Crystal Fate - Celestial Prophecy - 2004 - Self Released
1. Celestial Prophesy 2. March of Doom 3. Against the Gods 4. The Dragon's Breath 5. Die by the Sword 6. Enchantment 7. Sign of the Times 8. Sacred Flame 9. Strange Eyes 10. One Destiny
It has been a long time since I've heard a really good power metal record that has progressive arrangements. The kind of album that stirs the soul with intricate harmonies and melodic structures. I remember the 80s and how many bands that were in that early Queensryche style, with the likes of Hittman, Heretic, Screamer, and Fifth Angel all displaying an amazing knack for unbridled power and fury, all neatly wrapped up with a quality, clean singer. Canada's Crystal Fate fit that same style, only they have released their debut album twenty years after the fact. That is perfectly okay considering the dry-spell that has been cast on that specific genre and format. "Celestial Prophecy", the group's first album, is a welcome addition to the quality albums taking up residence in my progressive power metal collection. I can honestly put this band and this record right on par with those legendary acts two decades earlier.
At times Crystal Fate remind me of Florida's Crimson Glory. I can hear those arrangements and patterns set into motion here, with most of the material found here easily picking up somewhere between "Transcendence" and "Astronomica", a wide gap in the band's career that allows so much room for experimentation. I had always wondered what would have happened if Judas Priest had turned down Tim Owens and he found himself singing for Crimson Glory. I think "Celestial Prophecy" is a very unique look at that fantasy. For some strange reason I may be the only one hearing Tim Black's vocal power in Crystal Fate vocalist Sigmund Sigridsen III. I honestly hear that same sharp, crystal clear sound in Sigridsen's voice that I hear in Owen's vocal lines. Call it crazy, but he really does sound like a young Tim Owens somewhere around his work in Winter's Bane. Musically this is a fantastic display of melody and precision, with the production leaning more towards a big, slick guitar sound that may simply be more error than purpose. Either way it works very well here, with guitarists Bill Majoros and Jeff Majoros putting on a clinic of addictive, firmly planted traditional guitar riffs. At times the men can work in some neo-classical rumblings, other times they stays with an effective mid-tempo gallop. The leads are just scorching, leaving plenty of room for some experimentation within the songs.
Opener "Celestial Prophecy" sets the tone perfectly, with Sigridsen hitting some epic vocal lines and the riffing staying in a tight pattern of galloping melodic structures. "March Of Doom" is a battering-ram, with fast opening drums from A.J. Galluppi before turning into a ripping guitar rhythm backed by rigid bass lines courtesy of Bruno Hoffenschoffer. "Against The Gods" and "Die By The Sword" pays homage to the lost new wave superstars, bands like Sacred Rite and Cloven Hoof immediately coming to mind. Favorite cut for me is the slower paced "Sign Of The Times", which builds into a moody metal piece courtesy of some well placed groove riffing with Sigridsen becoming more and more solid as the album continues.
Overall, this is metal perfection and a rare treat indeed. They just simply don't make records like this anymore. My hat is off to the whole Crystal Fate crew. This is really passion and love of classic metal, pleasing fans of any metal genre I'm sure. The group is working on a new album called "Rebirth" which is set to explore more of an early Queensryche sound. In the meantime fans can check out song samples of this album on the band's official website. You will be instantly hooked and $12.00 is a small price to pay for such a strong, solid effort.
Note - Members of Crystal Fate also have an instrumental band called Elvenfire. Check it out at www.elvenfire.com .
About this Writer: Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has served as senior editor for MaximumMetal.com for nearly 10 years and is the author of the heavy metal book series--Denim & Letters. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia.
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