Crystal Eyes - Confessions Of The Maker
Heavy Fidelity
Melodic Power Metal (w Daniel Heiman on vocals)
11 songs (54'26)
Release year: 2005
Crystal Eyes
Reviewed by Marty
Sweden's Crystal Eyes are back with their follow up to their Vengeance Descending album. Although a solid album, Vengeance Descending was plagued by substandard production and a lack of really great songs. Thankfully, the band's production woes are behind them with Confessions Of The Maker being not only their best effort to date, but their best sounding one as well. Founding member and guitarist Mikael Dahl had previously handled all the lead vocals but Vengeance Descending also saw guest vocal contributions from Gerd (Chroming Rose) and Daniel Heiman (ex-Lost Horizon). Daniel Heiman had been contacted again to do a guest appearance on Confessions Of The Maker and seeing that he was no longer involved with Lost Horizon, it was decided that he do all the vocals on this album but as a session musician only. This will be one of Daniel's last vocal performances for a while as he moves on to other things in life. We never got a chance to hear more Lost Horizon material with Daniel on lead vocals so for him to contribute the vocals for this entire album is a real treat not only for power metal fans but especially for fans of Lost Horizon.

The first couple of listens to this album yielded a couple of great tracks but many just seemed to be lacking something. It took several more listens to really appreciate the quality and depth of this album. In a world that is saturated with generic power metal bands, Confessions Of The Maker shows the sort of quality power metal that we saw with the Lost Horizon albums. There's some similarities in sound with Lost Horizon but Crystal Eyes uses much more of melodic style and even borders on melodic heavy metal at times as opposed to power metal. The album starts of with Charioteer, a killer opening track and a real album highlight. With a mix of U.S. style power metal that uses great harmony third riffs, the vocals are amazing and the chorus strong. The lead guitar and riff breaks in this track pretty much mirror those on the rest of the album. The leads are expressive and tasteful without being overly flashy ripping scale runs; a lead style that seems to dominate power metal these days. The next track, the title track Confessions Of The Maker, is another great track with it's ballsy and pounding Accept style riffs, it strikes a great balance between melody and heaviness. Again, solid emotional lead breaks are found on this track as well. The Accept/U.D.O. metal style makes another appearance with the track Terminal Voyage. Galloping power metal styles dominate tracks like Northern Rage and The Fool's Ballet with Northern Rage sounding very Helloween-ish especially with the speedier parts. Both Northern Rage and The Fool's Ballet have the sort of Hammerfall "warrior metal" style choruses but the chorus for The Fool's Ballet weakens what would otherwise be a great song. Other stand out tracks include Panic which is an up tempo power metal track with great chorus and Burning Vision which blends galloping power metal with a solid and spirited melodic heavy metal style. For the guitar enthusiasts, there's lots of harmony third riffs and an abundance of Blind Guardian style celtic-flavored lead fills. The arrangements for the most part are fairly typical for power metal but Crystal Eyes isn't afraid to throw in acoustic interludes mid-track to break things up a bit. The Terror is worth a mention, not really as a standout track but for the fact that it uses more abstract and complex arrangements. With it's epic story-like quality, it goes through many tempo and riff changes and even borders on progressive metal.

For fans of quality power metal and especially if you're a Lost Horizon fan, you can't miss with this album. The only real sore spot for me is the last track, Silent Angel which is composed of mainly piano and acoustic guitar with Mikael Dahl on vocals. It's really out of place with the sound of the rest of the album. Otherwise, the production is great, the guitar riffs are big and sustaining and Daniel Heiman's voice sounds as great as ever. Since Daniel has clearly stated that he is not a permanent member of Crystal Eyes, I treat this album as a one of a kind. I really wonder if they'll ever be able to top this. If Daniel Heiman takes a break from the music scene or leaves it altogether, we will have this little gem to remember him by. Quality power metal seems to be few and far between these days but if you really dig deep, there are still some albums that rise head and shoulders above others in the genre. Crystal Eyes' Confessions Of The Maker is one of those albums.

Killing Songs :
Charioteer, Confessions Of The Maker, Panic and The Burning Vision
Marty quoted 84 / 100
Other albums by Crystal Eyes that we have reviewed:
Crystal Eyes - Dead City Dreaming reviewed by Mike and quoted 85 / 100
Crystal Eyes - Vengeance Descending reviewed by Marty and quoted 82 / 100
Crystal Eyes - In Silence They March reviewed by Chris and quoted 43 / 100
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