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DISCOGRAPHY

WORLD OF BLACK AND SILVER

 

SONGS

TIME

MUSIC

LYRICS

1. Interstellar War

4:59

Mikael Dahl

Andreas Götesson

2. Gods Of The World

3:55

Mikael Dahl

Mikael Dahl

3. Winds Of The Free

4:49

Mikael Dahl

Mikael Dahl

4. The Power Behind The Throne

6:18

Mikael Dahl

Andreas Götesson

5. The Dragon's Lair

4:59

Mikael Dahl

Andreas Götesson

6. Eyes Of The Forest Gloom

7:11

Mikael Dahl

Dahl, Götesson

7. Rage On The Sea

7:01

Mikael Dahl

Mikael Dahl

8. Victims Of The Frozen Hate

5:30

Dahl, Wikander

Mikael Dahl

9. Extreme Paranoia

3:31

Mikael Dahl

Andreas Götesson

10. Glory Ride

5:06

Mikael Dahl

Mikael Dahl

11. World Of Black And Silver

5:24

Mikael Dahl

Andreas Götesson

 

Release date: 1999-04-26. Catalogue number: Heavy Fidelity 3. EAN number: 7350013660030. Vocals, guitars and keyboards by Mikael Dahl. Guitars by Jonathan Nyberg. Bass guitars by Claes Wikander. Drums by Kujtim Gashi. Production, mixing and mastering by Crystal Eyes and Detlef Mohrmann at Studio Mohrmann 1998-11-23 to 1998-12-06. Cover artwork by Eric Philippe. Logotype by Kristian Wåhlin. Logotype design by Andreas Götesson. Design and layout by Tommy Dahl. Initially released by Crazy Life Music. Re-released 2005-02-01 by Heavy Fidelity. Also released under license in Brazil by Rock Brigade Records.

 

Blood Dawn 

"Lost & Found? Wie geht denn so was??", wird sich der eine oder die andere fragen, "die CD wurde doch erst 1999 veröffentlicht!" Zugegeben, acht Jahre sind nicht allzu lange, aber ich glaube nicht, dass viele Metaller nicht mit "Word Of Black And Silver" von der schwedischen Band CRYSTAL EYES vertraut sind. Und das, obwohl das Werk vor zwei Jahren wiederveröffentlicht wurde (was mir allerdings erst bei den Recherchen zu dieser Lost & Found-Kritik bewusst wurde – viel Promotion dafür wird es nicht gegeben haben...). Ehrlich gesagt, ich habe mir die Scheibe nach dem Cover gekauft, und seitdem rotiert sie regelmäßig in meinem Player! Für ein Debüt ist der Sound ziemlich gut, im Hinblick auf die heutige Zeit relativiert sich das ganze natürlich ein wenig. Das sehr charakteristische an dieser Scheibe ist für mich der Gesang. Hier stand noch Mikael Dahl hinter dem Mikro, ebenso wie auf den beiden folgenden Silberlingen, doch die Vocals klangen nie mehr dermaßen strange und gleichermaßen einzigartig und einprägsam wie hier! Vielleicht mit einigen Abstrichen noch auf dem Zweitwerk "In Silence They March" (2000). Nicht nur nach Durchsehen des Booklets kommt man unschwer zu dem Schluss, dass Dahl ein großer Fan von Kai Hansen (GAMMA RAY, ex-HELLOWEEN, ex-IRON SAVIOR) ist, man kann die Vocals durchaus mit denen vom HELLOWEEN-Debüt "Walls Of Jericho" vergleichen. Musikalisch steht in jedem Falle die Melodie im Vordergrund, danach kommt die Melodie, aber auch die Melodien werden nicht vernachlässigt, und das über die komplette knappe Stunde Spielzeit. Nicht wenige werden beim Hören der Songs an IRON MAIDEN erinnert werden, vielleicht nicht von der Klasse her, aber diese typischen doppelläufigen Gitarrenleads und Harmonien sind nun mal in ihrem Ursprung unverkennbar! Ebenso im Vordergrund stehen die Refrains, die oft direkt ins Ohr gehen ("Gods Of The World", "The Dragon's Lair", "Rage On The Sea"). "Victims Of The Frozen Hate" ist zwar nicht ganz so eingängig, dafür kann dieser Song mit seiner Progressivität punkten. Balladeske Züge sind ebenso vertreten, wie metallische Klänge. (Zunächst) das einzige Lied, das nicht so ganz zum Rest der Scheibe passt, ist der kürzeste Song der CD "Extreme Paranoia". Dieser Song beinhaltet deutliche Elemente, die in Richtung Speed Metal, teilweise sogar Thrash Metal gehen. Natürlich dudeln die Klampfen auch hier ihre typischen Melodien (ganz ohne geht ja nicht), aber insgesamt gesehen fällt das Stück schon etwas aus dem Rahmen. "Glory Ride" dagegen ist wieder ein Song, wie er typischer und kitschiger kaum sein könnte! Die Leads schaukeln sich gegenseitig hoch und die Lyrics tun ihre übriges! Sehr klischeehaft das ganze, aber trotzdem in einer Weise cool. Der beste Song ist allerdings der Titeltrack! Mit Metal hat er so gut wie gar nichts zu tun, die ebenso mit dem Rest der Platte, aber ich finde ihn wesentlich genialer als alles andere! "World Of Black And Silver" ist dermaßen seltsam, er hätte von Devin Townsend stammen könne! Akustische Gitarren, teilweise etwas dissonant kreieren eine düstere Stimmung, der Gesang erinnert hier und da an KING DIAMOND. Im genauen Gegensatz dazu steht der tolle Refrain, der bei mir jedes Mal wieder Gänsehaut verursacht; ebenso wie der Gitarrenlead im Anschluss an den ersten Chorus. Was die Verfügbarkeit der Scheibe angeht, die CD ist natürlich weiterhin im Backkatalog der Band erhältlich. CRYSTAL EYES haben kürzlich ihr fünftes Album "Dead City Dreaming" veröffentlicht und arbeitet bereits an dem Nachfolger. Nachdem die Alben drei und vier meiner Meinung nach zu sehr Mittelmaß waren, ging es mit Silberling Nummer fünf wieder aufwärts. Mikael Dahl, mittlerweile nur noch Gitarrist, ist neben Bassist Claes Wilander das einzig verbleibende Gründungsmitglied, aber für das Songwriting ist er größtenteils immer noch zuständig. Auf dem einen oder anderen Track der neueren Scheiben übernimmt er auch mal wieder die Lead-Vocals, mal sehen, wohin es CRYSTAL EYES in der Zukunft hinführen wird. Hoffentlich auch mal auf Tour nach Deutschland... BY: Patrick Wicke

