Crystal Ball is a Swedish melodic hard rock band and, unfortunately, I have little history about them. I checked out their web site and they have several albums in their discography, but I haven't heard any of them. Essentially then, Crystal Ball is a new act for me. Honestly, it took me several spins to get my ears around 'Secrets.' The rock is melodic, and heavy at times. The vocals are raw, even raspy, but highly enjoyable. Still, it seemed like the songs were plodding from one tune to the next. Was it monotony or not? This album grows on you the more you listen to it. In the end, after several listens, I found that I liked 'Secrets' very much.
When listening to 'Secrets,' I was stalled on the first cut, 'Moondance.' I try not to be negative about any band as reviewer, but this song is terrible, a poor representation of Crystal Ball's skills. Frankly, because of this single song, I did not listen to this album for many days. So I skipped the opener and moved on to the second track, 'I Will Drag You Down.' Now things are looking more positive. Yet this song is not the greatest. Once you get to 'Minor Key,' a great song, things improve exponentially. The best songs that follow are 'It's Not Love,' Wings Of Fire,' a positively hard melodic rocker, and 'Face The Truth.' There are two obvious characteristics to all the songs. First, the raspy vocals of Mark Sweeny and the heavy rhythm section of Hungi Berglas, Sven Sieber, and Marcel Sardella.
I'm still ambivalent about Crystal Ball. Yes, I found 'Secrets' interesting after I got over the first two cuts. However, in conclusion, to me, this is ordinary melodic hard rock. And this is hard for me to write: I know how hard a band works at their craft. So, listen up boys: just because your work did not appeal to me, this does not mean that you haven't pushed to greater heights. Keep it up! For this American, drowning in a land devoid a melodic hard rock, you are still a breathe of fresh air and an out stretched hand to a drowning man. Check it out readers, you may be pleased!
- Craig Hartranft
Crystal Ball's brand of melodic rock takes some time to get used to. On one hand, 'Secrets' is ecletic in compostion. Yet, there is still a pleasing form to their music. 'Secret' is worthy of your attention.
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