "Bye Bye Babylon", released July 27, 2009, and "Creeping in My Soul" the following December 1. The latter of which received airplay on alternative radio stations worldwide.
Upon release, the album received generally positive feedback, with reviewers applauding lead singer Christine Lorentzen's vocal style, the cinematic-esque quality and production of each track, and the similarities to the American rock band Evanescence. Criticism was put to towards the band's lyrics, saying they flawed in structure.
Between 2007 and 2009, Cryoshell produced songs for the popular Lego toy line Bionicle that featured in commercials and other mediums promoting the sets. The songs, released as free MP3 downloads from the official Bionicle website, proved popular among the Lego community, with one song "Creeping in My Soul" becoming the #1 most downloaded file from the Lego website at the time of release.
In October 2008, Cryoshell announced plans to record a full-length album set for release before the end of the year. The first confirmed tracks were "Closer to the Truth" and remixes of songs previously used by Bionicle, these included "Creeping in My Soul", "Face Me" and "Gravity Hurts", the latter two of which were originally sung by Danish singer Niels Brinck instead of lead vocalist Christine Lorentzen. Plans were later dropped to re-record the songs featuring Brinck, while a 'sparkling' new version of "Closer to the Truth" was promised.
Despite claiming to release an album by early 2009, the band spent the majority of the year recording new material. Cryoshell later announced that the album's release had been postponed until the fall of 2009 at the least, with no guarantee of an official release date. This was later pushed back to January 30, 2010, but when that date passed, it was pushed back further. Cryoshell wrapped up recording in April 2010 and set a date for their self-titled release as the following June 7. However, due to the difficulties of securing a worldwide release, it was only released in Scandinavia. Cryoshell was later published in different territories over a time period of nearly two years, making physical copies of the album hard to obtain.
The entire album was produced and mixed by Jacob Hansen; head of Hansen Studios, where the band recorded in Ribe, Northern Denmark, while photography and graphics for the cover and lyric booklet was managed by concept artist Christian Faber. Cryoshell recorded and published the album under their own label, Cryoshell I/S, in conjunction with Norwegian label Voices Music & Entertainment.
The band later recorded two new tracks with Hansen in late 2011. The songs "Breakout" and a remix of "Gravity Hurts" feature Danish singer Tine Midtgaard on vocals standing in for Lorentzen while the latter took maternity leave from the group. The songs were later announced to be included as bonus tracks on a reissue of the album after Cryoshell secured a deal with Greek record label The Leaders to re-release Cryoshell to a worldwide audience, a release date is yet to be confirmed.
Cryoshell released the digital EP Creeping in My Soul on January 5, 2010 containing five completed songs from the album as a teaser for the forthcoming release, while they continued production on it.
On May 30, 2010, Lorentzen posted a video blog onto Cryoshell's official YouTube channel stating that because of the album's limited release to Denmark and the ongoing support from fans worldwide, the band were prepared to release the songs "Feed" and "The Room" from the album for free to fans on June 7 if they added them as their friend on YouTube before that date, while they worked out how to secure global distribution agreement for the whole album for a later date.
Cryoshell performed an acoustic version of the track "Trigger" on Danish TV talk show The Lounge in June 2010, followed by an interview with the band.
The album's lead single "Bye Bye Babylon" was released July 27, 2009, its music video premiered on Cryoshell's official website the following August. Another version featuring a lyric-tweak was released on August 27, 2009 and was used as the soundtrack to the film Bionicle: The Legend Reborn as well as the Bionicle Glatorian and Glatorian Legends toy sets released by Lego that year. That version was followed by an alternative music video released on August 31, 2009 featuring new footage and clips from the The Legend Reborn.
"Creeping in My Soul" was released as the second single on December 1, 2009, its music video premiered on Cryoshell's official YouTube channel on April 19, 2010. An earlier take on the song was used as the soundtrack to the Bionicle Barraki toy wave of early 2007 when it was released as a free downloadable MP3 from the official Bionicle website, becoming the #1 most requested download from the Lego website at the time.
An earlier take of the song "Closer to the Truth" - used as the soundtrack to the Bionicle Mistika toy wave - was released as a free download from the official Bionicle website on October 1, 2008. A music video followed its release on October 8. It was later re-released onto Cryoshell's official YouTube channel on January 7, 2010 with the album version of the song dubbed over it.