 

Borås Tidning 4/5

Det har runnit mycket vatten genom Viskan sedan Borås hårdrockare första gången hörde Crystal Eyes på Rockborgens demosamling 033 del två. Även om Mikael Dahl på den tiden sjöng mer falskt än rent spelades låten med gruppens namn om och om igen på våra fester. ”Det låter som Helloween”, tyckte vi. Nu får äntligen Crystal Eyes debutera på riktigt. De gör det med kraft och finess. World of black and silver innehåller alla komponenter som ett riktigt bra hårdrocksalbum skall byggas på. Genomtänkta leadgitarrer, bra sång samt texter som handlar om drakar och trollkarlar. Allt är kryddat med ett engagemang för metallen som känns äkta. Inledningsspåret Interstellar war är ett givet hit-fenomen. Mikael Dahl avlossar ett klockrent ”metal scream” som håller världsklass. Den rena falsetten behärskar han till fullo. Att den vanliga sången någon gång brister får man ha överseende med. Även Dahls idol Kai Hansen låter rösten skära sig ibland på skiva. Likt de stora hårdrockshjältarna från förr levererar Crystal Eyes ett jämnt album. Det finns inga svackor och det är full fart från början till slut. Borås har fått ett band som försvarar den äkta hårdrockens ära. BY: Peter Wiberg

 

Bright Eyes Magazine 8/10

Enda sedan vi recenserade Crystal Eyes "The Final Sign" demon i Bright Eyes #1 har vi frågat oss varför bandet inte blivit kontrakterade. Den som väntar på något gott heter det ju och det goda i det här fallet heter ”World Of Black And Silver”. En uppvisning i hur tysk melodisk power/speed metal ska låta är vad Borås bandet bjuder oss på. Till skillnad från så många andra band i den här genren så visar sångaren/gitarristen men framför allt låtskrivaren Mikael Dahl att man kan spela ”tysk HM” och låta originellt. Om man ändå vill dra paralleller så kan man höra att Kai Hansen är husguden (Mikael Dahl´s röst påminner faktiskt en del om en ung Kai). Scanner har det nog också lyssnats en del på med tanke på att Crystal Eyes, precis som Scanner, lägger in en del ”headbangsvänliga” tunga riff då och då. Running Wild kan också läggas till bland inspirationerna. Det hör vi på låten "Rage On The Sea". Vi har klagat på sång prestationen i det här bandet innan men här låter det helt OK. Visst hade det varit ett uppsving med Michael Kiske på sång men man kan inte få allt. Musikaliskt sett är det här enastående och Sveriges bästa band i den här genren. BY: Rasmus Reckeweg

