Sound — 9
Cruel Hand is one of those difficult to define cross-over bands who happen to fall into a hardcore-esc genere but from every aspect comes off as an early 90's thrash metal band, without all the metal faade bullshit. Prying eyes is as raw as a record can get without sounding like a basement recording from hell usually featuring guitar straps that are worn far too loose, feedback that overpowers everything to an inaudible screech, and countless dropped guitar picks. Being from Portland Maine, Cruel Hand has carved out their own niche in the hardcore world sporting die-hard fans (who probably don't realize there listening to essentially a heavy metal band) and 3 official releases throughout their young music career. And more notably when have you ever heard of a heavy genre band (or any band for that matter) coming out of the rural state of Maine?
Lyrics — 7
By your first listen it won't take you long to realize where Cruel hand derives their musical influences from. Metallica, Madball, Cro-mags are some of the things you might hear well listening to a CH song. If you pulled the vocals out of any song off of Prying eyes you would probably think you were hearing a typical heavy metal bands demo but with them it makes up the great sound of Cruel Hand. One of my favorite lines from CH is from Dead Weight which goes, "Dragging this ball and chain, mirrors and razor blades. When all of this dust clears, can you recognize your face? Pulling all your dead weight, not willing to cut away. I'm losing my grip. You've got to help yourself and quick." After deeper thought it clicked in my head that this song was about the usage of cocaine and the self destructive path that it takes you on. (Master of Puppets anyone?) With typical hard-core fashioned gang vocals, bro yells, and mono-toned yelps Cruel Hand doesn't disappoint its hardcore based fans.
Overall Impression — 8
Overall Prying eyes is short, sweet, and right to the point. Standout tracks would be, Dead Weight, Begin Descension, Hounds, and Wisdom Pain. One thing I disliked about Prying Eyes is how some songs seemed to not stand out on their own and went by without leaving any impression at all. A few things I loved about it was how great the levels were especially for the bass guitar, which often neglected, stood out fluently in each song. Another being the short duration of the songs which left you satisfied instead of 3 minutes of filler and 2 minutes of actual song which seems ever so common in music today. All in all I'd recommend Prying Eyes to any fan of early 80s-90s style metal or hardcore music.