Swedish metal veterans Crystal Eyes return from a five-year lull with energetic music chronicling journeys of the mind, body and spirit. Led by founding member, guitarist and singer Mikael Dahl, the band’s eighth album, Starbourne Traveler, displays classic, melodic metal hallmarks, with 10 filler-free tracks keeping the life-force of the genre alive and well.
Starbourne Traveler’s title cut is a fun look at the idea of catapulting from Earth to fly among the cosmos. Another standout regarding departures, “Corridors Of Time,” explores the theme of breaking the ties that bind and following impulses in life and career. Crystal Eyes has a great ability to take on the genre and convey somewhat of a punk rock mentality. “Paradise Powerlord,” which is a sly flip of the bird to aristocrats and power drunk politicians, captures that rebellious and angered side to Crystal Eyes’ collective musical personality.
Fueled by strong guitar licks, “Side By Side” is vintage power metal. Dahl’s slightly nasal voice, reminiscent of Gamma Ray’s Kai Hansen, leads a fight song of a chorus: “Ride now/In battle, Unite/Meet your enemy side by side.” Similarly, after a thirty-second instrumental lead-in, “Into the Fire” is influenced by the idea of meeting your challenges head-on. The one-minute guitar solo section starting at the 2:25 mark is like a song unto itself, particularly when Dahl joins Jonatan Hallberg during a dual part.
While this outing may not be groundbreaking in terms of lyrical content or approach, Crystal Eyes knows better than to disrupt a formula the group has honed since the 1990s. Classic and power metal fans who enjoy Tygers Of Pan Tang and Hammerschmitt will want to ride along with the Starbourne Traveler.
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Justin Smulison is a professional content writer and producer whose first love is music. Smulison’s digital and print copywriting experience spans music, law, true crime, advertising and real estate, among other subjects. You can often find JS in Long Beach, New York, either running on the boardwalk or in the sand with his family.