 

Hail to the triumph of Metal 86/100

OK, let us start this review with this. I have been longing a long time for these guys to get a singing of record company. And finally they’ve got it. I will explain to you why I’m so happy for them. Crystal Eyes is a quartet from Borås, a town in Sweden. The first time I heard of them, was for about 2 years ago. I heard their second demo (The Shadowed Path) and swallowed it all. It was great. I’m sure that, I wasn’t the only one who heard that these guys had the potential to be something big. Then after their 4th demo they got a contract from A.B.S records and here we are today. The album that they have release is called “World Of Black And Silver”. The album contains eleven strong songs. No one has to complain. Pure melodic power metal (schlager!!!). A lot of hit songs that makes you sing along. The tempo in the songs are pretty much to say perfect. Slower songs and faster songs. There is also some very strange songs, and some songs with very strong choruses. The guitarwork is wonderful. And so is the voice of Mikael Dahl. He really can sing. It’s not easy to compare his voice with someone, but the most sound-a-like is probably the singer in Scanner. And that singer is great. Mikael Dahl is the man behind the band. He sings, plays guitars and also write all of the songs, with help from Claes Wikander on one song. Andreas Götesson has helped them with lyrics. This is a band for the future. I’m sure that they will hit. If not on this album, then on the next. Such melodies is wonderful to hear. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me who have been nut, but I’m lost… The lyrics is about war and mankind. That we are destroying the outer space, that we try to save the earth. It’s what the first two songs (Interstellar War and Gods Of The World). A change of the lyrics is when the fourth song is coming, The song is called The Power Behind The Throne and is more fantasy influenced. The whole song is a history of a king and a evil wizard. “The Dragon’s Lair” is about… yes, it’s about dragons. The lyrics in “Eyes Of The Forest Gloom” is about someone who is having a sort of nightmare. Woking up in a forest surrounded by dangerous, strang animals… “Rage On The Sea” is about wars on the seas. The next song, “Victims Of The Frozen Hate” is just about what the title says. “Extreme Paranoia” is about someone who has become totally paranoid. Scary… “Glory Ride” is a more fantasy influenced about persons in war. The last song, “World Of Black And Silver” is a little bit more harder to explain. I’ll let you find it out all by yourself what it is about. One more thing I’m impressed of is the cover. A beautiful painting by the man behind for example Rhapsody’s albums. He really can paint. He’s amazing. It’s so extremely well done. A perfect painting for this album. The name of the master is Eric Philippe!!! Why? Are you still not sure to buy this. Well, then it’s up to you if you want to miss the highlight of the year. I have tried all I can!!! BY: Mattias Wase

 

Hard Sounds 65/100

Un debut particolare questo dei Crystal Eyes, band nordica che sceglie di distaccarsi dalle sonorità ormai tipiche del Northern Power, recuperando piuttosto stilemi ormai legati un genere che molti definirebbero superato. Nel 1999 di musica di questo genere non è che se ne trovasse molta, ed è per questo motivo che i Cystal Eyes appaiono così interessanti. Innanzitutto va detto che la definizione Heavy Power è ben calzante, visto che i "nostri" scrivono una musica ibrida, da una parte caratterizzata dalle tendenze del tardo Classic (l'Heavy post-Judas Priest di "Ram It Down", per intenderci), con chitarre potenti e ritmiche quadrate; dall'altra parte si fa sentire un richiamo al Power della matrice nordica primordiale (quello tedesco degli anni '80). Su tutto, spicca un vocalist sconcertante. Ho usato questo termine, "sconcertante", perchè c'è qualcosa di estremamente particolare nella voce di Dahl, ed al tempo stesso estremamente difficile da definire. A complicare le cose ci si mette un mixaggio abbastanza casereccio, ed ecco che la voce diviene quasi indefinibile, in quanto tende ad essere sopraffatta dagli altri suoni. Nel complesso l'impressione è che si tratti di una voce dalla limitata estensione, che si seppellisce in cori estremamente semplici (due, tre voci al massimo) che aumentano l'impressione di un disco incredibilmente "puro", semplice, tutto tranne che costruito: di certo nessuno penserà che ci sia dietro un chissà quanto massiccio lavoro di rifinitura al computer. Alla lunga però si scoprono passaggi come il refrain di "The Dragon's Lair" o il bridge centrale di "Eyes Of The Forest Gloom", e ci si deve ricredere circa le effettive capacità del vocalist, che pare aver studiato dalle parti di Halfordlandia, visti gli scream di ottima qualità di cui fa (sporadicamente) dono. Una nota merita il songwriting, vario ed imprevedibile: gli undici brani si distribuiscono evidenziando due "categorie" abbastanza nette: l'una dal sapore nostalgico (ad esempio ritmiche o vocl lines Piestiane o riff Maideniani), l'altra ("The Dragon's Lair" su tutte) più leggera, quasi ai limiti, melodicamente parlando, dell'idea dell'Happy Metal. BY: Gianclaudio Plebani

