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Articles Home » 2005 Articles » Crystal Ball - 2005 Time Walker
Crystal Ball - 2005 Time Walker

Mark Sweeney - vocals
Scott Leach - guitars, vocals
Tom Graber - guitars, keyboards, vocals
Dany Schullibaum - bass, vocals
Marcel Sardella - drums

The Songs
Well I know next to nothing about this Swiss lot. They've been around for ages apparently, as 'Time Walker' is their fifth album. So I come in completely oblivious of anything that had gone before. Now, being part of the Nuclear Blast stable usually means the band is gonna be quite heavy, and in Crystal Ball's case, they are dead on the money. It would be pointless trying to pitch them against current Swiss faves Gotthard or Shakra for that matter. Musically, they are in completely different swimming pools, despite being the same countrymen, but that is about where the comparison ends. 'Time Walker' is a concept album about a journey through different historical timeframes. Probably the conviction in the storytelling needed to be more compelling music-wise, but in saying that, if you no had idea it was a concept album, it would sound reasonably good. The sparse use of keyboards adds to the atmosphere, while the two-pronged guitar attack gives the album the vital crunch, no doubt due to the influence of former Accept member Stefan Kaufmann. Criticism of singer Mark Sweeney by some websites are unfounded. Best to make comparisons that are meaningful, not nonsensical.

The Songs
Certainly the opener 'Digital World' sets the scene nicely. Huge guitars and aggressive vocals lead us on our journey. The follow-up 'Tear Down The Wall' swims in a milder musical soundscape by comparison - the big chantalong chorus offsetting the chugga-chugga rhythm guitar nicely. Of course, the song is all the about the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. 'He Came To Change The World', a song about Christ, borders on the epic, but there is too much 'rock' and 'tempo' for it to be called such. A better example would be 'Walk Through Time', complete with operatic vocals and a slow burning musical approach. 'Powerflight' continues the solid riffing heard at the start of the album, taking on a PC69 swagger. Upping the accelerator is 'Fallen From Grace', with some double bass drumming to give it a boost. I enjoyed 'Celebration', which moves into hard rock territory, albeit with a typical European feel. I was gonna say the same about 'Sensational' until the plain-jane chorus kicked in and spolit it all. Oh well.. never mind.

In Summary
For a first introduction to the band they acquit themselves well in my books. I've read many reviews of the album on the web and have found most of them to be wide of the mark. Coming in 'cold' so to speak, has kept my impression of the band intact. Admittedly this wouldn't be the bands 'magnum opus' so here's hoping the band can deliver next time.

Track Time: 44.26

Track Listing:
01 Digital World
02 Tear Down The Wall
03 He Came To Change The World
04 Walk Through Time
05 Mozart Symphony
06 Powerflight
07 Fallen From Grace
08 Celebration
09 Sensational
10 The Eye Of The Storm
11 Talking To The Walls


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#1 | jefflynnefan on August 05 2011 03:57:21
I've been listening to some tracks from this band's album called 'In The Beginning' in which I really like. I'm going to have to track down a copy of it. Has anybody heard all of 'In The Beginning'?
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