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DISCOGRAPHY

VENGEANCE DESCENDING

 

SONGS

TIME

MUSIC

LYRICS

1. Vengeance Descending

5:52

Mikael Dahl

Dahl, Götesson

2. Highland Revenge

5:02

Mikael Dahl

Mikael Dahl

3. Child Of Rock

6:17

Mikael Dahl

Mikael Dahl

4. Mr. Failure

5:32

Mikael Dahl

Mikael Dahl

5. Dream Chaser

6:43

Mikael Dahl

Mikael Dahl

6. The Wizard's Apprentice

7:11

Mikael Dahl

Andreas Götesson

7. Metal Crusade

5:12

Mikael Dahl

Mikael Dahl

8. The Beast In Velvet

5:29

Mikael Dahl

Andreas Götesson

9. Heart Of The Mountain

5:43

Mikael Dahl

Mikael Dahl

10. Oblivion In The Visionary World

5:54

Mikael Dahl

Mikael Dahl

 

Release date: 2003-05-12. Catalogue number: Heavy Fidelity 1. EAN number: 7350013660016. Vocals, guitars and keyboards by Mikael Dahl. Guitars by Jonathan Nyberg. Bass guitars by Claes Wikander. Drums by Stefan Svantesson. Lead vocals on 6 by Daniel Heiman. Lead vocals on 8 and backing vocals on 1-10 by Gerd Salewski. Production and mixing by Mikael Dahl and Claes Wikander at Crystal Sounds August 2002 to March 2003. Mastering by Tobias Lindell at Studio Tremolo 2003-02-10. Cover artwork and logotype by Kristian Wåhlin. Logotype design by Andreas Götesson. Photos by Johan Bjerke. Design and layout by Tommy Dahl. Also released under license in Russia by CD-Maximum.

 

1 Heavy Metal 

Sweden's Crystal Eyes returns with their 4th release continuing on their melodic power metal journey with just a slight hint of progressive metal thrown in for good measure. "Highland Revenge" is a crunching metal track that would have been more appropriate as the lead track on the CD (although the lead title track is a blazing romp in itself). The acoustic break in the middle nicely segues into a heavier guitar solo section. "Child Of Rock" has a definite Accept vibe throughout with the guitars recalling the Wolf Hoffman "Balls To The Wall" era. "Mr. Failure" has a Gamma Ray happy metal gallop throughout while "Dream Chaser" wonders more so into a traditional Iron Maiden territory. I noticed that several other reviewers were in agreement with me that "Metal Crusade" has a definite Judas Priest feel to it. This is where I feel Crystal Eyes excels, sticking with a more traditional metal sound rather than the overdone Gamma Ray style so many bands strive for these days. "The Beast In Velvet" is a rather unique track that has a rather upbeat sound. The heavier edge to "Heart Of The Mountain" makes this track stand out alongside "Metal Crusade". Closing track "Oblivion In The Visionary World" is mostly acoustic with an electric solo in the middle. This track displays Crystal Eyes' strength in terms of vocal harmony among members. Vocalist Mikael Dahl has a wide vocal range allowing for him to hit the high notes all the while maintaining a richer, deeper vocal tone when necessary. His guitar playing along side that of Jonathan Nyberg makes for a thick layer of 6 strings. Crystal Eyes also does a marvelous job with the professional packaging of "Vengeance Descending". The very attractive cover and booklet shows a mature attitude toward marketing the band and more importantly attracting worldwide label interest outside of their native Sweden. BY: Greg Uhrlen

 

Axefeast 4/5

Detta är Boråsborna Crystal Eyes 3:e alster i ordningen, och brukar man inte säga “3:e gången gillt”? I detta fallet stämmer det i alla fall. Jag har tidigare inte hört så mycket av bandet. Men det jag har hört är av mycket hög klass, och så är fallet även denna gången, om inte bättre dessutom. På "Vengeance Descending" kan vi bl.a. hitta en personlig favorit "Highland Revenge" som av att döma efter texten antagligen dediceras filmen "Braveheart" och budskapet bakom den. Här finns även låten "Child of Rock", en klassisk metalsvängom i Manowars tecken och som sångaren/gitarristen Mikael Dahl även tillägnar sin dotter Jennifer. Även den är en favorit som lätt sätter sig i huvudet. På låten "The Wizard’s Apprentice" sköts all leadsång av ingen mindre än Daniel Heiman från Lost Horizon. En annan liten rolig överraskning på denna plattan är att efter den sista låten har tystnat i högtalarna så kommer ytterligare en låt efter några minuter. Men det är inte någon direkt metal-låt vi får höra, utan mer nått oseriöst fyllepunk-trams på någon minut eller 2. Man kan helt enkelt inte låta bli att skratta. Gillar man den typiska hårda, men melodiösa metallen från 80-talet i stil med Manowar, Iron Maiden, Pretty Maids och Queensrÿche så är Crystal Eyes' "Vengeance Descending" antagligen plattan för dig. Klart värd sina pengar! BY: Oscar Petersson

 

Blood Chamber 9/10

Da ist es wieder. Dieses bestimmte Gefühl beim Hören von Musik, das zu erzeugen nur wenige erlesene Bands schaffen. Dieses unbeschreibliche Glücksgefühl, das man nur bei seinen absoluten Götter Platten verspürt. Es gibt wahrlich verdammt viele geniale und noch genialere Alben auf dieser Welt, und dennoch verspürt man dieses extremere Gefühl beim Musikhören nur bei bestimmten Gruppen, die es auf unglaubliche Art und Weise schaffen einen besonders in der Musik aufgehen zu lassen. Eine der Bands die es geschafft haben sind die Schweden CRYSTAL EYES. Mit ihrem dritten Album "Vengeance Descending" schaffen sie es einmal mehr dieses gewisse etwas in ihrem Power Metal zu verstecken. Während die sogenannte Fachpresse die vier Mannen immer noch als belanglose HELLOWEEN etc. Kopie abtun, dreht der Underground regelrecht durch bei bloßer Erwähnung des Namens, und attestiert den Schweden eine der "unterbewertetsten Bands" zu sein. Nach schwerwiegenden Differenzen mit ihrem alten Label, haben sich CRYSTAL EYES mit ihrem eigenem Budget ein Studio eingerichtet (so gut es eben ging) und mit DMP Sweden haben sie noch ein neues engagiertes Label im Rücken. Dann haben sie sich ins Studio geschlossen und dieses Album eingespielt. Da Fronter Mikael Dahl ein absoluter Metal Maniac ist, gibt er im Booklet als Einflüsse hunderte von Bands an, dennoch lässt sich der Stil der vier als Power Metal im klassischem Sinn identifizieren. Die Punkte an denen sich die Geister wohl scheiden werden ist erstens der Gesang, der in manchen Momenten ein wenig an HAMMERFALL erinnert, und zwotens die Songs an sich, die böswillige Menschen wieder einmal als "Happy Metal" abstempeln werden. Letztendlich kann einem das aber scheissegal sein, denn die Songs selbst sind verdammt stark. Melodische, eingängig, mitreißend, was will man mehr. Die Produktion die ja im eigenem Studio entstand, ist eine Art klassischer Achtziger Sound, aber dennoch mit einem modernem Touch, aber immer gut zu dem Sound den die Jungs spielen passend. Textlich wird auch eine enorm abwechslungsreiche Schiene gefahren. Neben klassischen Fantasy bzw. Science Fiction Texten("The Wizards Apprentice", "The Beast In Velvet" und der Titeltrack), gibt es auch Filminterpretationen (zB mit "Oblivion In The Visionary World", das von The Matrix inspiriert wurde) oder"Mr. Failure" in dessen Text Mikael seine Meinung über die Mainstream Medien preisgibt, die nur über Metal herziehen, ohne wirklich Ahnung von der Materie zu haben. Sogar eine Art MANOWAR Text hat sich eingeschlichen (ratet mal welcher). Die Lead Vocals werden bei zwei Tracks dann sogar von befreundeten Sängern übernommen, die stilistisch aber absolut nicht aus der Rolle fallen. Wer die beiden anderen CRYSTAL EYES Alben mochte, wird auch "Vengeance Descending" lieben, alle die die Schweden als Kopie abstempeln, sollten sich mal auf die Musik einlassen, und diejenigen die mit solcher Art von Musik überhaupt nichts anfangen können, sollten auch hiervon die Finger lassen. Mir jedenfalls hat die CD verdammt viel Freude gebracht, und wird wohl noch einige Male öfter in meinem Player rotieren. Ich gebe jetzt bewusst keine zehn Punkte, weil sich wohl wirklich die Geister scheiden werden an den oben angesprochenen Punkten, daher nur neun. Außerdem glaube ich das die Skandinavier mit dem nächsten Album noch einen drauflegen werden. Und noch etwas an die Band: Thank you for this fucking great piece of music!!! COME JOIN THE METAL CRUSADE! BY: Benjamin Dressel