 

Heart of Steel 4/5

I discovered this band on the same day that I discovered Sonata Arctica (which you have likely heard of by now). I was looking around for new power metal bands in the same vein as Gamma Ray and Stratovarius and somehow stumbled upon this great band. This is around the same time that Sonata Arctica had just released their UnOpened single (pre-Ecliptica). Much to my surprise, not many people have taken notice of Crystal Eyes, and they definately deserve notice. These guys should not be labeled as a "clone" of any band, since they are original. They have real talent which is displayed constantly throughout this album. The first thing that came to mind after my initial listen to "World Of Black And Silver" was Gamma Ray, or Helloween. After a few more listens, however, other influences become obvious. Iron Maiden, Scorpions, and definately some epic fantasy metal thrown in all over. A good example of their Iron Maiden influence can be heard in the song "Rage On The Sea"; in my opinion, this track is the most "maidenish" tune off this cd, while still retaining it's originality. "World Of Black and Silver" starts off with a very fast-paced track called "Interstellar War." As I have already stated, they are obviously influenced by Gamma Ray and Helloween, and it definately shines on this track. It's one of my favourite on the disc thus far, and has been for awhile. Some other notable songs are "Winds Of The Free," "The Power Behind The Throne" and "Glory Ride". It is very difficult to point out downfalls of a band you really enjoy, but if I had to point out something wrong it would be the production. It's good production, but I think the vocals are not prominent enough and are slightly drowned out by the instruments. Another thing is, I really like the way they do their solo's, but once again they also seem a bit toned down, or at least not as in the foreground as it should be. I have to say that is my only complaint about "World Of Black And Silver". The bottom line is, if you love fantasy power metal of any sort, you'll certainly enjoy "World Of Black And Silver". This is definately a band with talent and originality. It's too bad that they have not recieved the attention they so greatly deserve. BY: 

 

Metal And Hardrock Area 9/10

Great! Yet another fine debut album by a new Power Metal band. This time it´s Swedish band “Crystal Eyes” with their debut album “World of black and silver” which reminds me a lot on Hammerfall, Hellowen and Running Wild especially. Typical True Metal some people would call this with a more German than Swedish sound. So, the comparison to Hammerfall is somewhat natural. The album offers everything a Power Metal album should have: fast double bass drum orientated speed tracks with great melodies and choruses, bombasticly performed by a band that obviously is very talented and epic ballads. Highlights include the hellloweenish type of song “Interstellar War” with some typical twin guitar solos in the middle part (like Helloween), the epic and bombastic “The Power Behind The Throne” which sounds a bit like Blind Guardian even though singer/guitarist Mikael Dahl´s voice is a lot higher and the beautful “The Dragon´s Lair” which kicks off with a typical riff which you usally only can hear on a Running Wild record plus a huge melodic chorus! Another reminisence to Helloween is the fast track “Eyes Of The Forest Gloom” which is also great. Continuing with the track list of the album the songs get even better! My faves are the other Running Wild sound-a-like “Rage On The Sea” which would fit perfectlyy on RW´s “Black Hand Inn” album somehow and the beautiful ballad which finishes off the album “World Of Black And Silver”. This one´s a bit similar to Hammerfall´s bombastic ballads! Great album! This is still definitely the best debut album from a Power Metal band over the last couple of months. The next Hammerfall maybe? BY: Birgitt Schwanke

 

