Crystal Ball is a melodic power metal band from Switzerland formed in 1998. The band has released ten albums during their twenty-year-plus career, celebrating their twentieth year as a band in 2018 by releasing (their tenth album) ‘Crystallizer’. Crystal Ball has shared a stage with bands such as Krokus, Freedom Call, Primal Fear, and Axel Rudi Pell, and has established themselves as one of the premiere melodic power metal bands to have emerged from Switzerland. Now in their third decade as a band, Crystal Ball released their eleventh full-length album ‘Crysteria’ in 2022.
The new album has shifted away from the sonic assault of power metal, landing directly in the melodic metal and rock genres. Twelve heavy-hitting songs over fifty hard-rocking minutes, all come to life with the feisty ‘What Part Of No’. Uptempo and full of electric energy, ‘What Part Of No’ is highly infectious, with a chant style sing-along chorus that an in concert crowd is simply gonna love. What a belter to open the new album – Crystal Ball rocking just as hard as they ever have. The band drop a gear for ‘You Lit My Fire’, adopting a more melodic trot than the gallop of album opener ‘What Part Of No’. The swagger of stadium rock is beginning to shine through, the big bombastic riffing and crowd-pleasing choruses. Crystal Ball has upped the ante with a shift in their musical direction, proving they are more than just a power metal band. Although, for ‘Call Of The Wild’ the band does return to their metal roots. A fast-paced gallop takes over the album, as does the powerful voice of Ronnie Romero, vocalist for Rainbow and Lords Of Black. ‘Call Of The Wild’ also gives the headbangers of the world the first real opportunity to do some serious headbanging.
‘I Am Rock’ is the most bombastic song heard so far, the heavy-hitting nature pounding like a jackhammer, causing just as much destruction – grounds shuddering and walls crumbling under its immense force. Yet incredibly the catchy and infectious nature of everything Crystal Ball does is still highly evident! What a song, and what an anthem. ‘Undying’ maintains the album’s heavy-hitting hard rocking nature but increases the intensity to become a determined and driven rocker. And the melodious intent – off the scale! Title song ‘Crysteria’ is the album’s heaviest hitter so far, and is more bombastic than ‘I Am Rock’. The weight of rock rebounding off the walls is phenomenal, with ‘Crysteria’ (the song) moving heads and feet in an all-encompassing steady rhythm. And the anthemic nature is sky high! Incorporating a touch of the blues and a little Southern rock swagger, the band hit top form with ‘Make My Day’. A staggering blend of styles, Crystal Ball is not afraid to experiment and push the boundaries of their chosen musical direction.
Injecting more pace than has been seen over the last few songs, the band displays a traditional “foot on the monitor” gallop for ‘No Limits’, a less rock more metal offering. The hard-rocking nature will please the die-hard headbangers, planting a smile a mile wide across their faces. Come on everyone, raise your fist high and punch the air in salute to an absolute corker of a song. ‘Draw The Line’ takes on the mantle of a hustle and bustle style rocker, a mid to high tempo swagger of melodic rock. The energy that’s been running through the album since it began has not dissipated in the slightest, Crystal Ball seemingly having an unlimited supply! ‘Loins On Fire’ – a double-meaning phrase of either excruciating pain or exhilarating pleasure – is a heavier-styled thunderstorm of rock. The meld of rock and metal is incredible, the infectious level off the charts, and the sing-along ability the stuff of high crowd participation. Crystal Ball is on to a winner with this one.
And as we head into the final two songs, realization dawns on me that with this modern-day hard rock album, there hasn’t been a single ballad of any kind! Not that I’m complaining – full-on hard rock/heavy metal suits me fine. The penultimate song ‘Sole Conviction’ is a melodic rock stroll, heavy-hitting yet remaining in the upper echelons of infectious stadium rock. The album comes to a close with a cracking collaboration – melodic metallers Jaded Heart combine forces with Crystal Ball for the cunningly clever titled ‘Crystal Heart’. With a sudden upsurge in the energy levels, ‘Crystal Heart’ is a barnstorming heavy rocker, and a fantastic end to a great album of melodic power come heavy metal come hard rock.
Overall, a wonderful blend of metal and rock, Crystal Ball delivers an infectious and highly melodic aural delight.
What Part Of No
You Lit My Fire
Call Of The Wild (feat. Ronnie Romero)
I Am Rock
Make My Day
Draw The Line
Loins On Fire
Crystal Heart (feat. Jaded Heart)
Crystal Ball: Facebook
Release Year: 2022
Label: Massacre Records
Reviewed by Iron Mathew for Frenzy Fire, Metal Gods TV, and Metal-Roos.