Crystallion – “Heads Or Tails” (Pride & Joy Music)
Battle Helm Rating
Formed in 2003 by drummer Martin Herzinger and bassist Stefan Gimpl (aka Steve Hall of Edenbridge), Crystallion have built their reputation in Central Europe touring with bands like Bonfire and Running Wild as well as playing smaller festivals like Rockokfest, Trveheim, Free & Easy and Metal-Fest in Lorely. Releasing 4 full length albums, things took a different course when Munich powerhouse singer Kristina Berchtold joined in 2019, following the departure of Thomas Strübler, who’d been in the band 15 years. With a desire to go beyond their power metal past to involve more heavy metal and hard rock, while still retaining the highly catchy melodies and powerful hooks that made their reputation, I have to say that “Heads Or Tails” pretty much nails it on this stellar release with the 11 epic and certainly heart stirring songs doing the job. Also joined by guitar player Werner Hießl, songs like ‘Living On A Lie’ grab you right from the get go through a crushing main melody mixed with hard riffing and wailing tremolo, prominent basslines and hard drumming as Berchtold hits it perfectly in her soul before belting out that irresistible chorus – superb! With scarcely a breath in between, Berchtold resonates her power and sultriness in the build-up to another shredding chorus on ‘I’m On Fire’, wailing in excellent contrast to the chugging guitars, slapping bass and pounding snare of Herzinger on another winning hit song. Rocking in with plenty of style and sass on ‘The Wild Hunt’, Berchtold teases in her high tones along to Hießl’s guitar dancing out another monster hook while his solo is nothing short of bedazzling on this highly memorable song that is as much of a pleasure to singalong to as to air punch it out. Streamlining the band to a quartet and dispensing with the frills in the music for the essentials of great songs, the new Crystallion now romances as much as it rocked in the past ever so stylishly!