Metal Heart 7.5/10

Med sina trallvänliga, nästintill barnsliga melodier fångade dom mitt intresse direkt. Bandet vi snackar om är självfallet det svenska power metal bandet Crystal Eyes från Borås. Denna skiva som släpptes 1999 är en ren energibomb med sina uppiggande melodier och refränger. Alla låtar är uppbygga väldigt simpelt och ärligt talat så tröttnar man på skivan efter ett antal genomlyssningar men låter man den stå några månader så funkar det lika bra igen! Det finns två saker som gör att denna skiva förlorar en del viktiga poäng. Sången som sköts av Mikael Dahl är inte förstaklassig och han skulle verkligen behöva fila på sången en hel del. Trots detta sjunger han tack och lov inte falskt. Den andra dåliga saken är produktionen som visserligen klarar betyget godkänt men inte så mycket mer. Ljudet saknar kraft och känns platt som en pannkaka. Det viktigaste är ju faktiskt låtmaterialet och det är håller riktigt hög klass. Dom flesta låtar är uppbyggda kring hurtiga melodier men ibland också kring snabba gitarriff. Efter att ha läst så här långt tror förmodligen dom flesta att det används keyboard flitigt men faktum är att det knappt används alls. Bra eller dåligt är upp till er att bestämma men jag tycker det låter bra som det är nu. Musiken påminner en del om Freedom call med tanke på dom trallvänliga melodierna som finns att hitta på varje låt. Ta bara "Gods of the world", "The power behind the throne" och "The dragon's lair" som ett säkert exempel. Musiken påminner också en del om Heaven's gate, speciellt arrangemanget med gitarrerna. Är man ute efter lättlyssnad power metal med barnsligt simpla melodier så är detta något som borde kollas upp! En skiva som jag rekommenderar om man inte är så petig vad gäller sången. BY: David Noaksson

 

Metal March 7.5/10

Another album from Crystal Eyes, but this time it's not anything new, it's in fact their first full-length album entitled "World of Black and Silver". I'm now working my way backwards with this Swedish band, I was so impressed with their "Vengeance Descending" album that I couldn't wait go get my hands on their other stuff. Fortunately, their next album after that one was about to be released when I got to know them, so I didn't have to wait long. It's actually rather good, actually, not as good as "Vengeance Descending" in my opinion, but still quite good! Their first two albums were released via Heavy Fidelity, and they were kind of enough to send them for review (thanks Tommy!). First thing to notice was the cover, some killer work was done in both releases actually, but I'll get to that when the time comes. The style is like I was expecting, straight forward Heavy Metal with lots of catchy parts that soon grab your attention without any problems. I don't think I mentioned this in my other reviews from Crystal Eyes, but there are some quite obvious Power Metal influences in their music, even though they consider themselves as a pure Heavy Metal band, those speedy drums and catchy chorus parts do have a little of that Power Metal vibe into them. Now this is their first full-lenght, so I was not expecting a masterpiece or anything. It's good, not as good as the others I've listened to, but still some good ideas can be found here, you can notice they were just starting to get the hang of it, as well as searching for the kind of music they wanted to do. The music is the same, but now they've improved much more. "World of Black and Silver" is always an essencial album for any Crystal Eyes fan, I reckon. If you're just starting to get to know them, then you should work your way with their two latest releases before actually considering getting this one. As a Crystal Eyes fan myself, I'm happy to have this one in my collection, even if it's just for collection. BY: Pedro Santos

 

Metal Poisoning 9/10

Endnu et godt svensk Power Metal band! Crystal Eyes spiller hurtig Power Metal med en lys vokal og gode melodier, lidt i stil med grupper som Gamma Ray og Blind Guardian. Det er et utrolig godt album, faktisk er der ikke èt svagt nummer på, men åbneren ”Interstellar War”, ”The Dargon´s Lair” og den geniale ”Eyes Of The Forest Gloom” er nok mine favoritter. Jeg kunne skrive side op og ned om hvor fed denne skive er, men i stedet vil jeg bare sige til alle jer, der er til Power Metal med gode melodier: KØB! BY: Nina

 

