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Sapphire Eyes – Magic Moments Award winner

Sapphire Eyes
Magic Moments
by Mike McMahan at 19 May 2020, 5:41 PM

SAPPHIRE EYES, hailing from Sweden, started out in 2011 as a “project” band; with its impetus owed to ALYSON AVENUE’s keyboardist Niclas Olsson. His idea to carry forward in a proper band environment led to the hiring of some incredible musicians and gives the group a lineage which seems legendary from the onset. Finnish vocalist Kimmo Blom (LEVERAGE, URBAN TALE), guitarists Emil Knabe (ACACIA) and Patrik Svard (CLOUDSCAPE), bassist Christer Engholm (ALYSON AVENUE, ACACIA), and drummer Fredrick Eriksson (DAWN OF OBLIVION, ALYSON AVENUE) flesh out the group.

This album, “Magic Moments,” is a follow up to 2018’s critically acclaimed “Breath of Ages,” and the group’s third overall release. It is full of enticing melody and infectious groove, as well as the incredible musicianship one would expect of such an ensemble. These guys are all veterans of the industry, and their dedication to the craft of making music is apparent from the word go.

Still Alive” opens things up, and the song almost immediately puts me in mind of Italian supergroup EDGE OF FOREVER. The track is musically tight, with a driven guitar and keyboard riff and a somewhat reserved vocal delivery that kind of surprised me. It is quite obvious that Blom has the capacity to absolutely wail, but he never forces the issue here; instead concentrating on the song for the song’s sake. The tune also features a remarkable guitar solo that is as tasteful and melodic as the remainder.

Bring Back the Night” opens with some comparatively nasty guitar licks, and the song has a bit of a darker, heavier feel to it throughout. The song also features a harmony vocal on the chorus, courtesy of Anette Olzon, who fronted the Finnish Symphonic Metal giants NIGHTWISH from 2007 to 2012. If there is a complaint to register, it is that I would have liked to have heard more from her. The harmonies are a fantastic touch, however; and again, the song remains the focus.

There isn’t much wrong with this record. All the musicianship is top notch, and the songs are tightly crafted through the entire album. I love the idea of a band setting personal egos to the side and concentrating on a singular goal, and it seems that is exactly what we have here. Excellent work.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Still Alive
2. Don’t Walk Away
3. I Never Meant to Hurt You
4. Magic Moment
5. Do You Think About Us
6. Just Leave Me
7. Bring Back the Night (feat. Anette Olzon)
8. As the Days Go By
9. Cutting Like a Knife
10. Only the Night
Lineup:
Kimmo Blom – Vocals
Niclas Olsson – Keyboards
Emil Knabe – Guitars
Patrik Svard – Guitars
Christer Engholm – Bass
Fredrick Eriksson – Drums
Record Label: Pride and Joy Music
     


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Edited 05 June 2020
 

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