A rehearsal video featuring the band performing an acoustic version of "No More Words" was filmed in Copenhagen, Denmark in late 2013 and was released February 23, 2014. It was recorded and edited by Hannibal Lang-Jensen with Christian Faber and Advance.
The album has been met with generally positive reviews from music critics. Sputnikmusic gave the album 4 out of 5 stars and compared Cryoshell's sound to bands such as Evanescence, Within Temptation and Linkin Park. They praised lead singer Christine Lorentzen on her vocal talents "[soaring] above the instrument mixes," especially on the tracks "Trigger" and "Falling", and how the band "has bigger things in mind than mere promotional songs" and that "String synthesizers, broken chords played on the piano, and driving background electric guitars set an eerie yet powerful mood throughout the album." They however felt that the group lacked lyrically, saying "they range from weak attempts at poetry to straightforward and radio-ready."
RockHard praised Lorenzen's voice as a "very beautiful complexion" with "incredible dynamics" and the reason why the band does not go completely unnoticed. Gaffa gave a mixed review; they called Cryoshell the "Danish equivalent of Evanescence" and classified them as product placement due to their history working with Lego and "seeking partners where they can find them". They however praised the production from producer Jacob Hansen for "getting much out of a small budget" and gave the album 3 out of 6 stars. Stiften described the album as "Heavy and lumbering pathos rock on a bed of melodic keyboard surfaces and strings, " calling it "Not a bad offer... [but] does nothing new under the sun relative to the template-band Evanescence who have to suffer the indignity of seeing the shame-plagiarized on Cryoshell's debut."
Danish metal music blog MetalZone called the band "A copy of Evanescence," adding "It's fine to be inspired by a band, but to make a clone of the band is perhaps excessive." MetalZone however gave the album 4 out of 6 stars, despite calling Cryoshell "An Evanescence clone." German music blog Album Check gave the album 9 out of 10 stars, describing it as "cinemascope rock," going on to complementing the band as "bursting with passion with good hooks and melodious tunes, the sound of Cryoshell has its own style," with Lorentzen "not only [having] a pretty face, but a lot to offer musically." Enemy, another German music blog, defined Cryoshell as a "darkly symphonic Danish export" and their sound as "Classic dark and foggy converts the trio in their sound-scape" and "a mixture of orchestral elements, piano melodies, coupled with electronic parts and a rocking female voice," adding that the track "'Creeping in My Soul' carries a refrain," making comparisons to Linkin Park and Evanescence and giving the album an overall rating of 4 out of 5.
The Power of Metal described the album's sound as "Classic rock spiced up with some more modern influences," and applauded Lorentzen as a "figurehead" and "vital part" of the band who helps to "[Create] a sound that contains moods that are hard, raw, yet fragile and classical." They also praised Hansen's production that gave the band "A balanced and raw rock sound that fit their style very well" that provides the album "Many fine moments and enough catchy tunes to give them a solid foundation for bigger things" and giving Cryoshell an overall rating of 74%. Eyes from the Mosh Pit stated the album has "slick riffs, pounding drums and very dramatic almost end of the world themed lyrics," the tracks with stringed compositions had "a apocalyptic feel" and praised "Bye Bye Babylon" and "Closer to the Truth" as stand out songs in terms of their orchestral arrangements as "they add a film score-like quality to [the tracks]," and gave the album a total of 7 out of 10 stars. Rocktopia were also positive, declaring that all the songs were "full of catchiness" and "equally contagious" and singled out "Bye Bye Babylon" as the best song on the album.
On the reissue, RavenHeart Music gave the album a score of 10 out of 10, calling it "one of the best debuts for years" and that Cryoshell "have the songs, the sound and the look and could make the USA their own with this record alone" while also praising Lorenzten's vocals as "magnificent" with contrasts to Cristina Scabbia and Shania Twain. Greek Rebels also praised Lorentzen's vocals and how the songs "stick in the mind with catchy melodies." They described the bonus songs as "slightly more diversified and dynamic," making the listener want to replay them repeatedly, giving the album a ranking of 7.5 out of 10. The Power of Metal also reviewed the reissue and gestured the album's sound as "more grown-up" and "diversified and universal" in comparison to Evanescence's sound. They also commented on how Cryoshell's music is not "designed to catch the listener with hook over hook", but rather "lets [them] discover the beauty of their music".Notes
Tracks 1, 2, 5, 6 and 9 also appear on the EP Creeping in My Soul.
"Bye Bye Babylon"'s length is cut on its single release to 3:41.