Crystal Eyes - Vengeance Descending
Generation Records
Power Metal
10 songs (61'40)
Release year: 2003
Crystal Eyes, Generation
Reviewed by Marty
Surprise of the month
Crystal Eyes is a Swedish metal outfit formed in 1992 by guitarist/vocalist Mikael Dahl. Through many personnel changes due to musical differences, he remains the only member of the band who's gone the distance, remaining true to his original vision of playing heavy metal and nothing but. The years that followed the formation of the band saw them releasing several demos and playing lots of gigs, most notably with Blind Guardian in 1996. In 1998, the band got a break and signed a record deal, leading to the release of World Of Black And Silver, the band's debut album. In 1999, they opened for bands like Grave Digger, Candlemass and Yngwie Malmsteen and in 2000, released their second album, In Silence They March. This new album, released this past July is called Vengeance Descending and is the band's third full length album to date.

I've never heard the In Silence They March album, but Chris here at Metal Reviews didn't think much of it, awarding it a score in the 40's and ripping the band for the lousy production. This album too lacks in the production department and upon first listen, was a bit of a sore point for me. The guitars sound great with a big fat sustaining metal sound but the drums and vocals really should sound better than they do. For a power metal band these days, solid crisp production is a must and any band without that basic element shouldn't expect a long and lustrous career!! After getting over the shortcomings with the production, the quality of songs and the musicianship really started to show itself. Crystal Eyes can best be described as power metal but with an 80's anthemic metal flavor. Influences from bands like Helloween and Gamma Ray can be heard too with the speediness however, this band has a more raw and unrefined sound. Vocalist Mikael Dahl even sounds like a younger Kai Hansen for most of this album. The big happy Freedom Call type choruses can be heard on a few tracks as well and guest vocalists Gerd (Chroming Rose) on The Beast In Velevet and Daniel Heiman (Lost Horizon) on The Wizard's Apprentice are a real treat.

The use of harmonized guitars both in the lead solos and with some of the thematic riffing for the songs is the one true highlight of this album for me. I love the Thin Lizzy, Iron Maiden style of lead guitar harmonies and rhythmic harmony thirds that give a whole new dimension of power and melody to any heavy metal song. Most tracks on this album are chocked full of harmony guitar parts. Fist pumping Accept style tracks, galloping Iron Maiden type rhythms and an overall epic power metal sound really give these guys a style that is enjoyable to listen to. It may not be the most original stuff you've ever heard but they play it well and with some of the best harmony rhythm and lead guitar that I've heard in many years. Two or three listens is about all most CDs get when I review them however, I found myself reaching for this one time and time again in my car and for a power metal album, that is a rare occurrence these days unless it is something truly exceptional and above average for an already over-saturated genre.

Judging by Chris' review of their previous album, I can only assume that this album is light years better than that. I would've scored this album even higher had it not been for the production. A couple of cheesy 80's metal style tracks also didn't do very much for me either. The rest of the album however is very solid with great soaring and memorable (happy) choruses and a great classic heavy metal sound. If this band could work out it's production woes, I think we'd be hearing a lot more about them as they've delivered a quality album with Vengeance Descending. Great job guys and I hope this one gives you the break you've worked so long and hard for.

Killing Songs :
Highland Revenge, Mr. Failure, Dream Chaser, The Wizard's Apprentice and The Beast In Velvet
Marty quoted 82 / 100
Other albums by Crystal Eyes that we have reviewed:
Crystal Eyes - Dead City Dreaming reviewed by Mike and quoted 85 / 100
Crystal Eyes - Confessions Of The Maker reviewed by Marty and quoted 84 / 100
Crystal Eyes - In Silence They March reviewed by Chris and quoted 43 / 100
0 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are no replies yet to this review
Be the first one to post a reply!