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'Crystal Eye'
(Steamhammer/SPV Records)

Johnny Main

johnny main

The Dutch Metal band have been around for over thirty years and return not only with a new album but also one that features a new star-studded line up to support original Vengeance singer, Leon Goewie.

vengeance crystal eye

What you have here, very simply put, are eleven easily accessible and thoroughly enjoyable slabs of hard rock. New drummer Chris Slade (ex-The Firm and AC/DC) opens things up with a solid backbeat before guitarist Keri Kelli (ex-Alice Cooper) wades in with a punchy riff, and before you know it, 'Me And You' is in full flow with it's simple but catchy chorus – a great start to the album.

Kelli kicks off 'Bad To The Bone' with a fantastically strong riff which cuts off fairly quickly to make way for Goewie's vocals which have a distinctly Rob Halford feel about them. That's not a criticism at all by the way, as the vocals throughout the album are excellent.

'Bad To The Bone' is a more mid-paced track, but hangs in there with another catchy chorus. Following hot on its heels, is 'Barbeque' which has a solid throbbing bass line from Chris Glen (ex-Michael Schenker Group) holding the track together and an articulate guitar solo.

'Shock Me Now' opens up with a great guitar riff which falls into a simmering in the background before ending up with a truly accomplished solo for this strong, mid-paced track. Moving on, the expected torrent of innuendo in a song called 'Five Knuckle Shuffle' is missing with the band producing one of the slower tracks on the album whilst still managing to maintain a heavy groove which turns this into one of the standout tracks on the album for me.

'Five Knuckle Shuffle' has another great solo from Kelli, whilst Slade gives his drum kit a good workout too. A spoken intro takes us into 'Desperate Women' which has a sound reminiscent of some early Motley Crue tracks with its big chords, but again, it's a song that doesn't disappoint. Kelli comes up trumps again with a couple of excellent (if fairly short) guitar breaks and the easy sing-a-long nature of the chorus makes this another catchy song.

'Whole Lotta Metal' picks up the pace again with a frantic display from Slade backed up with more big power chords from Kelli. Goewie is on form vocally, practically spitting out the lyrics, and at times sounding like he's having trouble keeping up with the music!

The backing vocals on the chorus may be a simple up-scale progression, but this could surely be used to great effect in a live gig. 'Promise Me' is the album's ballad – soft electric guitars, slow plodding song, subtle percussion – it's all here but this doesn't detract from the truly heartfelt vocals. Kelli produces some textbook guitar breaks and she produces yet another outstandingly produced solo.

One could be forgiven for wondering that if this was written and released as a single in the early 1990s (when the power ballad was arguably king) – how far up the charts would 'Promise Me' have travelled? I get the feeling that the answer would be quite near the top of the charts.

The title track, 'Crystal Eye' starts off with an almost medieval sound before becoming a full-on Metal track with killer drums, soaring guitar solo and rasping vocals. A solid song and well deserving of being the title track. 'Missing' is another slow track with mournful vocals about a lost relationship, and before you know it, the album's almost done.

The last track itself is an instrumental called 'Jan's End Piece'. This was collated from some solos performed by original Vengeance member Jan Somers, who died suddenly on 28 January 2011 aged only 46 and serves simply as a tribute from one friend to another. A fitting tribute to a great guitar player, and certainly a very nice way to end a great album.

Available in a standard CD or Digipak CD

Tracklist (Digipak):

Me And You
Bad To The Bone
Shock Me Now
Five Knuckle Shuffle
Desperate Women
Whole Lotta Metal
Promise Me
Crystal Eye
Jans End Piece

Band Members:

Leon Goewie – Vocals
Keri Kelli - Guitar
Chris Glen – Bass
Chris Slade – Drums



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Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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