Power Metal 7.5/10

1999, ein unbekannte Power-Metal-Formation veröffentlicht ihr erstes Album, und schon der erste Streich lässt erkennen, wie großartig diese schwedische Band eigentlich ist. Das Wort eigentlich sollte hier unterstrichen werden, denn trotz der Genialität der Band sind sie immer noch im Schatten der großen Landsleute, und das in meinen Augen zu Unrecht. Wer sich auf "World Of Black And Silver" einlässt, sollte ein Faible für europäisch geprägten Power Metal haben, auch wenn die Liste der Einflüsse auch Namen wie SAVATAGE, DEEP PURPLE und Co. aufweist. Freunde besonderer Sänger sollten aber definitiv ein Ohr riskieren, da Sänger, Gitarrist und Mastermind Mikael Dahl ein Organ besitzt, das auf den ersten Höreindruck gar nicht geht. Aber je länger und öfter man die Band hört, umso gefälliger wird es, da seine Stimme definitiv einen eigenen Charakter hat. Die Scheibe bietet genau das, was man als Fan von skandinavischem Stahl erwartet. Dennoch: Nicht nur durch Mikaels Stimme hat die Band etwas Eigenständiges. Das Songwriting hebt sich zu Teilen aus der Masse der Euro-Power-Bands ab. Man erkennt natürlich die großen Vorbilder HELLOWEEN, GAMMA RAY und IRON MAIDEN, teils an Melodieführung, teils an Basslinien oder teils an Mikaels Gesang, der auch gut eine kauzigere Version von Kai Hansen sein könnte. Aber gerade die düsteren Songs wie 'The Power Behind The Throne' oder das schleppende 'Victims Of The Frozen Hate' zeigen, dass die Band durchaus nicht nur typische Uptempo-Hymnen im Gepäck hat, sondern auch gerne mal in die Kiste mit der Aufschrift "Epic" greift und so Lieder erschafft, die sich aus der Masse des Herkunftslandes emporheben. Aus der Masse der typischen Stücke hebt sich ein Song noch mal besonders hervor: 'Extreme Paranoia'. Dieser Song verdient schon fast das Prädikat "Speed Metal" und erweist sich als einer der stärksten Songs des Albums. Zum Ende wird dem Hörer dann noch ein Song serviert, der so gar nicht zum Rest der Platte passen mag. Der Titeltrack ist verstörend, spielt mit bedrückenden Gefühlen und ist eine Wahnsinnsballade, wobei Wahnsinn hier nicht nur die Großartigkeit des Songs beschreibt, sondern auch das, was der Song verkörpern soll. Psychedelische Strophen treffen auf einen hymnenhaften Chorus, dissonant klingende Akustikgitarren treffen immer wieder auf die harmonische E–Gitarre - einfach großartig und ein toller Schlusspunkt eines guten Albums. Fazit: Wer auf Power Metal steht, dazu interessante Sänger verkraften kann, ist hier an der richtigen Adresse. Gutes, wenn auch in Teilen simples Songwriting wird gepaart mit einem tollen Sänger und guter Instrumentalarbeit, wenngleich es auch einige kleinere Ausfälle gibt. Alles in allem ein gutes Debüt einer stark unterbewerteten Band. Anspieltipps: The Dragons Lair, Victims Of The Frozen Hate, Extreme Paranoia, World Of Black And Silver  BY: Florian Rohde

 

Rainbow Flame's Metal Domain 8.2/10

One of the brightest new power metal bands to pop up recently is Crystal Eyes, from Sweden. They blend in pieces of Hammerfall, Gamma Ray, and Running Wild seamlessly with a bit of Yngwie sprinkled over the top and a splash of Blind Guardian in some of the medieval influeced sections. Its a recipe for success, and they are aiming for just that. "World of Black and Silver" is an excellent album being a debut release. Their sound is pretty standard formula, until you start counting the guitarwork which is captivating throughout this disk. The riffs and solos splattered all over the tunes are extremely unusual, and very addictive. If there is one thing that stands out in this release, its the outstanding axeslinging. The vocalist is nothing spectacular, being in the same type as Joacim Cains from Hammerfall, but with a slightly deeper voice, better equipped for singing about dragons and kings and all those medieval things convincingly. The rhythm section is fairly tight, and hammers when it needs to. Songs are all well written, with punch, flair, melody and enough progressive type elements to keep them spiced up and interesting. In fact if there's antyhing I would count off for, its the lyrics, which, I am sure they did their best, but it comes off as cheesy if you take the words and actually read the verses. However, oddly enough, the way its delivered it gives the illusion of being perfect with shades of brilliance, which shows just how much good music can overpower lyrics in a heartbeat. Too many highlights from the album to mention, but I'll pick a handful anyway. "Extreme Paranoia" is a frantic speed metal tune that reminds me of Gamma Ray. Haunting through and through is "Victims of the Frozen Hate" with its guitar driven melodies, icy acoustic guitar that sends shivers up the spine, and a very convincing vocal performace. My pick of the album, its not too speedy nor too slow, but instead opts for a pacing inbetween. The solo completely rips, backed up by some slow heavy rhythm guitar work, while the lead guitar shreds all over the place, and the buildup after the solo back into the chorus is suitably dramatic. "Rage of the Sea" features a blistering opening riff that is so Running Wild-like that its nearly scary. The medieval feel it radiates could also have landed it on something similar to the Conan the Barbarian soundtrack. Just another example of the high standards set for axeslinging on this album. Its not your everyday filler riffs and substandard "just because" solos. That short opening riff is slipped in here and there throughout the song to retain that feel achieved at the very beginning. The fading sounds of the ocean waves adds an extra atmospheric touch to the ending. "Winds of the Free" is quick and fast like a strong blowing wind. Straightforward and packed with guitar and a great chorus, its just another good song on a great album. The frantic double bass drumwork and fiery guitarwork blast this song wide open. The grand finale for the album, the title track, "World of Black and Silver" is an odd little tune, that truly sounds like it comes out of another universe, or perhaps even from a world of black and silver. Never have I heard acoustic work that is as grabbing as this in a way that it just crawls into the skin, which provides the "silver" feel of the song. While the "black" would definitely be the insane laughter the singer suddenly breaks off into, which is quite unnerving. A mystical trip into a delusional world of insanity, which I have a feeling was inspired by the Crimson Glory song "Lost Reflection". Crystal Eyes may sound like a mishmash of other favorite power metal bands, but their songs are far from sounding like standard material. They toss in plenty of little extras like, chimes, riffs, samples such as birds singing or the ocean waves, that takes the listener off guard. Many times during the first few runs through the album, I would gasp in surprise over the direction a song would take or the sheer addictiveness of some of their riffs. Its not a common thing for music to be capable of shaking up the listener and going far beyond their current expectations as this album often does. A real gem of a debut release for 1999, if Crystal Eyes is capable of this kind of work now, just wait for their next album, they have the talent to make it big in the power metal world. Keep your eye on this band, they will definitely be moving up in the ranks very shortly. BY: Alanna Evans

