Released June 7, 2010
40 min, 34 sec
CryoShell likely wasn’t meant to be an endpoint for the band, but that’s what it became. Recorded over the span of a year, the album finally saw a release in June 2010 – exclusively in Scandinavia, consisting of Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Iceland. This, obviously, was incredibly frustrating for BIONICLE fans, largely based in the U.S., and the band did promise a wider international release fairly soon after the release in their home region. “Fairly soon” ended up being nearly two years, finally seeing a wide release in February 2012; by that time, the band had all but fizzled out, with plans for a tour falling through, and Christine Lorentzon having departed the band on maternity leave.
It’s a shame, too, because this is a very good album. Sitting firmly in the heavier side of the hard rock spectrum, CryoShell is differentiated by its flourishes of heavily synthesized strings, with most of the album’s tracks featuring string riffs of that nature. The band isn’t always hard and heavy, either – tracks like “Falling” and “Murky” take a slower tempo, pulling back a bit to focus more on Lorentzon’s voice. And, of course, album closer “No More Words” completely abandons the band’s usual sound, instead being a slow piano ballad centered entirely around Lorentzon.
Lorentzon’s voice is spectacular. It has an unusual accent, a result of her Danish heritage, and she can go from light and airy to full-throated shouting very easily. Her bandmates, on the other hand, can often feel rather generic, but this is more a consequence of the style the band has chosen to adopt rather than any sort of ineptitude. Kasper Søderlund pounds out some truly great solos and riffs, and is nearly as much of a star as Lorentzon because of it.
I remember being so, so excited for this album. The band posted audio for some song – “Feed” or something like that – and I remember that they posted a free download link for “Feed” and “The Room” in the comments as an apology to their fans outside of Scandinavia for being unable to provide the full album to them. I don’t know why it took them so long – the Creeping in My Soul EP came out at the same time internationally, back in January, with none of the issues that plagued the full album. Perhaps that album had the backing of LEGO while this one didn’t. I’m not really sure. What I do remember, however, is being incredibly excited when it finally did pop up, and I could finally own it legally, rather than relying on secondhand rips from the CD.
I also remember being so, so disappointed that this album didn’t lead the band anywhere. There was talk of a tour, of a follow-up album, and none of it happened. Nothing happened until over two years later, when “Breakout” and “Gravity Hurts” popped up out of nowhere, featuring temporary replacement Tine Midtgaard. After that, silence for another year, until one more song, which we’ll talk about on Monday. To this day, the band still has not indicated that another album is on the way. As much as CryoShell is an arrival, the album is a swan song, full of promise that was never fulfilled.