 

Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles 7/10

Initial release by new Swedish label. None too surprisingly, they opted for Crystal Eyes, countrymen who combine the sensibilities of Gamma Ray and HammerFall, which is sure to shift a few units. Ten metallic anthems, with big, easily singable choruses and a mid-tempo pace, apart from the acoustic finale, "Oblivion In The Visionary World". "Mr. Failure" is a vindictive swipe at an unnamed music journalist! Lively, well-executed power metal. BY: Mark Gromen

 

Froster 10/10

Сей диск попал ко мне уже достаточно давно, но все никак не приходила его очередь попасть ко мне в вертак и быть расписанным на старицах сайта. Но все же всему когда-то суждено исполняться, послушал я наконец-то "Vengeance Descending". Вы знаете, проперло! Проперло как надо. В принципе мало кто в нынешнем power metal может меня удивить. Но шведские группы постоянно это делают. То меня поразили HARMONY, то LOST HORIZON порадовали. CRYSTAL EYES тоже однозначно рулят. Группа далеко не новички, играют аж с 1992 года, данная пластинка это уже третий полнофрматник. Среди тех, в чьей струе парни двигаются можно смело назвать GAMMA RAY, ранний HELLOWEEN и IRON MAIDEN. Так что как вы понимаете вас ожидает целый час настоящего качевого хэви, без всяких там сполей! Впрочем, 10-ой вещью на диске стоит офигенная баллада "Oblivion In The Visionary World". Остальные же вещи весьма разноплановые, от среднетемповых песен до шустрых боевиков. Отличная работа, что там долго говорить. Рекомендовано всем. BY: 

 

Hard Sounds 72/100

Al terzo disco i Crystal Eyes decidono infine di allinearsi un po' più agli altri gruppi, oppure prima mancavano "i dineri", fatto sta che questo "Vengeance Descending" risulta esere molto meno ostico dei suoi due predecessori. Maturazione della band? Sicuramente sì, ma non solo. Singer mandato a lezione? Non credo, ma potrebbe essere. Sicuramente Dahl regala una prestazione molto più convincente su questo album che sugli altri, si potrebbe quasi dire che ha capito quale sia il suo posto ed abbia "tirato fuori i cosiddetti", insomma appare ben più sicuro nel suo ruolo, ed ecco che finalmente sappiamo quanto vale la sua voce. Non sarà incommensurabile, ma rimane una voce interessante e soprattutto valida, finalmente consapevole della propria potenza ed estensione, ed utilizzata di conseguenza. Per il resto lo stile del gruppo appare palesemente fedele a se' stesso, solo maturato, sia tecnicamente che a livello di songwriting; da segnalare come la formazione paia non aver risentito del cambio di drummer: Svantesson si adatta perfettamente alle ritmiche del suo predecessore, riuscendo a mantenere l'intelaiatura delle canzoni vicina a quella dei primi due dischi. I riferimenti ai Grandi, dai GammaRay agli Helloween, aumentano, ma tendenzialmente in misura non eccesiva (unica eccezione, l'intro e la prima parte della title-track che rasentano il plagio dai Judas Priest). Insomma l'effetto complessivo è convincente, l'impatto è quello di un disco gustoso sebbene non innovativo, e ben rappresenta il livello raggiunto dal gruppo, che può ormai considerarsi oltre la fase dei meri esordienti. Resta da vedere che direzione prenderanno ora. BY: Gianclaudio Plebani

 

Heavy Metal Universe 5/6

No! It's not the re-release version of TESTAMENT's "The New Order"! It's the third album of the swedish band CRYSTAL EYES... CRYSTAL EYES belongs to that kind of bands which are making great albums without being known by a large audience. How such an excellent combo can be such ignored ? This is a question I'm thinking about since the releasing of their very first album (World of black and silver) in 1999. The only negative thing we can say about the two first releases (World of black an silver, In silence they march) is that the sound's quality was pretty crappy and the labels not really active... But now the band possess it's own studio and it's own sound... and that's quite great for it really sounds well ! "Vengeance Descending" could be described as 80's heavy speed metal compared to what NOCTURNAL RITES was doing on their two first records, that is some wonderful mix of unforgettable melodies and refrains, razor-riffs and full-of-fingers-solos... Moreover, "The Wizard's Apprentice" welcome Daniel Heiman (LOST HORIZON) on vocals, so hopefully it will help CRYSTAL EYES to become more attractive for a certain audience... But anyway, "Vengeance Descending" kicks some serious ass, heavy speed fans must have it! BY: Séb

 

Hellion Records 

Ich wollte es ja nicht wahrhaben, aber es gibt doch noch Heavy Metal Bands mit melodischem Einschlag, die mir gut gefallen. Crystal Eyes haben aber auch einen sehr geilen Sound, erfüllt mit Leben und der Magie des Stahls. Die Kompositionen an sich sind reich an Abwechslung, sehr harmonielastig, in den Aufbauten nicht zu straight und doch geradlinig genug, um den Metalfan nicht gleich abzuschrecken. Fast schon typisch teutonisch klingt dieses gute Stück, was man durchaus als Kompliment sehen sollte. Gute Strophenmelodien und Refrains mit hymnischem Mitgröhleffekt finden sich in beinahe schon beängstigender Dichte auf dem Album. Da haben sich Crystal Eyes ordentlich ins Zeug gelegt, dem noch jungen Sommer den passenden Soundtrack zu schenken. An Tiefgang und Substanz sparen sie nicht, erheben des Hörers Gemüt in Sphären der Erleuchtung und Glückseeligkeit. Sogar der noch immer vor Eifersucht glühende Sir Lord Doom bekommt langsam einen versöhnlichen Gesichtsausdruck, wobei Pierre und ich dennoch aufpassen müssen, dass die Kristallaugen nicht wie Spionagekameras unser Schäferstündchen überwachen, hehe. Der Spagat zwischen Anspruch und Eingängigkeit ist der Band durchweg geglückt. Spieltechnisch geraten die Jungs ab und zu sogar in einen Zustand der Raserei, entfesseln wildeste Soli und Rhythmusorkane, was wiederum zum puren Metal zurückführt. Das Klangbild ist lebendig, emotional, dennoch glasklar und wuchtig, eine gute Kombination. Crystal Eyes sollten diejenigen antesten, die von den wirklichen Mainstreammelodicspeedbands genervt sind. BY: Tanja Popolek

