Brilliantly progressive

-- Crystal Throne --

Stijn Daneels

Album genres:
heavy metal
Progressive Metal
Album artists:
Jefferson Brand Bass
Terry DeFire Vocals
Alex Gricar Drums
Max Waynn Guitars

Review written by Adelnor.

Intro: Claiming the throne!

I’m thoroughly impressed with the musical skill and creativeness that’s been displayed on this full-length debut album independently released on November 24th 2021, by French true/progressive metal band: Crystal Throne! Although not every song spoke to me as much, many songs on the album left me speechless. I love it when bands find these unusual ways to make songs interesting and fresh. And in Crystal Throne’s case, they did it amazingly!

Starting out in 2019 in North-East France, with members having previous experiences from bands like Drenalize, The Hell Patrol and Horacle. Crystal Throne wanted to make aggressive and melodic riffs with progressive heavy metal influences, taking inspiration from bands and artists like Fates Warning, Queensrÿche, Jason Becker, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden.

Main outline: Crystal creations

Even though Crystal Throne’s full-length debut album only has 9 songs, it is only a few seconds short of 47 minutes total playtime! With most songs being at least 5 minutes long, these guys know how to keep a track going and keep it interesting at the same time!

Starting out with “Fate & Triumph,” making for a killer intro to the album! This short track is a great testimony to what’s awaiting you if you decide to listen to the album. It starts off very slowly, building up the tension, then some heavy distortion kicks in together with the drums, followed by the vocals and a bad-ass riff with some clever harmonizations and ending on an impressive lick! This is where we jump into “Rise To Glory,” a fast paced track with gallops and a bunch of riffs with clever variations! It has some great and original pinball machine solos, clever breaks and I adore it! The vocals are amazing too, nothing to remark on this track.

Up next is “Timescape,” kicking it off with a very impressive solo and from there jumping straight into a super tight riff, shortly followed by the vocals. This song displays some brilliant layering of the different instruments in the bands, especially the guitars. Both parts being played complement each other greatly, making for an impeccable full sound! The fourth track on the album, “Shadows Of Existence” doesn’t speak to me as much as the other songs do. Musically, it’s a great song! I’m just personally not feeling this one.

This is where we reach the halfway point with “Steelbirds,” which is one of my favorite tracks from this album! A real headbanger if you ask me! Starting off with an immensely complicated sounding solo going up and down the scale, before jumping into a super tight, catchy and creative riff with plenty of variations! They manage to create a very full stretching sound when the vocals first come in, greatly complementing them and giving it that little bit of extra power. This song is just killer impressive in every aspect!

After that we get to “Foreshadowed Sands,” a dark and aggressive sounding song with a very solid sound, creating a seriously gloomy mood. What I appreciate the most about this song is definitely the chorus, the guitars do a great job creating this feeling/mood that compliments the vocals very well! For “Valkyrie Ride,” I don’t have much to comment on. In style very comparable to the other song and as consistent in quality as any other track on Crystal Throne’s eponymous debut album. “Mechanical Tyranny” begins with a spoken intro with a voice changer, to make it sound like a robot. A small but fun detail that I really like! Musically also an amazing song with some great bass, drum and guitar work, but it didn’t speak to me as much, mainly because of the theme.

And last but not least, on number 9, we have “Crystal Warrior!” This track is definitely my personal number 1 on the album! Starting off with an acoustic guitar part, creating a beautiful melancholy, soon amplified by a classical Spanish sounding guitar part, before the lead guitarist comes in with a very soulful solo that I was really feeling! Very clear and natural sounding vocals here, vocalist Terry displays his voice’s characteristics very well in this song. Later in the song we have some headbanging riffs and amazing solos, ending on another very soulful solo that’s layered with the vocals, followed by the band throwing everything they’ve got at their instruments and displaying their immaculate skills for one final time with a super tight and melodic riff, supporting some more killer vocals!

Points of work

Nothing! This is easily the highest quality debut album I’ve ever heard on a new metal band debut release. The audio quality was good, but I’m mainly impressed by Crystal Throne’s overflowing talent and creativity! So get to marketing guys! It’s just a matter of time and dedication before Crystal Throne gets big!

Personal advice

Don’t listen to me, you guys clearly know what you’re doing and I encourage you to just keep on doing your thing!

Closing remarks

I look forward to seeing how far Crystal Throne will get. Their eponymous debut album possesses more than enough talent and ideas, so it’s just a matter of luck, chance and motivation if they keep delivering work like this. True heavy metal indeed, but with progressive elements to keep you on your toes. If I ever get the chance to see these guys live I will definitely get a ticket! So you better come to Belgium if you end up going on tour this year! I am very curious to see how their talents are on stage! This album spoke to me very much! I might just buy myself a copy of the CD! So keep up the brilliant work guys, and I’m sure sooner or later, you will be rewarded!