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Crystal Breed - 'The Place Unknown' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/56/c5/33/2721_CrystalBreedThePlaceUnknown_1347290701.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     September 10, 2012    
 
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Debut album of the Hanover-based progressive rock band.

Crystal Breed is a Hanover-based progressive rock band formed in 2008 and ‘The Place Unknown’ is their debut album. I have to confess that I don’t often venture into the progressive music field so my knowledge of the genre is rather limited. I listen to so much music, covering a vast number of styles that it is difficult for me to spend an excess amount of time trying to absorb some of the ideas presented in a 75 minute CD that contains only half a dozen songs. When I discovered that this German band is of a progressive nature I was somewhat apprehensive when I came to play the disc for the first time. A week later, after numerous plays, there is no-one more surprised than me to discover ‘The Place Unknown’ is – for me - one of the top releases of 2012 so far.

Musically I would suggest that the quartet is more rock than metal and comparisons would be with the likes of Genesis, Yes, King Crimson and Pink Floyd rather than Dream Theater or Vanden Plas. There are passages of intensity, with some John Petrucci inspired riffing, but initially it was the AOR flavoured melodies and hooks that caught my attention more than anything else. Having pulled me in with these memorable choruses, repeated plays has now led to my appreciation of the album as a whole. There is natural flow and the songs are structured in a way to maintain high interest levels throughout. The performances are first rate and it is hard to believe that this is the band’s first recording foray.

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Special mention should be made of guitarist/vocalist Niklas Turmann because aside from some crunching power chords his solos are both sublime and imaginative. Eschewing the need for speed and a multitude of notes, but concentrating more on emotion and control, the lengthy solo during ‘Move’ and ‘Words Of Silence’ outro solo bring to mind David Gilmour at times. It is impossible for me to select individual highlights due to the strength of the material but a couple of the songs don’t really work, namely the lengthy ‘Rockstar Wannabe’ and ‘Back T’your Mum’. The music doesn’t seem quite as focused and the lyrical themes seem a little out of context with the rest of the album. It is no trouble for me to program ‘The Place Unknown’ without these two, thereby creating a seven song 45 minute complete audio joyride. The crystal clear production, courtesy of Turmann and keyboard player/vocalist Corvin Bahn, is merely the icing on an already very tasty cake and gives the ‘This Album Was Made To Be Played Loud’ waiver great credulity.

Take a bow guys because ‘The Place Unknown’ is something special.

Dave Bott

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