Crystal Ball - Timewalker - 2005 - Nuclear Blast
|Track Listing1. Digital World|
2. Tear Down The Wall
3. He Came To Change The World
4. Walk Through Time
5. Mozart Symphony
7. Fallen From Grace
10. The Eye Of The Storm
11. Talking To The Walls
12. Crazy (Bonus Track)
I've always enjoyed the Swiss way of thinking when it comes to hard rock sensations. Just recently I voted Shakra in my "who's who" of today's rock and rollers, and with that comes another strong candidate for that list, Crystal Ball. The band has impressed me since their early beginnings, with phenomenal records like "In The Beginning" and "Hard Impact". While their last record, "Hellvetia", was somewhat disappointing and lacked any real character or development, I still kept the band on my watch list. Good thing I did because they have rebounded nicely with this deep dish return to their original sounds.
While "Timewalker" doesn't have quite the same feel good "party vibe" spin as their first three albums, the band still manages to uplift the listener with some positive and somewhat spiritual messages within their craft. This time around the band brand the concept theme on the record, with each cut a look at a particular place in history. I personally don't care for conceptual albums, really finding the identity within the songs more entertaining than an overall story. With "Timewalker" I really don't notice the overall storyline much, with each cut really representing the sounds of Crystal Ball and not one emotion or developing arc.
With producer Stefan Kaufman (Accept, U.D.O) on board, the group get some of their finest production values. Those of you who are tired of the bass driven rock tracks of yesteryear may not find this album entertaining. I have always found that specific sound appealing, wanting a polished job more so than the stripped down, soap and water approach. With anthem driven songs like "The Eye Of The Storm" and "Celebration", Crystal Ball create that 80s arena rock sound, almost presenting an FM broadcast in '84. But beyond that comes some hard hitting impact with "Powerflight" and "Digital World". The band of course dials in the Accept frequency with "Tear Down The Walls", the album's most powerful cut.
Bottom Line - The band have retaliated with an excellent return to their first three albums. While "Hellvetia" was rather weak and lacked any depth or identity, this fourth effort finds Crystal Ball well in command of the Swiss hard rock sound. It is fitting that they would be supporting this album with an opening slot for Thunderstone, another band that is in this same sort of style.