Sweden’s Crystal Eyes returns with their 4th release, “Vengeance Descending”, continuing on their melodic power metal journey with just a slight hint of progressive metal thrown in for good measure.
“Highland Revenge” is a crunching metal track that would have been more appropriate as the lead track on the CD (although the lead title track is a blazing romp in itself). The acoustic break in the middle nicely segues into a heavier guitar solo section. “Child Of Rock” has a definite Accept vibe throughout with the guitars recalling the Wolf Hoffman “Balls To The Wall” era. “Mr. Failure” has a Gamma Ray happy metal gallop throughout while “Dream Chaser” wonders more so into a traditional Iron Maiden territory.
I noticed that several other reviewers were in agreement with me that “Metal Crusade” has a definite Judas Priest feel to it. This is where I feel Crystal Eyes excels, sticking with a more traditional metal sound rather than the overdone Gamma Ray style so many bands strive for these days. “The Beast In Velvet” is a rather unique track that has a rather upbeat sound. The heavier edge to “Heart Of The Mountain” makes this track stand out alongside “Metal Crusade”. Closing track “Oblivion In The Visionary World” is mostly acoustic with an electric solo in the middle. This track displays Crystal Eyes’ strength in terms of vocal harmony among members.
Vocalist Mikael Dahl has a wide vocal range allowing for him to hit the high notes all the while maintaining a richer, deeper vocal tone when necessary. His guitar playing along side that of Jonathan Nyberg makes for a thick layer of 6 strings.
Crystal Eyes also does a marvelous job with the professional packaging of “Vengeance Descending”. The very attractive cover and booklet shows a mature attitude toward marketing the band and more importantly attracting worldwide label interest outside of their native Sweden.