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Crystal Gates – Torment & Wonder – The Ways Of The Lonely Ones Award winner

Crystal Gates
Torment & Wonder – The Ways Of The Lonely Ones
by Thomas Kumke at 03 October 2022, 1:54 AM

CRYSTAL GATES were formed in 2013 by Carolina Perez and Benjamin Machin in Montevideo, Uruguay and moved later to Riga, Latvia. They are a symphonic Power Metal band and released prior to their debut full-length album one EP in 2015. The album was mixed and mastered by Sebastian Levermann (ORDEN OGAN, RHAPSODY OF FIRE, ROSS THE BOSS). Elisa C. Martin (HAMKA) provided all backing vocals. It has a length of about 51 minutes, and it was released via Italian label WormHoleDeath which has a number of Death, Thrash, and Gothic Metal bands among their roster.

It is the first full-length album of a band that celebrates their 10th anniversary next year. It may have taken them a long while to release it, but all good things take their time. “Torment & Wonder – The Ways Of The Lonely Ones” has a powerful and bombastic start. While “The Ways Of The Lonely Ones” is a classical symphonic Metal intro, “My Glorious Fall” has all the symphonic Power Metal elements that make this genre so popular: heavy guitar riffing, speed, catchy melodies, contributing lead guitars and orchestral arrangements, which support the overall sound of the track. The female vocals are ranging from highly pitched cleans to an operatic voice. The vocals follow the melodies, but they are not so much in the focus of the track. “My Glorious Fall” is all about getting the balance right between all the instruments including the vocals.

Alive For The Journey” is slightly slower than “My Glorious Fall” with the orchestral arrangements being slightly more dominant than in the previous track. Also, the vocals take a more central role and drive the track forward. “Alive For The Journey” is a dynamic song with cool melodies, and in particular the chorus part is pretty anthemic. Highlight of the track is the extended lead guitar solo. “A Lonely Dreamer’s Wish” is a song in a measured tempo with epic melodies and this song is all about the vocals of Carolina Perez, who shows her versatility and her huge vocal range. While the melodic framework is driven by the strings and the guitars, the vocals lead the track with conviction and passion. “The Stars Temple” starts a bit slower than mid-tempo with powerful and heavy riffing. The melodies have plenty of classical oriental vibes and those are excellently interpreted by the guitars and the strings. The vocals follow those vibes and the melodies. “The Stars Temple” has a few changes in rhythm and tempo with a faster Power Metal and guitar driven part towards the middle of the track. The lead guitar solo is second to none and fits perfectly into the overall theme of the track. “The Stars Temple” is one of the album highlights.

Moonlight & Sorrow” is a mid-tempo song. Starting with a short piano intro, it transitions quickly into a classical symphonic Metal song, where the vocals are the focal point. The Metal instruments and the orchestral arrangements are well balanced to provide the melodies and highlight, beside the vocals, are the lead guitars. “Moonlight & Sorrow” is the official video release, and the YouTube link is given below. “Winter Ghost” is probably the fastest song on the album, despite having a lot of twists in tempo and rhythm. The fast parts are Power Metal classics with lots of heaviness and epic melodies. Highlights of the track are the lead guitars and the very comprehensive drumming. The chorus parts come with a lot of background vocals and sound a bit QUEEN inspired. “Nightmares” is another mid-tempo song with the guitars driving the track forward. The orchestral parts have an important contribution to the melodies but are more in the background. The song includes a break at a fast pace for the lead guitar solo.

Soul Of Rain” starts with guitar riffs that are IRON MAIDEN inspired. It is another mid-tempo song with catchy melodies driven by the guitars. There are a few symphonic features, but they are largely in the background. “Soul Of Rain” is a traditional symphonic Metal song with a lot of Power Metal elements and this mixture keeps the song fresh and interesting. The final song “Torment & Wonder” starts with a short cinematic intro, before it transitions into a mid-tempo song with a few fast breaks. Guitars and orchestral arrangements work very harmonic to provide the melodies. The vocals are the overarching and leading element of the track. There is a break during the middle part of the song, where the orchestra takes control and provides a firework of bombast. The melodies of “Torment & Wonder” are epic and as the song goes on, the orchestra with the strings and brass take more and more center stage. “Torment & Wonder” is the album highlight, not only because of the 12 minutes playing time. It is the perfect combination of Power Metal and orchestra, the excellent mixture between heaviness and bombast. The final word has the strings which guide “Torment & Wonder” to an end.

It might have taken CRYSTAL GATES a long time to release their first album, but “Torment & Wonder – The Ways Of The Lonely Ones” is symphonic Power Metal at its very best. It is a perfect combination of heaviness, power, and orchestral bombast. The strength of the album is the diversity. While many symphonic Metal bands often rely on their vocalist, CRYSTAL GATES works more as a team, where each element contributes very well. “Torment & Wonder – The Ways Of The Lonely Ones” is a very energetic and dynamic album. The songwriting is very mature and the album is very well produced. With their first full-length release, CRYSTAL GATES establish themselves as a serious symphonic Power Metal force and their album should belong to the album collection of symphonic Metal fans.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. The Ways Of The Lonely Ones
2. My Glorious Fall
3. Alive For The Journey
4. A Lonely Dreamer’s Wish
5. The Stars Temple
6. Moonlight & Sorrow
7. Winter Ghost
8. Nightmares
9. Soul Of Rain
10. Torment & Wonder
Lineup:
Carolina Perez – Vocals
Benjamin Machin – Guitars
Juan Jose Leyton ­ Keyboards
Gaston Lorenzo – Drums
Guillermo Albano – Bass
Record Label: Wormholedeath
     


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Edited 09 December 2022
 

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