• 9.5/10
    CRYSTAL EYES - Chained - 9.5/10


Metal Heaven
Release date: November 21, 2008

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Old Helloween and Iron Maiden, as two of the great powers of Heavy Metal and Power Metal, are the main influences of many Metal bands for almost 20 years. When melding these two bands together you get something great, melodic, powerful and memorable. So there you have it, the result of the melding – Crystal Eyes’s new album, Chained.

The Swedish Power Metallers from Boras, Crystal Eyes, began their journey in 1992, when modern Power Metal started to emerge. Only in 1999 they released their first official album, World Of Black And Silver, under the label CLM. Years after they released four albums with gems like: In Silence They March (2000)  and Confessions Of The Maker (2005), that was fronted by the legendary vocalist, as a session member, Daniel Heiman from Heed. This year Chained came out under the band’s new label Metal Heaven.

The production of this release by Mikael Dahl, who is the founder and guitarist of the band, was done with high quality. In addition, another great name that is involved with the work behind the curtains is no other than the producer Fredrik Nordstrom that played his part as the mixer. The band’s sound continues to be sharp and accurate as the last three albums and continues to amaze every time it is heard. This sound production is not that original because there are various bands who are using this type of sharpness like: Hammerfall, which is one of Nordstrom’s works, and the German Running Wild. Although not that original with their sound, Crystal Eyes still made a wonderful piece and bottom line the material is the most important playing card of the Metal game.

Chained brought a heavier approach and a heavier Crystal Eyes. The joining of the new guitarist in 2007, Pal Petterson, allowed Crystal Eyes to create various harmonies and melodies and, of course, being a lot heavier in the rhythm section. Throughout the album, the melodies and heavy riffs slide along with some atmospheric parts of keyboards. As for the lyrics, Crystal Eyes mainly follows the same themes like fantasy, mystery, epics and Sci-Fi. Another interesting thing in the band’s music on Chained is that they tried to bring something a bit different, but in a smaller scale, something that sounds like a Hard Rock approach. For example small sections of the Maiden-ish track: “Lonely Ball Of Fate”. This approach was noticed in the past in early 90s Helloween and Gamma Ray albums.

Crystal Eyes, as a group, possess some great talents that are a match for every veteran group in the Metal world. The main stars of the band in this album are the diverse vocalist, Nico Admasen which joined the band in 2005 from the Heavy / Glam Metal band Starrats and also the new frontman of the Swiss Thrash Metal band Artillery, is, with no doubt, a huge success in Crystal Eyes. His debut appearance was on 2006’s album, Dead City Dreaming. His voice is clean yet with some small measure of raspiness that very much resembles the German Angel Dust’s ex-frontman, Dirk Thurisch, but with much more energy. In addition his ability to reach high notes is very good and the good thing is that he is not using it excessively. He, absolutely, fits the band like a glove.

Another guy to mention is the founder and producer, Mikael Dahl, who is also the guitarist, vocalist and keyboard player in this release. In the early days of Crystal Eyes, Dahl was the lead vocalist and guitarist. In 2005 he let the vocals role go to Daniel Heiman that recorded the vocals for Confessions Of The Maker. After the joining of Nico to the band, Dahl still took the vocals but not as lead. In this release, he can be heard, dueting with Nico, in one of the most beautiful epic ballads every written, “Guardian”. As a guitar player, he lets his influences flow and creates some main great riffs and some captivating solo efforts. In the keyboard sections he fulfills the role of the atmosphere master, like many other keyboard players in the genre. The other members of Crystal Eyes are doing a hell of a job that is not a stranger for this group.

The songs, oh the songs, are amazing and it’s very hard to choose from them. Every one of these tracks is a memorable track that is sure not to leave your repeat button. But one must choose from this list of “to be” classics.

The opener, “Ride The Rainbow”, emphasizes  the mixture of Helloween and Iron Maiden with great melodic heavy riffs, a catchy chorus, speed and an amazing ending. The epic “The Fires Of Hades” is a well crafted song that produces some feelings, rather cold than warmth, but still a hell of track that possess everything. “Waves Of War” sounds like a Running Wild tune tribute with the return of the Jolly Roger. This song has the speed and melody and a well done chorus. “Fighting” is an Heavy Metal anthem for the support of Metal all around. Definitely has the stuff to be recognized as an 80s song or a number by Starrats – “Keep On Fighting, You Are Born To Rock Forever”. “Shadow Rider” is the best of this release with heavy riffs, a chorus that bring tears to your eyes with powerful lyrics and amazing melodies. The final song, as mentioned before, is the epic yet short ballad, “Guardian”. There are not enough words to express about this song, its more than great its divine.

Crystal Eyes made their best effort yet. Chained is an album, which with hope, will be recognized as a classic one day by the Metal community. May the Crystals will continue to produce amazing albums as this one and one thing is for sure – the craving has already began – “I am the lord of the fallen, the one who follows you night and day”.


  • Lior Stein

    Lior was a reviewer, DJ and host for our Thrash Metal segment called Terror Zone, based out of Haifa, Israel. He attributes his love of Metal to his father, who got him into bands like Deep Purple, Rainbow, Boston, and Queen. When he was in junior high he got his first Iron Maiden CD, The Number Of The Beast. That's how he started his own collection of albums. Also, he's the guitarist, vocalist and founder of the Thrash Metal band Switchblade. Most of his musical influences come from Metal Church, Vicious Rumors, Overkill, and Annihilator.

    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.