12/2/2003 - Review by: Eric ComptonCrystal Eyes - Vengeance Descending 2003 - Reviewed by EC
When the band's debut, "World Of Black & Silver", came out on ABS in 1999, I knew these guys were serious contenders for the power metal crown. I thought the vocals could use some help and the production certainly could have been better, but all in all that album was absolutely killer. Think of a more metallic Stratovarius meeting a more diverse Gamma Ray. The band hit the studio again in 2000, this time releasing the follow-up album entitled "In Silence They March" (killer album cover!) on Shark Records. This was somewhat of a step down in my opinion. The songwriting certainly wasn't there, and the direction of the songs was almost silly at times.
Well I guess the band knew what they had to do. They went back into the studio a third time and created their best effort, "Vengeance Descending". From what I have read, Crystal Eyes were not very pleased with their first two records, so they decided to take matters into their own hands. They switched record labels to LMP for starters, then took on the mammoth task of creating their own studio to record the new album. The result is stunning. This album just smokes from beginning to end. If you love European power metal, and God knows I do, then this is right up your alley. If you really don't care for this genre, then I suggest you stay away because Crystal Eyes really stay true to this sound, not really bending the boundaries at all, just happy going at it full force and playing what they like...epic European power metal.
Songs like "Mr. Failure", "Metal Crusade", and the title track are done just right, adding a bit of this and a dose of that to bring a Helloween, Stratovarius, Judas Priest, Gamma Ray...well you get the point. These guys bring more of the same, but mix it up a bit. I really love those tracks as well as keeper "Child Of Rock", which is more New Wave than anything, reminding me of Chroming Rose crossed with Warlord. Great track to slow things down a notch. A little bit of Grave Digger styled songwriting emerges with "Highland Revenge", which is hands down the best cut on this record. Lost Horizon frontman Daniel Heiman steps in on "The Wizard's Apprentice", and speaking of Chroming Rose, their vocalist swings by for a guest appearance on "The Beast In Velvet".
Every song is magical in its own right, and I must say since I've followed this band since the beginning, I'm very proud of these guys. They have finally fulfilled the expectations that I've had for them since day one. Keep up the great work men!!
Top 25 CD of 2003 in many books I'm sure.
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