 

Rock Hard 8/10

Wasaland öffnet seine Pforten und schickt eine weitere hoffnungsvolle Truppe in die Schlacht um die True Metal-Krone. Und die lässt erst gar keine Zweifel an ihrer Mission aufkommen und drückt mit Interstellar War und Gods Of The World (incl. Maiden'scher Gitarrenharmonien) gleich zwei schnelle Doublebass-Hämmer durch die Boxen die Hymnencharakter haben und aufzeigen, daß hier auch instrumental alles im Lot ist. Im selben Stil und auf recht hohem Niveau geht's weiter mit Krachern wie The Dragon's Lair, Eyes Of The Forest Gloom, dem von einem Running Wild-Riff eingeleiteten, majestätischen Rage On The Sea, dem Fetzer Extreme Paranoia und dem Stampfer Glory Ride, die allesamt Punkte sammeln können und mit eingängigen Refrains der Marke Hammerfall und Nocturnal Rites gesegnet sind. Die Dinger gehen schon nach einmaligem Anhören ins Ohr, wobei an der einen oder anderen Stelle recht dick aufgetragen wird. World Of Black And Silver wird mit Sicherheit zwiespältige Reaktionen provozieren, aber den Vorwurf mangelnder Originalität und Eigenständigkeit müsste sich theoretisch jede zweite Combo aus dem True Metal-Lager gefallen lassen. Also, was soll's? This is war, man! Da geht es nun mal ums nackte Überleben. CRYSTAL EYES bringen jedenfalls gute Voraussetzungen mit um die nächste Runde zu erreichen. So raise your fists and let the battle commence! All hail to thee!!! BY: Wolfgang Schäfer

 

Shapeless Zine 7/10

World Of Black And Silver è il disco d'esordio degli svedesi Crystal Eyes, ma molti si staranno chiedendo: "chi cazzo sono questi Crystal Eyes?" La band suona un power metal becero, tecnicamente non eccelso, ma di sicuro effetto, con delle composizioni sempre convincenti, che non annoiano l'ascoltatore. Per quanto riguarda le liriche, queste sono una figata (we are the heroes of our time, across the battlefield soldiers are raging tonight, power and glory, we'll never die...ci siamo capiti vero?) e fanno esaltare un casino! La band è formata dal leader Mikael Dahl alla voce e alla chitarra, da Jonathan Nyberg all'altra chitarra, da Claes Wikander al basso e da Kujtim Gashi alla batteria. Mettendo il CD nel lettore ci si accorge subito che la produzione è molto scadente (sembra quasi registrato in un garage) e questo penalizza un po' tutto il lavoro, per fortuna che a livello compositivo non ci sono appunti da fare, il disco fila via bene dall'inizio alla fine e non ci sono passaggi che suonano male o annoiano. Il metal proposto si attesta su velocità elevate e presenta una buona dose di epicità e, seppur privo di tecnicismi, è fatto in maniera semplice ma davvero efficace, e questa secondo me è la cosa più importante, al contrario di tanti gruppi ultratecnici che inseriscono passaggi complicatissimi nei loro brani, che alla fine non riescono a comunicare nulla e finiscono solo per appesantire l'ascolto del disco (ovviamente senza generalizzare, c'è chi lo fa e pure molto bene, però tante volte capita di sentire tecnicismi fini a se stessi). Il cantante si dimostra abbastanza dotato, di sicuro non un mostro, ma svolge il maniera ottimale il suo compito, cavandosela bene sia su tonalità alte che più basse, il resto del gruppo fa il suo dovere, con una prova adeguata. I pezzi migliori dell'album risultano essere "Interstellar War", "Gods Of The World", "Eyes Of The Forest Gloom" e "Rage On The Sea". Una menzione a parte spetta alla title track, posta in chiusura, che si discosta dal resto delle composizioni, andando in una direzione maggiormente "oscura", ma risultando comunque uno dei pezzi meglio riusciti dell'album. In conclusione un discreto album di power metal, molto piacevole da ascoltare, ma che sarebbe potuto essere molto buono se avesse avuto una produzione decente. Comunque consigliato a tutti gli amanti del power metal, chi invece detesta il genere è meglio che se ne stia alla larga. BY: Metal Axe

