Released: 2013, Massacre Records
I would contend that when people think of melodic Metal bands from Switzerland hey likely think of the two titans, Krokus and Gotthard. I would easily add Crystal Ball as part of that holy trinity. Unfortunately over the years we have not given the band much coverage. Anders covered one album almost ten years ago and he didn’t like it much. I noticed the band is back and wanted to give them deserved exposure.
DAWNBREAKER is the bands seventh album and they have been kicking around since 1998. It has been six years since their last album, SECRETS and since then they have jumped to the Massacre Records label and as expected there have been a number of changes. The band has expanded to a quintet adding a second guitarist, a new bassist, a new guitarist and a new vocalist. That is a pretty big change, most importantly, in terms of the sound of the band, is the recruitment of Steve Mageney, a relative newcomer without a huge resume. It may be tough to replace Mark Sweeny who sang on the first six albums!
Opening with an epic and familiar, instrumental classical piece the album kicks off in grand style. The music (in my mind) matches the gorgeous cover art. The vocals of Steve are rough and ready as he really puts of rougher rock and roll stamp on the bands style. The band still move effortlessly between a melodic Euro-Metal style and more American catchy Hard Rock tunes. All of it is catchy and easy to get into the song based on the strong hooks and memorable choruses. The guitar tone is raw but not too grinding and the solos are decent as well. The tone and tempo are not too crazy and there are some good slower songs as well. There are few hints of orchestration on cuts like' sun comes Out' which gives the introduction to the song a really nice, epic feel before it drops gear into a bit of a grinding banger of a cut.
Many people throw the term 'under-rated' and I seldom use it but I do think it applies here. More people need to check out this excellent band and perhaps after a long career, a new album and new vocalist will get them some more exposure.