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Crystal Ball - 2020 Award winner

Crystal Ball
by "Metal Mark" Garcia at 25 July 2019, 7:08 AM

To last more than 10 years in the musical world isn’t an easy thing for anyone. And to last 20 years in the Metal/Hard Rock scene is far more complicated. But to those who fight this good fight, the admiration and respect are great, especially when a band as CRYSTAL BALL is the center of attentions. And they’re here, releasing this fine double CD compilation, called “2020”.

The main musical way of this Swiss quintet is already known: a blend between classic Hard Rock and Heavy Metal with some Glam Metal touches (it is clear due the musical accessibility in some parts) that never becomes old or seems outdated. And on this double CD compilation, on the first album, all songs are from the actual decade and were re-recorded by the actual line-up, and on the CD 2, the songs were re-recorded as well, but are from the past decade. This set of songs were chosen by the fans, so be prepared for an amazing rush of energy and a storm of excellent catchy choruses!

“2020” was recorded, produced, mixed and mastered by Stefan Kaufmann (yes, the former ACCEPT drummer, and former drummer/guitarist of U.D.O.) at ROXX   Studio, having a helping hand from Mattes on the mixing. The final result is a modern, clean and heavy sound quality that gives new life to their old songs. And everything is showing a fresh energy, like the years didn’t have passed for them. On CD 1, the best moments: the outstanding rush of energy and catchy melodies of “HELLvetia” and “Moondance” (both with very good vocals and choruses, and with Stephan playing some solo guitars), the ACCEPT touch on the guitar riffs of “Soul Mate”, the 80’s AOR/Glam Metal outfit used on “He Came to Change the World”, the mix between a slow paced set of tempos with very good harmonies shown on “My Life”, and the freaking out energy of “Forever and Eternally” (very good backing vocals on the chorus).

On CD 2, the older stuff, it seems a bit more accessible, even with the new outfit given by the re-recording sessions. But the charming keyboards’ parts on “Paradise” and on “Mayday!” (both songs with a strong influence from Glam/AOR from the 80’s, and a charming chorus), the catchy rhythm of “Alive for Evermore”, of “Eye to Eye” (where BATTLE BEAST’s Noora Louhimo appears on guest vocals) and of “Suspended” (this one has great vocals and guitars), and the accessible catchy ambiance of “Anyone Can Be a Hero” are the ones everybody must hear to be introduced to CRYSTAL BALL’s work.

The quintet found out an excellent way to celebrate its 20 years of existence, so enjoy “2020” as much as you can!

Originality: 8
Songwriting: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

CD 1

1. HELLvetia
2. Moondance
3. Soul Mate
4. Lay Down the Law
5. He Came to Change the World
6. Dance With The Devil
7. Mozart Symphony
8. My Life
9. Am I Free
10. Forever and Eternally

CD 2

1. Paradise
2. Mayday!
3. Alive for Evermore
4. Hold Your Flag
5. Eye to Eye
6. Suspended
7. Déjà-Voodoo
8. Anyone Can Be a Hero
9. Curtain Call
10. Director’s Cut
Steven Mageney - Vocals
Scott Leach - Lead Guitar, Keyboards
Tony T. C. Castell - Rhythm Guitar
Cris Stone - Bass
Marcel Sardella - Drums
Record Label: Massacre Records


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