Crystal Ball - HELLvetia
Crystal Ball from Switzerland are back with the follow up up to last years critically acclaimed album Virtual Empire. I have so far not been so much into this band, but what i have heard myself and read from others have been very pleasant. This album is taking their melodic heavy rock one step further in the right direction. It's a bit heavier and rougher, but with great focus on the melodies still.
It starts with the titletrack where the vocalparts are almost to absurdum similar to the ones of Andi Deris of Helloween. The song itself could also easily fit on one of Helloweens 3 or 4 last albums, as it has the same built with a heavy riff and a chorus that smells pumpkinpie. The next tune, Forever And Eternally, continues with a refrain in the same spirit and is a great song and this far into the album you feel that this is good and wellplayed, and you yearn for more.
The followings songs are not as heavy, though, but they are balancing in a very fine way between Pretty Maids-heaviness, great catchy uptempo songs and a more softer approach which makes itself apperant especially in some of the the choruses. Pretty Maids and Helloween are 2 bands that are constantly in the back of your head while listening to this but they manage to keep away from obvious ripoffs but instead baking in bits and pieces of harmonies that are trademarks for the just mentioned bands.
The mixture between the more heavy AOR-ish smelling tunes and the faster, riffbased ones are good and Crystal Ball has once again put the name of Switzerland out their along with names like Shakra, Gotthard, Krokus to name a few good bands from the area. If Crystal Ball is not the best band of them all, they are certainly involved in the fight for the top position. Produced by Stefan Kaufmann (U.D.O., ex-Accept), the album holds a very high standard with a clear, fresh and fat sound.
Enough said - this is classic, good metal with a heart. This should appeal for most fans of both the softer side of melodic hardrock and heavy/power metal fans. A must for every fan of any band that has been mentioned above. Check them out!
also review of: Virtual