 

Live 4 Metal 

Vengeance Descending is the third offering from Sweden's Crystal Eyes, a four-piece melodic power-metal group featuring Mikael Dahl on vocals, guitars and keyboards, Jonathan Nyberg on guitars, Claes Wikander on bass guitar, and newcomer Stefan Svantesson, who replaces Kujtim Gashi on drums. There are also two other singers featured on this CD, Gerd Salewski of Chroming Rose on "The Wizard’s Apprentice" (the standout track in my opinion) and Daniel Helman of Lost Horizon on "The Beast in Velvet". The band reminds me of a cross between Thundersteel-era Riot and Gamma Ray, with a little epic Blind Guardian thrown in for good measure. Guitar is clearly the focus here, so much that the production suffers a bit. The drums and bass tend to get a bit lost in the mix because the guitars tend to overpower them. This being said, what guitar work it is! The riffing and soloing on this CD is outstanding. The prerequisite flash-and-dash playing is here, but also some very tastefully constructed pieces reminding me of a Schenker-esque style using melody and emotion to really drive things home. Musically, I don’t feel that there is a weak link in the performance. All band members perform equally well and obviously have a huge amount of talent. That being said, while the musicianship is very good, there is work to be done in the songwriting department. Pretty much every metal cliché in the book is used, (check out "Metal Crusade" and "Child of Rock" for instance) which can get very tiring early on in listening to this disc. The lyrics could use some work, also…surely there are better rhymes for the word "forever" than "no, never,” and how many times does "sun" have to be rhymed with "one"? There are some hidden gems on the album though, including the aforementioned "The Wizard’s Apprentice,” "The Beast in Velvet,” "The Heart of the Mountain," and "Dream Chaser.” If you love great music and think lyrics are over-rated anyway, you’ll want to check out Vengeance Descending. BY: John

 

Maximum Metal 

Sweden's sensational power metal act Crystal Eyes have hit the metal market again, this time delivering their third record and first for new label DMP called "Vengeance Descending". I've followed this band throughout their early career and I will have to say this new offering is their best work to date. When the band's debut, "World Of Black & Silver", came out on ABS in 1999, I knew these guys were serious contenders for the power metal crown. I thought the vocals could use some help and the production certainly could have been better, but all in all that album was absolutely killer. Think of a more metallic Stratovarius meeting a more diverse Gamma Ray. The band hit the studio again in 2000, this time releasing the follow-up album entitled "In Silence They March" (killer album cover!) on Shark Records. This was somewhat of a step down in my opinion. The songwriting certainly wasn't there, and the direction of the songs was almost silly at times. Well I guess the band knew what they had to do. They went back into the studio a third time and created their best effort, "Vengeance Descending". From what I have read, Crystal Eyes were not very pleased with their first two records, so they decided to take matters into their own hands. They switched record labels to DMP for starters, then took on the mammoth task of creating their own studio to record the new album. The result is stunning. This album just smokes from beginning to end. If you love European power metal, and God knows I do, then this is right up your alley. If you really don't care for this genre, then I suggest you stay away because Crystal Eyes really stay true to this sound, not really bending the boundaries at all, just happy going at it full force and playing what they like...epic European power metal. Songs like "Mr. Failure", "Metal Crusade", and the title track are done just right, adding a bit of this and a dose of that to bring a Helloween, Stratovarius, Judas Priest, Gamma Ray...well you get the point. These guys bring more of the same, but mix it up a bit. I really love those tracks as well as keeper "Child Of Rock", which is more New Wave than anything, reminding me of Chroming Rose crossed with Warlord. Great track to slow things down a notch. A little bit of Grave Digger styled songwriting emerges with "Highland Revenge", which is hands down the best cut on this record. Lost Horizon frontman Daniel Heiman steps in on "The Wizard's Apprentice", and speaking of Chroming Rose, their vocalist swings by for a guest appearance on "The Beast In Velvet". Every song is magical in its own right, and I must say since I've followed this band since the beginning, I'm very proud of these guys. They have finally fulfilled the expectations that I've had for them since day one. Keep up the great work men! Top 25 CD of 2003 in many books I'm sure. BY: Eric Compton

 

Melodic Hardrock Today 

Crystal Eyes is a true melodic heavy metal band, with influences of power metal and small bits of progressive metal. As I wrote in the first review this time it seems like glam rock is on its way back, and I also think the same thing is happening with the good old heavy metal. Crystal Eyes is evidence enough to make me believe that this is true and they prove it in an impressive way with their third album, Vengeance Descending. One of the things I noticed after some listenings is the guitar playing from Mikael and Jonathan, they have a unique sound on their guitars. Both the guitarists plays solos and they impress me with their skills! Mikael is also the singer in the band, he has a very good voice and compared to other vocalists in this genre he sings a bit deeper on some songs, but Mikael has a very comfortable voice who lifts the songs to big heights. The ten tracks are very varieted and changes from fast melodic metal to heavier and slower metal songs. It took me some listenings to get familiar with their songs, but I like them better and better each time I hear them. As I said earlier, this is the first album I have ever heard of Crystal Eyes, but they impress me so much that I will purchase their two first albums too. Songs like Vengeance Descending, Highland Revenge, Child Of Rock, are three very different songs and shows us great instrumental skills and a huge sense of songwriting. Dream Chaser reminded me of a song from Iron Maiden, especially at the start. Metal Crusade is a song who could have been performed by Judas Priest if they had held on to their style from the Defenders Of The Faith-album. Heart Of The Mountain is my favourite track. It starts with great guitars before the first verse, the song builds up and has a huge refrain. After three and a half minutes, an instrumental part comes, and you will understand what I mean with great guitars when you hear this. The album ends with Oblivion In The Visionary World, a lovely ballad. My conclusion of my first acquaintance with Crystal Eyes is that I have become a huge fan of their songs, and I will recommend this album to all metal fans around the world directly from my heart. BY: Arne Asbølmo

 

Metal Archives 79/100

This is the band Daniel Heiman of Lost Horizon recently joined as the studio vocalist for their upcoming 2005 effort, Confessions of the Maker, to be released early next year, and since both you and I know how much of a vocal God Daniel Heiman is, I thought it necessary to finally get around to reviewing the previous Crystal Eyes effort, Vengeance Descending, on which Heiman sings lead vocals on a single track, “The Wizards Apprentice”. Based on this disc, I think Crystal Eyes is a pretty good band with potential to be even better. Their vocals are one of their weaker points, and Heiman will turn that right around, but their biggest problem is songs that don’t have clear enough focus. Sometimes they will start out boring, and then move into a chorus that really kicks ass, sounding nothing like the verse. The title track is the prime example of this, as the chorus and verse don’t even belong in the same song. Some of the guitar work on here is excellent, thanks to the solid guitar duo of Mikael Dahl and Jonathan Nyberg. The best example of their stellar work can be found on “Child of Rock”, a fairly good song in itself, but with a beautiful and melodic guitar solo near the end. I do have a problem with their riffs, as while they are usually quite catchy and enjoyable, they aren’t nearly aggressive enough, and the guitar tone in the production is a bit weak. Hopefully this is corrected in the upcoming album, as it keeps this one from a higher score. Anyway, if you like power metal you should check this out. Most people won’t really like it, as it doesn’t do enough to distinguish itself from the pack, but power metal fans definitely will. Here’s hoping their next one has the songwriting to really distance itself from the pack, because with Heiman’s voice behind it they automatically get a 3/5 before they even lay down a single track, and the score only goes up from there. We’ll find out in a few months how far up it goes. BY: requiem99

