CRYSTAL BALL - Crystallizer
April 19, 2018, a year ago
Although recording for almost two decades now, never really paid much attention to this Swiss outfit. Don't recall them being so infectious. Somewhere between the pomp of Nightwish and Battle Beast, resides the keyboard laden Crystal Ball. See the opening title cut. Nowhere near as epic, or aggressive as the aforementioned, in fact, theirs is a more hard rock/rudimentary metal construct. Maybe a less visually obsessed Lordi is a better guidepost. Lyrical simplicity is the rule, often with forced rhyming couplets. On more than one occasion ("Let Her Go With Love" being the most egregious example), the titular phrase is the majority (if not exclusively the sum total) of the lyrics.
Throughout, the sequencing leaves only a momentary lapse between the end of one song and the start of the next and when back-to-back, the upbeat/energetic numbers recall a high impact aerobics soundtrack (Do people still do aerobics classes?) or ‘80s teen comedy film score. Best bets are "Alive For Evermore", a Sabaton sounding "Crazy In The Night", "Curtain Call" and "Crystalizer'. Former Accept drummer, turned producer Stefan Kaufmann guests on guitar, for three tunes (an instrument he adopted in U.D.O.). Unfortunately the first half of the album is more interesting, full of life, whereas the later portion slows down and experiments (pomp of mid-paced "Symphony Of Life" closer augmented with orchestral strings). The digipak includes an addition pair of tracks ("Satisfaction Guaranteed" and "Exit Wound" ballad), although neither could replace the starting eleven. With a little pruning (even for the regular version) would have earned at least a one point higher rating. More isn't always a good thing.