Out: January 28th, 2022
Playing time: 54:06
I have been following the development of the Swiss Hard Rock band Crystal Ball for a few years now. I really liked their 2018 album “Crystallizer”. After a compilation (2020), the successor “Crysteria” is now released almost four years later. This is now the eleventh album in the band’s more than twenty-year history. With Peter Berger, a new guitarist can be heard, who also contributed to the songwriting. The album was produced by Stefan Kaufmann. And the Swiss were able to win various guest musicians for the recordings.
As usual, Crystal Ball (almost) immediately go into full swing. After an extremely short but playful introduction, the rhythm section really heats up the listener with “What Part Of No”. The riffs literally fly around your ears. And singer Steven Mageney has been the band’s figurehead for ten years now. The riffs of the hymn “You Lit My Fire” also blow you away. The first guest appearance follows. “Call Of The Wild” is enhanced by the voice of Ronnie Romero (Rainbow, MSG). The whole thing is rounded off by great twin-guitar solos. A wonderful duet. And with “I Am Rock” the title is also the motto. This is one of the songs where Stefan Kaufmann (ex-Accept, ex-U.D.O.) contributes lead guitar parts. The midtempo hymn “Undying” is followed by the title track “Crysteria”, a real metal stomper. “Make My Day” is then extremely suitable for AirPlay. You can sing along to the chorus after a short listen. In “No Limits” the synths are a little overused. In contrast, there are some metal screams by Steven. In my opinion, this is rather a weaker song. Only the guitar solo pulls it out of the hole a little. But already the anthemic “Draw The Line” makes this little slip up forgotten again. The rocking “Loins On Fire” and the hymn “Sole Conviction” form the powerful conclusion of the regular track list. Two bonus tracks follow, which cannot be heard on the vinyl version. First, “Crystal Heart”, composed of the band names Crystal Ball and Jaded Heart. This is a memorial to the long-standing friendship between the two bands. Written together, recorded together. Both bands want to go on a European tour together next spring. This time, a ballad is missing from the regular album. Unfortunately, the extremely soulful “Till You Meet Again” is only included as a bonus. That’s a pity, because the two bonus songs belong to the absolute highlights for me. And the vinyl fans should not be deprived of them.
There is a lot of light, but also a little shadow on the eleventh studio album of the Swiss Hard Rockers. A somewhat weaker song and a somewhat incomprehensible handling of the bonus material. But that’s complaining on a very high level. All in all, “Crysteria” is an excellent album, probably the best in the band’s history. And it barely misses the highest rating. Producer Stefan Kaufmann has done a great job here.
Crystal Ball – I Am Rock (Lyric Video): https://youtu.be/SR4XL6Khw4k
Steven Mageney – Vocals
Scott Leach – Lead- & Rhythmusgitarren, Keyboards
Peter Berger – Lead- & Rhythmusgitarren
Cris Stone – Bass
Marcel Sardella – Drums
- What Part Of No
- You Lit My Fire
- Call Of The Wild (Feat. Ronnie Romero)
- I Am Rock
- Make My Day
- No Limits
- Draw The Line
- Loins On Fire
- Sole Conviction
- Crystal Heart (Feat. Jaded Heart) (Bonus Track)
- Till You Meet Again (Bonus Track)