 

Metal Domination 9,5/10

Here we have the third full length album of this band from Sweden. Crystal Eyes formed back in 1992. They have influences from the European power metal scene with bands like Helloween and Gamma Ray. But you can easily recognize that Crystal Eyes plays power metal also with influences from epic metal. The production is in high levels and the sound too. Also they have an excellent booklet and a very good CD cover. BY: Antonis Maglaras

 

Metal Judgment 3/5

So here we have it, boys and girls, ten brand-new jams from Swedish metal veterans Crystal Eyes. This band has been known in the past for their well-written Heavy Metal tunes with slight Power Metal influences, and they stick to their guns here on Vengeance Descending. This one is another solid album, featuring mid-paced drumming and guitar rhythms with occasional harmonies and lighter interludes. The band has a clearly outlined Eighties-core wrapped in a blanket of velvety milk chocolate melodies. Vocalist/Guitarist Mikael Dahl has a very strong singing style and is definitely a highlight of this release; he sings powerfully but does not attempt to outduel the music, as some vocalists in this genre insist on doing. His soloing is excellent as well, and when coupled with the work of additional axeman Jonathan Nyberg, Crystal Eyes put forth a great guitar effort. As talented as these guys are musically, it is their lyrics that pique my interest the most. Two examples stand out a bit more than the rest. Firstly, there is "Mr. Failure," which seems to deal with the band's distaste for a certain reviewer or magazine. Lyrics like "Our music is not made for you / 'Cause 'bout Metal you don't have a clue" and "You say you do not like our sound / But we do not care, just leave our ground" show that the band is not afraid to stray from the usual dark subject matter of metal songs. Crystal Eyes have very few serious bones in their bodies, and they exude an obviously humorous aura not seen since the heyday of Bay Area Thrash. "Child of Rock," a track dedicated to a band member's daughter, is another standout that continues the lyrical lightheartedness: "Spread your wings and fly, we will take you high / Child of Rock / You were born and bound to the Heavy sound / Child of Rock / Trust us when we say: Take the Metal way!." Wow, now THOSE are some metal lyrics, and that kid is going to be the best guitarist on the block! These guys have performed somewhat under the radar throughout their career, being overshadowed by fellow Swedes like In Flames, Hammerfall and Meshuggah, and Vengeance Descending is the band's first CD with any kind of real distribution. This ought to get the band a bit more notoriety in the Heavy Metal world. Crystal Eyes are a very talented band that warrants a listen. The band's webpage offers a bevy of tracks to taste, so take a listen! BY: Equinox

 

Metal March 10/10

Talk about surprises, this band was such a good one that no matter how many times I listen to this, the more I'm convinced. This album is able to grab you by your balls right from the start and never let them go, believe me! I've sat down and relaxed for a while so I didn't write this review with haste, but my opinion is still the same. This is probably the best Heavy Metal album I've ever heard so far, and I'm not even a fanatic of the genre like many of you are, I'm sure. I'm talking about a Swedish band called Crystal Eyes, whom I've never heard of until now by the way, but surely a name that I won't forget! I had this CD entitled "Vengeance Descending" for about a week before picking it up (hey, I have lots of other albums to review too!), and I can't believe that I had such a good release for so long without even knowing it, specially because normally I like to preview every album I get, even if I don't have time to listen to it during a couple of times for the review. I have to confess that the cover did not appeal to me all that much, I mean, the drawing is good, but I just didn't think it fits the cover of the album. On the other hand, I've seen the covers from the past two releases of this band, and they are actually quite good. Crystal Eyes were formed back in 1992, and after a couple of bad times, I get the feeling that they will go places, it's just a matter of getting this album out there, as it should. I mean, these guys are the greatest melodic crappers or belchers (pick one!) I've seen, each song has something special, I keep forgeting which one is better simply because they are all so damn good. Well, I do have a personal favourite, but I'll get there in a minute. Where the hell have these guys been for so long and how come I've never heard of them before?! Blessed be the day when I contacted their label (Heavy Fidelity) and they decided to send me this little masterpiece! Well, now it's up to me to spread the word, and the music will do the rest! Take my word for it, if you like melodic Heavy Metal, Power Metal, or anything melodic for that matter, Crystal Eyes is definitely the band for you! I just realised that I could be here on and on babbling about how good this album is when what you should do (right after reading my review, of course) is check out this band. The band is also kind enough to provide you several complete Mp3 songs in their website, so you have no excuse! But before you do that, check out our Mp3 section and download the song "Highland Revenge", probably my favourite from this album, it was no surprise to me that it was one of the songs they added in their website as well. The lyrics are also inspired in one of my favourite movies ("Braveheart"), so that's an extra motivation for those who liked the movie as well. And that's it, I'm done writing this review, yet I can't stop listening to "Vengeance Descending"! You know, I've done many reviews during the past year, some albums stick in your mind, others just seem to pass you by, but this one will be kept closely to my stereo for sure, my preciousssss! BY: Pedro Santos

 

Metal Only 

Svenska Crystal Eyes återvänder till metalscenen med sin tredje platta. Med sin 80-tals influerade metal där de står med ena benet i den brittiska hårdrocken och med den andra i den mer trallvänliga tyska motsvarigheten. För att inte tappa balansen så stöder de sig även med en arm mot den amerikanska metallen. De har med andra ord ett brett register att hämta inspiration ifrån och det märks. Melodierna avlöser varandra och de nyss nämnda inspirationskällorna avlöser varandra på ett helt ok sätt. Lyriken är spännande, där finns inspiration tagen från The Matrix, Braveheart, science fiction och fantasy väl sammansatt med träffsäkra melodier. Detta är en lovande uppföljare till gruppens tidigare verk och ljudkvaliteten gör upplevelsen bättre. Det är ett rent och klart ljud utan massa pompösa inslag som annars är vanligt innan genren. Är det heavy metal man lirar ska det även återspeglas i produktionen, vilket de lycktas med! En bra platta, men risken finns att den kan placeras i facket av ”mängdband” som fyller ut denna genre till bredden. Jag kommer dock inte placera den där, svensk metal av den här typen har inte imponerat på mig i stor utsträckning, men Crystal Eyes har i alla fall tänt gnistan. Missa dem inte på Sweden Rock festival i sommar! BY: Peter

 

Metal Realm Webzine 4/5

"Vengeance Descending", es la nueva placa de esta banda Sueca desde "In Silence they march" album lanzado el año 2000. El estilo para esta banda se podría definir como heavy metal con toques de power metal. Esta nueva producción presenta 10 canciones con coros pegajosos al más puro estilo power metal. Se pueden apreciar influencias de bandas como Blind Guardian o GRave Digger, lo cual te da una pauta de que esperar. El desempeño de la banda en la producción es impecable, especialmente la labor del vocalista Mikael Dahl y el baterista Stefan Svantesson, quien no abandona el doble bombo durante casi todo el disco. Vengeance Descending nos ofrece desde temas rápidos (Vengance Descending) hasta baladas (Child of Rock) que te llevan incluso de vuelta a los 80 al recordar a bandas como Twisted Siter o Quiet Riot. De hecho el trabajo hecho con las harmonías en la guitarra recuerda a Iron Maiden en discos como el Powerslave. Quienes han escuchado el trabajo anterior de Crystal Eyes puede que noten un cambio en el performance de Mikael Dhal, quien ahora le da una imposta un poco mas "heavy" y menos "neoclásica" a su voz, lo cual no evita que se luzca exhibiendo una gran amplitud de registro. En definitiva, "Vengeance Decending" es un gran disco, con canciones pegajosas y poderosas de la mano de Dhal y compañía. BY: 

 

Metal Reviews 82/100

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. BY: Marty

 

Metalius 9.5/10

Bei allem, was mir heilig ist, dieses Album hat mich nach allen Regeln der Kunst aus den Latschen gehauen ! Aus irgendwelchen Gründen sind die ersten beiden Scheiben der seit 1992 existierenden Schweden CRYSTAL EYES, "World of black and silver" (1999) und "In silence they march" (2000) völlig an mir vorbei gegangen. Folglich kann ich nicht beurteilen, wie sich dieses famose Quartett entwickelt hat, "Vengeance descending" jedenfalls ist ein Volltreffer der großartigsten Sorte. Einflüsse aus bestem skandinavischen Melodic-/Power-Metal treffen auf überirdische Maiden-beeinflußte Gitarrenarbeit, die an das geniale Steel Prophet-Album "Book of the dead" erinnert, und ganz große, manchmal Gedanken an Edguy hervorrufende Hammer-Refrains. Es ist eine einzige Wonne, meine Damen und Herren. Glorreiche, megaeingängige Kompositionen, fantastische Melodien, ein Weltklasse-Frontmann namens Mikael Dahl, packende, doppelläufige Leads und geile Soli ohne Ende, so und nicht anders muß melodischer Power-Metal klingen ! Ich jedenfalls kriege diese zehn Songs bereits seit Tagen nicht mehr aus dem Kopf. Ein größeres Kompliment kann man einer Band eigentlich kaum machen. CRYSTAL EYES stecken mit diesem Album jedenfalls 98% der übrigen Genrevertreter locker in den Sack und sind für mich eine der Entdeckungen des Jahres. Wenn man eine simple, aber doch unendlich wirkungsvolle Uptempo-Hymne wie "Mr. Failure" mit schwer Medien-kritischem Text hört, möchte man so manchen selbst ernannten Metal-Warrior und auch diverse etablierte Helden in die CRYSTAL EYES-Songwriting-Schule stecken. Ein klein wenig Wasser muß ich leider doch noch in den Wein gießen, denn mit "Child of rock" oder "Metal crusade" haben sich zwei etwas kitschige, mit viel Pathos befrachtete Nummern eingeschlichen, auf die man besser verzichtet hätte. Diese leichten Dämpfer stehen noch zwischen CRYSTAL EYES und der Höchstwertung, den phänomenalen Gesamteindruck kann das allerdings nicht mal ansatzweise zerstören. Melodic Power Metal-Freaks aller Länder, stürmt die Plattenläden Eures Vertrauens und kauft Euch diese CD ! Ich entschuldige mich bis auf weiteres, muß mir "Vengeance rising" unbedingt gleich noch mal geben... BY: Martin van der Laan

 

Monster Magazine 5/5

När både produktionskvaliteten och marknadsföringen inte levde upp till bandets önskemål på deras tidigare alster "World Of Black And Silver" (1999) och "In Silence They March" (2000), bestämde de sig själva för att påbörja arbetet med nya skivan "Vengeance Descending". När de sedan fick möjligheten att ta över en gamal studiolokal i Borås blev det inte sämre! Under tiden augusti 2002 till mars 2003 utrustade grabbarna själva studion så mycket de kunde och hyrde resterande utrustning för att själva kunna sköta hela produktionen. Kvaliteten på materialet som strömmar ut ur högtalarna ger jag ett extra plus i kanten för. En liten vägledning till vart det här barkar väg skulle jag vilja blanda in några influenser som klart avspeglas i resultatet. Den trallvänliga Helloween inspirerade titellåten är i en klass för sig själv med kanonspel av gitarristerna Jonathan Nyberg och Mikael Dahl (även sång). "Mr. Failure" som har lite Iron Maiden dänga här och var lyser också lite extra. Sist men inte minst, den lite episka akustiska balladen "Oblivion In The Visionary World" som bevisar att Jonathan också är en jäkel på klassiska stycken med sin gura. En gästartist på plattan som tål att nämnas är Lost Horizons falsettsångare Daniel Heiman som sjunger lead på "The Wizard’s Apprentice", han är ju känd för sin otroliga pipa, inget ont om Daniel, men jag tror inte att Mikael själv hade gjort bort sig om han sjungit i den låten! Innan har ju Mikael fått lite kritik för just sången, men det var hästlängder sedan. Nu kan han lugnt placeras i toppsångarnas fack utan att känna sig utanför. Ut och köp, för här bevisas det igen att Sverige har ännu ett band i världsklass. BY: Jonas Halvarsson

 

Paradise Metal 8/10

O Crystal Eyes está de volta. Esta ótima banda sueca de Heavy Metal Melódico acaba de lançar seu terceiro álbum, intitulado Vengeance Descending, o qual se mostra mais técnico e energético se comparado aos álbuns anteriores World Of Black And Silver e In Silence They March. Vengeance Descending é repleto de ótimos solos de guitarra, uma bateria bastante coesa e um baixo bem dosado, fazendo com que o disco seja bastante singular. A música Child Of Rock tem uma sonoridade bem Hard Rock, fazendo dela uma das melhores do disco. Mas isso não tira o brilho de nenhuma das outras músicas do álbum, pelo contrário; músicas como The Wizard’s Appretice e Metal Crusade também são ótimas faixas. O álbum se encerra com a excelente balada Oblivion In The Visionary World. Não vou escolher nenhuma faixa predileta, todas têm suas próprias características. Não posso me esquecer da produção do álbum, que está bem cristalina e com um encarte que é uma verdadeira obra-prima, produzida por Kristian Wahlin (Dismember, Bathory...). Só existe um pequeno problema na banda: os vocais de Mikael Dahl precisam melhorar um pouco, mas nada que um pouco mais de treino não resolva. Resumindo, é um ótimo álbum e recomendado para todos os fãs de melódico. BY: Rosberg Lima

 

