Reviewed: February 2020
Released: 2019, Massacre Records
Man I wish these guys were a bit more productive. They have so much potential but lately they only seem to put out an album every five years which is a lifetime for many of todays impatient, instant gratification type consumers. Back in 2014 Crystal Eyes made some good headway with a strong album (KILLER), a renewed line-up and a bigger record label but I feel let it slip away again, as we had to wait five years for STARBOURNE TRAVELER. I guess you can’t rush art and in the end it was worth the wait because this album is just as good or better than the last one.
STARBOURNE TRAVELER sees a pair of new members in the fold, a couple of relative unknowns in the form of guitarist Jonathan Hallberg and drummer Henrik Birgirsson. They put in some admirably performances, I like Henrik’s drum work on the title track. Vocalist Dahl sounds as powerful as ever, with a perfect mix of grit and power in his voice. I’m hearing quite a bit of Running Wild style guitar work which is always a good thing. The traditional/classic Power metal album is loaded with highlights the best one being, in my opinion, the song ‘Paradise Powerlord’ this is my favourite Crystal Eyes song to date and one of, if not the song I listened to the most in 2019. I don’t know exactly what a paradise powerlord is but the song is one of the catchiest songs I have ever heard. It reminds me of any number of great Edguy tunes like ‘Lavatory Love Machine’ or ‘Superheroes’, which don’t have a ton of substance but are really fun to sing. Elsewhere we get two older songs that got re-recorded for this album; ‘Extreme Paranoia’ and the classic tale of piracy, ‘Rage On The Sea’ both originally appearing on their 1999, debut album, WORLD OF BLACK AND SILVER. Another winner is ‘Midnight Radio’. As a Heavy Metal radio DJ, whose program starts at Midnight each week , I feel this song was written specifically for me!
With the remake songs, the album seems a bit short…only 33 minutes of new material, but again, worth the wait. I wish these guys could get on a tour with Powerwolf, Hammerfall or Sabaton, get exposed to a broader audience and get the recognition I feel they deserve. Hopefully STARBOURNE TRAVELER will reach a broader audience because it really is a wonderful collection of songs, coming in at #3 in Top 20 of 2109.
Mikael Dahl-Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards
Gods of Disorder
Side by Side
Extreme Paranoia (Re-Recorded)
Corridors of Time
Into the Fire
In the Empire of Saints
Rage on the Sea (Re-Recorded)