Crystal Breed are a rather new band from the German city of Hannover. They were founded in 2008 by singer-guitarist Niklas Turmann and singer-keyboardist Corvin Bahn. While touring with former Scorpions-guitarist Uli Jon Roth and bands as Gamma Ray, Fair Warning and Peter Panka's Jane, they hit upon the idea to play their own songs with their own band on a live stage. After finding bassist Michael Schugardt and drummer Thorsten Harnitz their idea became reality and Crystal Breed was born. Turmann and Bahn started to write songs together that would suit the band.
The results of those writing sessions can now be found on their debut album The Place Unknown containing nine excellent compositions. They got some help from the following guest musicians: Karoline Steidl (violin), Magdalena Zagoszdzon (violin), Esther Jasmin Becker (viola), Sven Holger Philippsen (cello), Guiomar Espiņeira Pandelo (flute), Anna Magdalena Stockmann (trumpet) and Hedwig Benkendorf (trombone). This string and brass section provide for a strong orchestral sound throughout the album. Listen for example to the opening part of Words Of Silence and discover how beautifully this was done. Enjoy also the influences of The Beatles on this piece of music!
The strong musician ship of all band members and the professional vocal performances of Corvin and Niklas made me think about two other bands: the American progressive outfit IZZ and the Swedish band Moon Safari. On The Place Unknown you'll hear the same kind of strong harmony vocals. However, not only the vocals reminded me of these bands, but also the way they write their songs with an occasional strong guitar or synthesizer solo. When the more aggressive parts get a leading role, the music also reminded me of the British progressive metal band Threshold. I heard the same kind of riffs and solos on some of the tracks. Even the aggressive way of singing and the synthesizer parts, tend towards the musical style of this band. Listen for example to The Worshiper, Rockstar Wannabe and Back T'Your Mum. The blend of music related to IZZ, Moon Safari and Threshold simply is a very tasteful one. Therefore I have very positive feelings about this debut album by Crystal Breed.
At the back of the booklet it is said that 'this album was made to be played loud'. I think most people play music as loud as possible to get the best out of the music. I couldn't hear the beauty of this album on a low volume. So I turned it up to enjoy the real good progressive rock music that I found on The Place Unknown. Highly recommended to people who like the music of IZZ, Moon Safari and Threshold!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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