Peace Dogman 

Being a true music fan isn't black and white. No matter how much you pretend to be all about CAPTAIN BEEFHEART and the JOHN CALE box set, there's always that guilty pleasure stuff. You know you love it. For me, it's 80s metal stuff like DIO's Rainbow in the Dark and ACCEPT's Princess of the Dawn, y'know? It's just so damned catchy, and the guitar licks are so impressive. How about that whole GARY MOORE album Corridors of Power? Flashy guitar, lots of hooks, and.....well, kinda silly lyrics. You can see where I'm going with this. I absolutely loved this thing. I think I liked it a little too much. But, what's wrong with a little cheese? According to the USDA the average person in the United States consumes over 30 lbs of cheese per year. This amount is actually expected to go up, not down in the next few years. I mean, sometimes when Mrs. Peacedogman drags me to a function with her family or friends, I'll park myself over by that yummy hot pepper cheese and just go to town on it. That's kind of what I did here with this release from Sweden's CRYSTAL EYES. This band has been together since 1992 and this is their fourth album. The tightness of a veteran metal band would be an understatement to describe this puppy. It has all the charm and songwriting hooks of the stuff I mentioned above. And....well, I actually had to reevaluate my oft-stated opinion that the national anthem aspect of power metal is nothing more than a trite, overdone HELLOWEEN imitation. This CRYSTAL EYES CD is loaded with such vocals. And it kicks major tail. See....I need to re-examine my outlook on this type of thing. Just about every song on this thing just pulled me right in. The back-and-forth guitar frenzy between Mikael Dahl and Jonathan Nyberg is superb. The obvious influence on the solo style is old school Kirk Hammett. You know...those ripping solos he used to play when you still gave a shit about the Frisco boys. The tune here that just kept bringing me back was The Wizard's Apprentice ...sporting some great blazing lead work that calls to mind fine Kirk moments like Whiplash and One. Just the right pepper and spice to go with your cheese. Seriously, I'm listening to this thing the first time, and marveling at how delightful it is....then I think, It's only real old school if it has the word heavy metal in the choruses, like those old SAXON and HELLOWEEN records. Then, sure enough, track # 7 Metal Crusade lays down the law: Heavy Metal - is our ground, Heavy Metal - is our sound. At that point, I knew there was no turning back. And with each spin I liked it more and more. The disc has recently seen a North American re-release on the Neoblast label, so order your copy today along with some tasty crackers. It's as much fun as taking hits of Cheese Whiz right out of the can. Remember doing that? Yeah, I know you did. BY: Mark

 

Planeta Rock 85/100

"Vengeance Descending" es el cuarto álbum oficial de la agrupación sueca Crystal Eyes, su anterior trabajo, "In Silence They March", fue editado en el 2000 pero bajo el sello Shark Records. Su última placa posee los clásicos sonidos heavy y power de bandas como Hammerfall y Helloween, pero con verdaderos himnos metaleros al mejor estilo de Iron Maiden o Manowar. Y si de esa característica propiamente hablamos, debemos nombrar al mejor tema del álbum "Child of Rock" de extrema justeza en las voces y coros, y pura adrenalina en las guitarras; "Highland Revenge" de claras connotaciones épicas, al igual que todo el álbum, el cual emulando a bandas como Manowar, en las historias de guerreros y de combates en la Edad Media son una carta común. Otro muy buen tema es el que da nombre al disco, el cual tal vez sea de lo mas power metal del CD, pero con mucha melodía, sobretodo en las guitarras, las cuales jamás se vuelven machacosas, manteniendo notas bien melosas. De esa estructura encontramos también "Mr. Failure", "Dream Cheaser", "Metal Crusade", la cual posee un estribillo pegadizo y ganchero a morir, imposible de olvidar hasta para el mas senil de los humanos; y finalmente "Heart of the Mountain". Pero también encontramos un medio tiempo bien power y una balada acústica excelente, que en definitiva enriquecen este gran trabajo. Estamos hablando de "The Beast in Velvet" y "Oblivion in the Visionary World". Aquellos que busquen virtuosismo o frenéticos solos de viola, no los van a encontrar en Crystal Eyes, quienes sí les aseguran tremendos y poderosos himnos heavys propios y clásicos del género. BY: Alexis L. Berman

 

Rock Hard 6.5/10

CRYSTAL EYES gehörten noch nie zu den Originellsten im Melodic-Power-Metal-Universum, verstanden es im Gegensatz zu vielen Mitkonkurrenten aber immer, ihren Metal zwischen Iron Maiden, Saxon, Hammerfall und Running Wild glaubhaft zu übermitteln. Nicht falsches Pathos, gekünstelte Ernsthaftigkeit oder Kirmesbombast macht hier die Musik, sondern schlicht und einfach der Spass an der Sache. Auch auf dem dritten Longplayer der Schweden ist dies der Fall - obwohl dieser ausgerechnet von dem mit Abstand schwächsten und klischeeverhageltsten Track eröffnet wird. Eine überaus wirksame Stolperfalle, die sämtliche gehegten Vorurteile gegenüber dieser Art von Musik zunächst zu bestätigen scheint. Was dann aber folgt, weiss durchaus zu gefallen - gerade auch auf Grund der ideenreichen Gitarrenarbeit und der erfrischend normalen Vocals, die hier und dort sogar dezent an Tad-Morose-Sänger Urban Breed erinnern. Anspieltipp: Child Of Rock. BY: Daniel Böhm

 

Rockradio 4/5

Crystal Eyes bildades för 12 år sedan, 1992 i den stora staden Borås. På plattan Vengeance Descending har de lyckats få ihop det bästa från de två tidigare albumen World of black and silver och In silence they march. Det handlar alltså inte om någon trist Best of skiva utan de har plockat i mitt tycke sound, riff och annat som skapar en mycket tight heavy metal platta. Nytt material men ändå med sköna 80-tals kännetecken! Det ryktas att bandet spelat in den senaste plattan i en egen studio & kanske det lyckade resultatet beror på just detta, att de kunnat ratta själva. Vad hittar man då på denna skiva? Ja, enkelt uttryckt handlar det om vanlig skön heavy metal av den klassiska skolan. Vi bjuds på 10 spår som låter som man väntar sig från ett heavy metal band. Fast kanske lite mer välspelat än vad man är van vid. Spår nummer tre Child Of Rock är den låten som efter en genomlyssning sätter sig. Låter man plattan snurra ett par fullvarv finns det flera guldkorn vilket gör att helheten känns positiv. Hur låter Crystal Eyes? Tänk er en mix av Judas Priest, Iron Maiden och Riot! För alla oss som älskar hårdrock a'la 80-talet är denna platta en riktig partyplatta, en måste ha platta! Kontentan är således att Vengeance Descending borde bana väg för Crystal Eyes både utomlands och här hemma i Sverige. För vem älskar inte 80-tals metal? BY: 

 

Scream Magazine 4/6

Crystal Eyes er svenske, hvis noen nye lesere skulle være i tvil om det, og her er deres tredje studioplate. Bandet har ikke gjort uslettelig inntrykk tidligere, for jeg husker ikke så mye av det jeg har hørt, men denne er verdt å legge merke til. Bandet spiller over hele spekteret fra midtempo heavyrock til erketysk speed metal, og det skulle være helt i orden for meg det. En skikkelig hymne i litt Manowar-ånd dukker opp i form av ”Metal Crusade”, noen låter er litt i stil med nyere Gamma Ray, men mest av alt – både musikalsk og vokalmessig – får bandet meg til å tenke på tyske Chinchilla. Melodiene er hele tiden i sentrum, det er en hel del gode låter selv om den udødelige klassikeren mangler – i det hele tatt en god plate fra et band som ikke kommer til å gå meg hus forbi, eller forbi huset mitt, ved neste anledning. BY: Frode Johnsrud

 