 

Shapeless Zine 7/10

La band svedese approda a questo suo primo lavoro dopo vari demos e vari cambi di formazione, in cui l'unica costante rimane Mikael Dahl (cantante, chitarrista e principale compositore di musica e testi), l'album lo definirei discreto, l'unico difetto è che la band ripropone quanto già fatto da Helloween, Iron Maiden e Manowar, infatti il loro genere è power anni '80 e primi '90 con influenze epic. Da rilevare che il disco è stato prodotto con buoni risultati finali, se si eccettua il suono della batteria che certe volte non è proprio eccellente. Essendo il leader della band anche chitarrista e principale compositore, non ci si può meravigliare che le trame chitarristiche e gli assoli siano in primo piano rispetto agli altri strumenti, ma bisogna anche affermare che Dahl è veramente molto bravo e dotato di gran classe riuscendo a creare atmosfere e riffs accattivanti, anche se non proprio il massimo dell'originalità. Sembra meno ispirato quando si cimenta alla voce, che sebbene non sia affatto male, risulta troppo simile in tutte le canzoni e non riesce a distaccarsi dal copiare lo stile di Kiske (ex vocalist degli Helloween). Fra le canzoni che mi hanno più colpito segnalo "Eyes Of The Forest Gloom" e "Rage On The Sea", le altre sono perlopiù sullo stesso livello, ad eccezione della titletrack che chiude l'album, che risulta essere una ballad alquanto moscia e prevedibile, priva di energia, dove solo il chitarrista riesce in qualche sprazzo a renderla interessante con le sue parti acustiche. I testi sono ispirati a tematiche fantasy ed epiche. Per apprezzarlo ho dovuto ascoltarlo varie volte, la prima volta mi ha lasciato indifferente. Un debutto non male speriamo che personalizzino di più le composizioni. Nel sito della band troverete alcuni brani in mp3 da scaricare. BY: metalchurch

 

The Metal Observer 

This band smokes HAMMERFALL. Shew, there, I said it! This CD takes the good of HAMMERFALL and improves it tenfold (kinda like NOCTURNAL RITES). These guitar-players shred like a government secretary, and the singer has a fire all his own. Aside from a passage here and there, he is as solid as anyone. This band is from Sweden, like HAMMERFALL, but the main difference is CRYSTAL EYES didn't just hit #1 on the Swedish charts for spounging off of HELLOWEEN like that one band........was I talking out loud again? Now as I said in an article I wrote one time, I don't care for Metal-anthems and songs about dragonfire farts, or whatever, but since this topic dominates Power Metal, I guess I have no choice in the matter. Especially for this CD, I don't mind. This is an awesome CD, full of fire and dynamics not to be ignored. Go to this band's website, buy this CD and pick up a shirt while you're there, because they deserve to be #1 on the charts, not HAMMERWEEN, or is it HELLERFALL? DISCLAIMER: I LOVE HAMMERFALL, BUT THE LATEST RELEASE WAS A BIG DISAPPOINTMENT TO ME. BY: Wes

 

Tombstone 8/10

These guys are from Sweden and they are playing Heavy Power Metal in the veins of Blind Guardian. They are also influenced by some Speed Metal bands from Germany. The German school of metal seems to be their greatest influence anyway. Heavy guitars and groovy songs combined with rough vocals and some melodies in the rhythms are creating an excellent mix of Heavy Metal. The production is very heavy and fits perfectly with the songs. The lyrics speak about fantasy and science fiction and the songs are like hymns. These guys could prove to be the next metal kings from Sweden in a few years. If you like straight Heavy Metal then you must check them out. BY: