Friday, May 24, 2024

Crystal Ball return with their 10th album Crystallizer

Back in 1995, there was a Swiss cover band called Cherry Pie and, after numerous live gigs, they decided they could do just as well themselves. Crystal Ball was born, and they released their debut album In The Beginning. They have now released their 10th album called Crystallizer. The current line up features Steven Mageney (Vocals), Scott Leach (Lead and Rhythm Guitars, Keyboards), Tony T.C. Castell  (Rhythm Guitars), Marcel Sardella (Drums
) and Cris Stone (Bass); they have put together another batch of strong, melodic rock songs.

But, in such a crowded genre, a band needs to be different enough to stand out, but remain rooted in melody, riffs and soaring solos. So, does Crystal Ball rise above the morass? Well, whilst the opening and title track, ‘Crystallizer’ does sound like Assault Attack era MSG it is actually very good… so the answer is a qualified yes. The guitars are solid throughout with some skilful and relevant solos without resorting to over flash widdling! The bass is a little muddy in the mix but when you listen for it, it is melodic in it’s own right. Vocally, Mageney puts in a good performance with a Doogie White crossed with Gary Barden echo. Drums are empathetic to the songs and Sardella only overplays once due to a ticking sounding cymbal on the weaker, AOR by numbers, ‘S.O.S.’ and ‘Alive For Evermore‘.‘Alive For Evermore‘ is a melodic approach to metal; sort of Priest meets Europe. ‘Let Her Go With Love’ is the inevitable ballad and is buoyed by a strong melody and a cracking guitar solo. ‘Death On Holy Ground’ is the pick of the bunch. Here we get a varied approach as it builds into a four and a half minute epic. Strong vocal with a tantalizing guitar theme and an eastern sounding, superbly realized guitar solo and duet.

In summary, this is a high-quality piece; it has enough individuality to stand out and make you want to return to it.

Digi-pack buyers will get two bonus tracks to add to the enjoyment.

Tom Dixon
Tom Dixon
North East born, South West domiciled music lover - mainly heavy rock & blues but not averse to other genres. I'm fortunate to have retired early & I can now take full advantage of the 40+ years I have spent collecting, listening, watching & playing (badly) & have enjoyed researching how blues in particular has shaped the music we know & love today. Now if only I could get my Strat & Musicman to sound in reality how they do in my head!

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