Speed Of Light 7/10

Po dlhšej odmlke sa koneène objavuje novinka od Švédov CRYSTAL EYES. CD si vydali na "vlastnej" firme Heavy Fidelity. Èiže neèudo, že sa o òom nevedelo v èase vydania. Preto trochu neskoršia recenzia... Aj tak pre väèšinu fans "novinka". CD je vyrobené profesionálne (nebojte sa práce na kolene), obálka slušná. A èo hudba? V prvom rade je lepší zvuk ako na prvých dvoch albumoch. Na treom CD ale bada posun v tvorbe - smerom k tradiènému heavy metalu! Kapela znaène spomalila a "Vengeance descending" je kombináciou tradièných CRYSTAL EYES a heavy metalu 80-tých rokov. Nechýbajú ani rýchle veci ako napríklad titulná (i keï riff je už heavy) èi Mr. Failure. Ale na druhej strane sú na CD typické heavy skladby ako Highland revenge, Child of rock èi Metal crusade. Celkovo je to skôr na heavy ako power/speed strane. Už aj v booklete sa možno doèíta, že kapelá hrá heavy metal... Takže ak máte doma prvé dva, trojka vám nemusí ladi. Trojka je žia¾ trocha horšia ako prvé dva albumy. Nie po hudobnej èi speváckej stránke, ale kompoziène. Heavymetalovky sú totiž dos klišé, neprinášajú niè nové do žánru. I keï kapela naznaèila, že vie skåbi aj oboje, napríklad v Dream chaser alebo The wizard's aprentice. Ale niekedy vie aj trochu nudi. Našastie potom príde vypalovák èi nejaká zaujímavá vyhrávka (napríklad akustická). Album je dos dlhý (u CRYSTAL EYES ale niè nezvyèajné), ale to nie je jeho chyba. Je dos premenlivý. Celkovo dobré, ale nemá na prvé dva! Chlapci majú naviac! Je síce pravda, že CRYSTAL EYES nespravili tretí rovnaký album (èo by tiež nebolo dobré), ale mohlo to by lepšie (heavy metal sa dá aj okoreni). Vývoj ma mierne prekvapil, ale nie je to tragédia. Tento rok by mala by na rovnakej firme štvorka, uvidíme èo ukáže. Oèakávam ale true metal, resp. heavy metal základ. "Vengeance descending" mohol by trochu viac power! BY: Mao Kimlièka

 

Stagedive 4/5

"Come join the metal crusade"! Beter dan de heren van Crystal Eyes zou ik hun schijfje niet kunnen samenvatten. Deze heavy/power metal waarvan de traditionele invloeden afdruipen is immers ideaal voor diegenen die nog eens verlangen naar een lekker potje nostalgie. Nostalgie kan echter hand in hand gaan met prima songs. Hoewel ze allesbehalve vernieuwend te werk gaan, zijn er wel een aantal erg knappe nummers geschreven die uitnodigen tot een lekker potje headbangen. Dit Vengeance Descending heeft immers alles om tot een favoriet van de conservatieve heavy metalfan: heerlijke riffs, pakkende refreinen en vooral de goeie strot van zanger Mikael Dahl. Geen gepolijste stem zoals we dezer dagen zo vaak tegenkomen bij power metalbands, maar één met een ruig randje dat niet te versmaden is. Dat ruig randje is ook in de muziek terug te vinden. Zo schuwen ze de thrashy riffs niet en daarbovenop is de productie erg eighties gericht. De teksten zijn zo traditioneel als je je maar kunt indenken. Titels als "Child Of Rock" en "Metal Crusade" geven al een goede indicatie van wat er te verwachten valt. Toch klinkt het album héél erg goed, waardoor het tot een favoriet van me is uitgegroeid. Zin om eens een avondje te genieten van ongecompliceerde heavy metal? Dan is Vengeance Descending voor jou de ideale plaat! BY: Mathijs Haest

 

Sweden Metal 3,5/5

Om du liksom undertecknad känner till Crystal Eyes som bandet med de snygga omslagen som framför kompetent men ganska tråkig metal med snällt sagt svag sång kommer du liksom jag få en smärre chock i och med nya Vengeance Descending. För det första är omslaget ganska fult, snudd på vidervärdigt faktiskt, tråkigt motiv, trista färger och inte mer än hyfsat tecknat (Det är svårt att tänka sig att det faktiskt är samma tecknare som på "In Silence They March"). Musiken har Crystal Eyes å andra sidan förbättrat på samtliga punkter sedan sist. Framför allt har det blivit mindre trall och mer metal. Utbytta är de mjäkiga gitarrerna till förmån för de tunga, refrängerna är riktigt slagkraftiga och sångaren Mikael Dahl har förbättrats något enormt och står väl förmodligen för årets kometutveckling. Den här gången har även Daniel Heiman (Lost Horizon) lagt leadsång på ”The Wizard’s Apprentice” och Gerd Salewski (ex-Chroming Rose) gör dito på ”The Beast In Velvet”. Dessa är två av skivans absolut bästa spår men den riktiga tio-poängaren stavas "Highland Revenge" vars refräng sätter sig på hjärnhinnan som en blodigel. Dock tar det väl stopp någon stans där. Samtliga låtar håller hög klass men ingen sticker direkt ut. Möjligen med undantag för "Child of Rock" och "Metal Crusade" som båda, vilket titlarna kanske avslöjar" är propagandaskepp för hårdrocken. Skivan är alltså väldigt jämn och en ytterst positiv överraskning men de få topparna får mig att vänta med toppbetyget tills nästa platta. Vengeance Descending får en mycket stark 7:a och tills nästa gång hoppas jag att omslag och musik kan gå i symbios med varandra! BY: Niklas Olausson

 

Sweden Rock Magazine 8/10

Först ut på den nystartade etiketten Heavy Fidelity är Boråsarna i Crystal Eyes. ”Vengeance Descending” är bandets tredje fullängdare och här kan man verkligen snacka om tredje gången gillt. Utan att ta i för stora ord så har allt helt enkelt blivit till det bättre. Mikael Dahl, som tidigare fått en del kritik för sången har tagit ett klart steg framåt och den här gången har han dessutom fått lite ”hjälp” av Daniel Heiman (Lost Horizon) som sjunger lead på ”The Wizard’s Apprentice” och Gerd Salewski (ex-Chroming Rose) som sjunger lead på storslagna ”The Beast In Velvet” samt uppbackningssång och harmonier på övriga låtar. Att dessa båda spår tillhör två av de starkaste är med andra ord ingen större överraskning. Två andra låtar som ska framhållas lite extra i den annars jämna och höga standarden är ”Highland Revenge” och ”Child of Rock”. Variationen på plattan är bra. Det är inte lika mycket av det raka power metal-stuket som vi vant oss från tidigare alster utan istället är det mer stämsång, fler midtempolåtar och tyngre. Alltsammans mer än välkommet. Gamla fans lär inte bli besvikna för det hörs att det fortfarande är Crystal Eyes. Men den här gången bör bandet helt enkelt nå ut till en bredare publik! Som ”hidden track” finns sången ”Kuken” som är allmänt känd i Boråskretsar. Undertecknad klarar sig dock utan den. BY: Michael Svensson

 

The Metal Observer 8,5/10

CRYSTAL EYES have been in existence for 12 years, released two full lengths, four demos and now they are just getting things cooking. Since the band was never fully satisfied with the quality of the production or the distribution they had with their other label, the band's manager started his own label and the guys are doing things their way by having total control of everything and this release should start making the rounds slowly, but surely world-wide. The band plays Power Metal that is a combination of 80's British, German and American Metal. The band really isn't so focused on playing polished Metal that is being served to you today. This is a bit more raw, but played very cleanly and packed with power. The title track starts things off just right. The song is what I would like to call mid-paced Power Metal. There is plenty of double bass drumming, but they don't go at the speed of light. The guitars have plenty of crunch, but never go over the top. Mikael's vocals come off a little like Mike Kiske from old HELLOWEEN and the music sounds a bit like SCANNER. Many of you may not know that band, but they were a cool German Power Metal band back in the 80's. "Highland Revenge" continues with full force and perform everything just right. "Child Of Rock" is slower than the first two tracks, but fear not because this isn't a ballad. The guitars may slow down just a tad, but they are still packed with feeling and energy and when it comes time for the solo, Jonathan really soars through the sky and above. "Dream Chaser" is a really kick ass jam due to the galloping guitar riffs that open the song. They are vintage IRON MAIDEN, but they don't rip them off or try to replicate their olden days. It's very original and catchy. The CD wraps up with a very nice ballad "Oblivion In The Visionary World". There are acoustic guitars along with atmospheric vibes that are complimented very nicely by Mike's voice. This is a soothing song that ends the disc just right. I know there are plenty of you who are old school Power Metal fans who are fed up with the over slick and Hollywood production of many bands today. The band scales back to when things were simpler in the 80's and their main focus was the music and sometimes it's a good thing. Each track boasts a lot of power and energy and never gets boring. There is nothing over the top, but when the guitars do come in for a solo, damn do they make your ears stand up. The band does everything just right here and this CD should start making the rounds. I know there are a lot of people who are sick of the RHAPSODYs, Lucas and Dream Theater's of the world. If you are in need for a change of pace in the Power Metal scene, then feel free to snatch this up. BY: Joe Florez

