Crystal Ball - In The Beginning (Japan Edition) (1999)

hudební novinky 1999 / music news 1999
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Crystal Ball - In The Beginning (Japan Edition) (1999)

Príspevokod užívateľa Horex » 27 Máj 2021, 15:35

Crystal Ball - In The Beginning (Japan Edition) (1999)

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Year : 1999 (Japan Edition)
Style : Hard Rock , Melodic Heavy Metal
Country : Switzerland
Audio : 320 kbps + all scans
Size : 165 mb


Bio:

2013: The Swiss Hardrock legend CRYSTAL BALL is back and stronger than ever! After a creative break the original members Scott Leach and Marcel Sardella reformed CRYSTAL BALL with fresh blood and a great new frontman, Steven Mageney from Wuppertal, Germany. Steven is a experienced singer with a powerful voice and the perfect match for the new CRYSTAL BALL Sound. «Dawnbreaker» is the title of the new album, that will bring CRYSTAL BALL back to the top of the Hard Rock map.Imagine: the band started in 1995 as a cover band (named «Cherry Pie»). These years of stage experiences became the foundation of CRYSTAL BALL, under whose banner the band became one of Europe´s major forces in the Hard Rock genre. Tentatively entitled «In The Beginning» CRYSTAL BALL started their crusade in 1999. The first album was very successful, but topped with ease from the follow-up «Hard Impact», hailed album of the months in several magazines. Immediately tour plans came up, realised by supporting Pretty Maids and Gotthard. Nobody was able to hide from CRYSTAL BALL. The result: a new record contract with Nuclear Blast.With «Virtual Empire» CRYSTAL BALL showed up more varied but still traditional and melodic in 2002. The band massively toured Europe, together first with Dokken, then with U.D.O., Doro and Krokus. The special humour of CRYSTAL BALL shone through in 2003 with «HELLvetia», the fourth album. «HELLvetia», produced by former Accept/U.D.O. member Stefan Kaufmann, who CRYSTAL BALL met on their tour with U.D.O., became a more edgy effort and increased the success of CRYSTAL BALL enormously. It was the band´s return from the slightly experimental «Virtual Empire» to the old style. Successful tours with Axxis, Pink Cream 69 and Krokus saw CRYSTAL BALL increase their fan following again.«Timewalker» continued in the tradition of delivering great catchy songs full of freshness and power. Once again produced by Kaufmann the album displayed the exceptional class of CRYSTAL BALL. The bands first headliner tour with then labelmates «Thunderstone» followed the release in 2005.2007 CRYSTAL BALL inked a new record deal with AFM Records. «Secrets» was their sixth album, a great piece of Hard Rock, put together by professionals. The album was recorded and produced by Michael Bormann and mixed by Achim Köhler (Primal Fear, Brainstorm and others). Mighty thunderous anthems like «I Will Drag You Down» solidifed the great reputation of CRYSTAL BALL.

Album:

