|Review: Crystal Eyes - Chained|
Label: Metal Heaven
Year released: 2008
Genre: Power Metal
Review online: May 7, 2009
Reviewed by: Nahsil
Rated 3.8/5 (76%) (5 Votes)
2008 was not Power Metal's year. With lackluster efforts from Pagan's Mind, Communic, Sabaton, Pyramaze, Kiuas, Cryonic Temple, Edguy et al, European Power Metal has seen better days. Enter Crystal Eyes, a band typically overshadowed by the aforementioned acts, who are no longer satisfied with sitting on the back burner.
Chained is among 2008's greatest Power Metal albums, and that's saying something because it's also one of the most safely conventional albums the genre has seen in some time. These Swedes have created a simple, riff-driven machine that works because it's clear they were passionate about creating a back to the roots Heavy Metal effort. Indeed, Heavy Metal plays a bigger part in the songwriting process here than in most modern Power Metal releases. Most of the songs gallop along at a leisurely mid-pace; the idea of non-stop double bass has been mostly abandoned in favor of something more traditional (with the exception of the awfully Dragonforce-esque track "Waves of War"), and I'm not complaining. And to Chained's credit, when it does revert back to the speedy Power Metal mindset it usually takes an approach similar to Priest's Painkiller or old Running Wild, both of which possess killer double bass.
Singer Søren Nico Adamsen has fantastic range and utilizes it well. The softer sections of the album sound just as good as the more up-tempo numbers. The man has power and plenty of charisma to go with it, bringing to mind a fellow master of the trade in Urban Breed, though Adamsen isn't quite on Breed's level. But it should be noted that people who absolutely require good vocals on their Power Metal albums (I'm beginning to develop such demands) should be pleased with Adamsen's performance. He's a damn fine mid-range singer and he compliments the riff and lead-work of the two guitarists very well. He also gets extra points for the unabashed Dio tribute in "Dying in the Rain", where we hear a familiar "Look out! Yeaaaheeyeaheyeaahhh, MmmmmMmmmm." The first time I heard that I nearly fell out of my chair, very cool!
Chained won't convert anyone who previously hated Power Metal or Heavy-influenced Power Metal, but I'm certain it will satisfy fans of the genre with its no-bullshit approach to catchy, well-produced, consistent, riff-centric Europower. Crystal Eyes have put themselves on the map with this album. Watch out, Falconer!
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