 

The Metal Observer 8,5/10

CRYSTAL EYES gibt es bereits seit 12 Jahren, sie veröffentlichten zwei Longplayer, vier Demos und so langsam beginnt die Sache heißer zu werden. Da die Band bisher nie mit der Produktion oder der Distribution ihrer bisherigen Labels zufrieden war, gründete der Manager der Band ein eigenes Label, nun haben die Jungs alles unter eigener Kontrolle und jetzt dürfte die Sache endlich rund laufen, auch weltweit gesehen. Die Band spielt Power Metal in einer Kombination aus 80er britischem, deutschem und amerikanischem Metal. Die Band spielt jedenfalls keinen solchen glatt polierten Metal, den man aus der heutigen Zeit kennt. Die Sache ist rauer, wird aber dennoch klar und mit Power gespielt. Schon der Titeltrack legt mächtig los. Diesen Song würde ich als mittelschnellen Power Metal bezeichnen. Er enthält viel Double Bass Drumming, aber wirklich richtig schnell wird man nie. Die Gitarren besitzen viel Knackigkeit, sind aber auch nicht übersteuert. Mikael’s Vocals klingen ein bisschen nach Michael Kiske und alten HELLOWEEN und die Musik klingt ein wenig nach SCANNER. Einige von euch werden diese Band gar nicht kennen, sie waren jedenfalls eine coole deutsche Power Metal Band in den 80ern. „Highland Revenge“ geht mit voller Kraft weiter und die Performance ist astrein. "Child Of Rock" ist langsamer als die ersten beiden Tracks, aber keine Angst, es ist keine Ballade. Die Gitarren sind zwar ein wenig langsamer, aber dennoch voller Gefühl und Energie und beim Solo scheint Jonathan tatsächlich im Himmel zu schweben. "Dream Chaser" ist ein mächtig rein hauender Jam was vor allem an den galoppierenden Gitarrenriffs, die den Song eröffnen, liegt. Sie klingen nach den alten IRON MAIDEN, aber sie kopieren sie nicht. Eher sehr originell und eingängig. Die CD endet dann mit der sehr schönen Ballade „Oblivion In The Visionary World.“ Akustische Gitarren gehen einher mit atmosphärischen Vibes, die von Mike’s Stimme herrlich ergänzt werden. Ein sehr beruhigender Song, der die Scheibe sehr gut zu Ende bringt. Ich weiß, viele von euch sind Power Metal Fans der alten Schule, die diese glatten und Hollywood-mäßigen Produktionen vieler heutiger Bands satt haben. Diese Band spielt so simpel wie es damals in den 80ern eben war und ihr Hauptaugenmerk lag auf der Musik, was manchmal nicht schlecht ist. Jeder Track sprüht vor Power und Energie und langweilig wird es niemals. Nichts hier ist wirklich überragend, aber wenn die Soli ertönen, stehen die Ohren schon mal senkrecht. Die Band macht einfach alles richtig und diese CD sollte seine Freunde finden. Ich weiß, viele Leute haben die Schnauze von all den RHAPSODYs, Lucas und DREAM THEATERs dieser Welt. Wer Abwechslung für die Power Metal Szene braucht, sollte sich dies hier zulegen. BY: Joe Florez

 

The Plague Webzine 7/10

Crystal Eyes hail from Sweden and produce a pretty cool version of power metal that isn't completely original but fails to shadow any particular band either. This is their third album and the band sound confident as they plough through ten tracks with plenty of spirit, if not an overflowing cup of energy. The title track starts things off with a vaguely Helloween-ish chorus, while Highland Revenge sets the tale of Braveheart to a mix of classic Accept and modern power metal. Child Of Rock approaches epic length, while Mr. Failure comes across a bit too sing-songy. The utterly anthemic Metal Crusade is good fun but suffers from a bit of an awkward chorus. The Beast In Velvet has rather more melodic, with some unusual elements that call to mind the 70s prog-rock era, but set firmly in a power metal base. Heart Of The Mountain could be the album's best cut, with a memorable riff and a strong chorus. Crystal Eyes is one of those bands like Wolf or Nocturnal Rites that plays a kind of middle-of-the-road brand of power metal that is a welcome change from the dozens of Stratovarius clones (and certainly an oasis in the current glut of crappy metalcore bands). If the band could just play the tunes with a little more enthusiasm (as I am guessing they do on stage), they could really have a killer album because the songs and the playing are both well above average. BY: Daniel Hinds

 

Vampster 4/5

Drei Jahre sind nach "In Silence They March" vergangen, und nun veröffentlichen die Schweden von CRYSTAL EYES mit "Vengeance Descending" ihr drittes Album. Anders als seine zwei Vorgänger wurde "Vengeance Descending" im eigenen Studio aufgenommen, was jedoch keinen Rückfall in die "Wir nehmen im Keller ein Demotape auf"-Zeit bedeutet. Im musikalischen Bereich ist man noch immer dem Melodic Powermetal verpflichtet, und die Stücke sind dann auch meist recht eingängig ausgefallen, obschon man sich zeitweise etwas flüssigere Übergänge und mehr Abwechslungsreichtum wünscht. Löblich hervorzuheben ist insbesondere der kernige Gesang, der abgesehen von vereinzelten hohen Schreien ("Dream Chaser", "The Wizard’s Apprentice") nicht in die Eunuchenlevels abgleitet. Als erster Anspieltipp für die Gitarrenarbeit und Eingängigkeit bietet sich "Mr. Failure" an, dessen Refrain nach einmaligem Durchhören sicher auch noch nach mehreren Bier mitgesungen werden kann. "Dream Chaser" ist ebenfalls ein Reinhören wert, hier drängt sich—zumindest zu Beginn—die Parallele zu IRON MAIDENs "Fear of the Dark" auf. "Dream Chaser" fällt auch durch die solide Zusammenarbeit von Gitarren und Bass sowie den ausgedehnten Schlussschrei auf. Neben der IRON MAIDEN-Anleihe machen sich bei den (oft mehrstimmig gesungenen) Refrains und Melodien auch Einflüsse von GAMMA RAY, RAGE oder älteren JUDAS PRIEST Songs bemerkbar. Insgesamt also eine kristall-saubere Arbeit, solide und mit treibenden Riffs vorgetragen. CRYSTAL EYES erfinden das Genre nicht neu, aber zuviel Experimente wären kaum ein Segen für "Vengeance Descending" gewesen. BY: Arlette Huguenin