CRYSTAL BALL – Hellvetia

CRYSTAL BALL - Hellvetia


Nuclear Blast
Release date: November 3, 2003

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Sometimes small things manage to enter your head and you never seem to get rid of them. I can list lots of different examples — tongues of ugly chicks at 3 A.M. (boys), penises your boyfriend doesn’t know about (girls & fags), French fries (fat people), cigarettes (fat people on a diet) and, most of all, overly simple German style Metal tunes (yours truly).

Yeah, I admit it, although I always try to portray myself as a lover of intelligent and complex music (being a student, and in my mom’s dream world, a grown-up and reasonable human being), there always seem to be some Manowar, old Yngwie, or similar in there. Simple (although different), catchy, and very jump-around-like-crazy-able Heavy Metal. I also have this thing going with German Power Metal. A band like Edguy, for example, which practically haven’t done one truly original second of music since the band was founded, very much appeals to me. Crystal Ball appeals to me in much the same way. The album is not as speedy as many other similar bands are, but the melodies are pure Helloween/Gamma Ray-fake, and they are damn good too. Basically, not one single song on this album foes not managed to get you moving — the melodies are so good, the arrangements so slick and professional, the music so professionally executed (even the singer isn’t that bad), and the entire feel of the album is so truly German (mid-tempo German that is) that I can’t manage to sit still. I could jam along to this album after having heard half of it one time, and still I’m not fed up with it yet.

This has been very much praise, and there are some things to mention that are not so good. Firstly I have to (of course) talk shit about the singer (as I normally do). He’s not bad, and most of the time he actually sounds pretty convincing, but he’s not even close to the likes of Kiske or Sammett in terms of Power Metal-vocal god status. He looks like a funny guy on the band photo, though, and that’s almost just as important as the ability to masturbate vocally on an album like this. I’m sure he’s more than capable of masturbating physically too (no offense) and that almost makes up for it. Second, and I have to mention this, is that this album has nothing (and I mean nothing!) on offer if you demand ANY trace of any kind of invention or creativity from an album.

From a more subjective point of view I’d say that this may be one of the assets of the album too — the obvious (and essential) sense of humor makes the unoriginality seem charming, and the true quality of the material makes you just want to enjoy it. Third I have to mention the sweeping arpeggios in the outro of “Misery Needs Company.” They are perfectly executed, but sound like rubbish. Yep.

The lyrics are — as far as I can hear (no lyrics in my promo) — standard fare about swords, sex, and sorcery, sort of like a mix between “Eagle fly Free” and Yngwie’s “Making Love.” “Opposites Attract” is an especially horrid example: “I sleep all night/you sleep all day/it’s a matter of style/I am the hunter/You are the prey/That’s the way we want it.” This is sung with a voice so muddy and wannabe-sexy that Marilyn Manson would want to become a book holder and the reincarnation of Freddy Mercury would Mamma Mia his way back again before Robbie Williams could say that he “just wanna feel”… (and believe me, in this case he DON’T wanna feel.) This is definitely one of the highlights of the album..

Other highlights include “Forever and Eternally,” “Last Dance,” and “Bird High On A Wire,” all three definitely soon-to-be festival hits down through central Europe. Also the lederhosen-meets-Rhapsody synth intro is a killer. This is also an excellent example of the band’s sense of humor. If this album didn’t have that element it would have sucked big time — if the boys really wanted to set the Metal scene upside down and revolutionize the music business this would be the very worst way to do it, but if pure enjoyment was the goal, this is it.

And for those of you who thought I wasn’t going to mention the HORRID joke in the album title, you were wrong. It sucks. Now go buy the album.


  • Torgeir P. Krokfjord

    Torgeir was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. After hearing Malmsteen's "Vengeance" on a guitar mag CD at the age of 12 or 13, he began doing hopeless interpretations of Yngwie licks and it just took off from there. After shorter stints at other zines he was snatched to Metal Express Radio in 2003. Alongside Yngwie, Savatage, WASP, Symphony X, Blind Guardian, Emperor, Arch Enemy, In Flames, Opeth, Motörhead, Manowar, and Queensrÿche are a quick list of musical faves. Torgeir is also guitarist in the Heavy/Prog/Thrash outfit Sarpedon.

    View all posts

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.