In essence, it could be argued that the massive explosion of European power metal in the late 90s was not so much a revival of the 80s, but rather the delayed germination of seeds planted by a band that was a tad ahead of their time. This isn't to say that Helloween wasn't tied in with their 80s contemporaries, but by the time the Keepers albums had come to the forefront, it was clear that they were on a different trajectory than the mid-80s German speed metal cohort they emerged from, even when compared to more nuanced power metal bands from said scene such as Attack and Chroming Rose. But what it is even more interesting are the parallels that the power metal scene of the late 90s shared with the NWOBHM, particularly in terms of how a number of bands that had more of a retro-80s rock character were attached to the scene despite only sharing occasional similarities with the speed metal influences of Stratovarius and Gamma Ray, much like 70s progressive/hard rock leaning bands like White Spirit and Demon shared the same scene with heavier hitters like Satan and Venom.Case and point, Switzerland's Crystal Ball, a band that gets about as close to the arena oriented mid-80s sound that was possible in the late 90s while still carrying a sufficient affinity with the spacey yet metallic character that Stratovarius had ushered in on the softer end of the Helloween-influenced spectrum. Originally cutting their teeth as a cover band dubbed Cherry Pie in 1995, arguably the least likely year to be paying tribute to Warrant's long besmirched sophomore album, it's pretty clear that this band has a foundational affinity with a AOR side of the 80s coin, so much so that one might muse over them beating Edguy and Masterplan to the sound they'd usher in during the mid-2000s a good 4 to 5 years before hand. Then again, the formula at work here is a bit less influenced by the iconic 80s work of Coverdale and Dio, as this band's 1999 debut LP sees a rather peculiar hybridization of Def Leppard's commercial breakout Pyromania, the latter days of the early keyboard-infused rock sound of Joe Lynn Turner era Rainbow, and occasional hints of the more metallic leanings of Malmsteen's early tenure with Alcatrazz.If nothing else, In The Beginning proved to be a bit of an outlier in the millennial power metal context, but also one that put about as much emphasis on memorable songwriting as it did 80s nostalgia. Furthermore, while a number of more mid-paced, hard rock infused songs such as "Shake Me" and "Leave Me Alone" sound like full on tributes to Def Leppard, there is an all-encompassing tendency towards said 80s icons throughout this album due to vocalist Mark Sweeney's gravely swagger being a dead-ringer for Joe Elliott and his combined efforts with some guest work by a similar styled singer Michael Bormann creating a corresponding gang chorus backdrop right out of the Hysteria playbook. Consequently, even more heavily riff happy nods to Accept and Victory such as "Lay Down The Law" and "A Million Tears" have a slight Def Leppard character to them, as if said band had further expanded upon their heavier exploits on On Through The Night before making the commercial shift on High 'N' Dry, and also ushered in a slightly more impressive lead guitar showing than Clark and Collen were dabbling with circa 1983.All that being said, the culmination of this album's delivery still finds itself within the conventions of late 90s power metal, albeit from a slightly lighter angle than that of Stratovarius. Generally this is more apparent when guitarist Tom Graber moves over to the keyboards and Scott Leach's riff work takes on a more heavy character, which corresponds quite heavily with this album's opening anthem "Twilight Zone". Though the character of this song sounds quite similar to mid-80s Alcatrazz, the underlying groove is a tad heavier and the guitars are a bit flashier, particularly during the solo section when the tempo kicks up to an upper mid-paced stride and sounding a fair bit like one of the slower offerings on Stratovarius' Twilight Time. Similarly keyboard-steeped offerings like "Take Me Down" and "Magic" have a bit more of an overt 80s character, but end up in that same spacey, cosmic aesthetic that screams Stratovarius, while Sweeney's vocals occasionally take on a slight Udo Dirkschneider affectation. The strongest standout and arguably lone foray into overt Helloween territory is the speed metal infused "Fire Still Burns", still embodies that same 80s revivalist character and could almost pass for Malmsteen fair when accounting for the busy guitar work, to the point of rivaling contemporary offerings by Narnia and Stormwind.There is a certain charm to an album like this from a historical standpoint, particularly for anybody who still wanted a more flashy and fun style of metal/rock that cut against the "Alternative" ideal of dumbed down songwriting and morose or mundane lyrics about how much the world sucks, because this is about as clear of a rejection of the decade it was born from that one could find. It embodies the same sort of fantastical escapism that would occupy the early days of lighter, fantasy-oriented bands like Freedom Call and Edguy while also being a bit more retro in character, perhaps most closely dovetailing with the somewhat later reformation and restyled incarnation of Domain. It goes a little heavy on the balladry compared to said bands, particularly the Zero Corporation Japanese release which contains an additional nod to the Warrant meets Firehouse heard on "Me And You" in bonus track "Silence Of The Night", with maybe a slightly harder-hitting character in line with Motley Crue's "Home Sweet Home", but overall it's a pretty solid display of melodic power metal that bridges the divide between the 80s and 90s. Some might chalk it up to fire and water canceling each other out as hinted in the album art, but good songwriting can come in concise, easy to consume packages.

Line Up:

Steven Mageney - Vocals
Markus Flury - Guitars - See also: Charing Cross, 23rd Grade of Evil (live)
Marcel Sardella - Drums (1998-present) - See also: ex-Cherry Pie
Scott Leach - Guitars (1998-present) - See also: ex-Cherry Pie
Cris "Iron" Stone - Bass

Tracklist:

01. Twilight Zone
02. Magic
03. Fire Still Burns
04. Me and You
05. Laying Down The Law
06. Shake Me
07. Leave Me Alone
08. Take Me Down
09. Promised Land
10. A Million Tears
11. Silence Of The Night (Japan Bonus Track)

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