Artist: Crystal Ball
   Title: Secrets
   Label: AFM Records

Who would have thought that when this band started out way back in 1995 they were a covers band who went under the moniker of Cherry Pie, but Swiss band Crystal Ball haven’t let this stop them from producing some of the finest Hard Rock this side of the Alps.

With this their new album the band have also signed up with AFM records for a new chapter in the bands long history and allow 'Secrets' to unfold.

The album opens up with 'Moondance' with frontman Mark Sweeney delivering a powerful vocal performance that is equal to anything I’ve heard in the genre this year, together with Scott Leach and Hungi Berglas just ripping up a storm from the off, this one gets the album off to a fantastic start.

From such a small country like Switzerland they certainly know how to rock with the likes of Krokus, Gotthard and Daydreamer to name but a few.  The band show they can rock with the best of them as the album continues with one of my favourites from the album ‘I Will Drag You Down’, from the opening few chords this one soars above the listener as the keys and guitars unite in hard rock harmony and when Sweeney brings in those distinctive vocals, it's rock all the way from here on in, great stuff.

The album takes a slightly more mellow refrain with the haunting tones of ‘Minor Key’, a rocking love ballad that really pulls at the heart strings, but it's soon back to the ballsy hard rock with ‘It's Not Love’, a real guitar mans song with those unmistakable vocals of Sweeney breaking through the mass of riffs to deliver another powerhouse performance.

The album continues to impress with the hard rocking ‘Time Has Come’.  This is where the rhythm section of Sven Sieber on bass and Marcel Sardella on drums really come into their own on this thumping slice of rock.  The title track ‘Secrets’ is up next and what a track!  From the opening guitars of Leach and Berglas, the heady drums of Sardella and the pummelling bass of Sieber, this one totally brings the sheer power of the band to the forefront and together with those power ridden vocals of Sweeney, all go to help this one really hit the mark.

With ‘Wings of Fire’, just as you begin to think things are slowing down considerably from the opening few chords, these thoughts are soon put right as the track just ignites into another classy slice of hard rock with that perfect precision only the Swiss can produce.

With the album more than half way through the band can do no wrong from this point on and when they slow things down with ‘Dreaming Of You’, you just get swept away by Sweeney’s vocals and the streaming guitars that are just superb and carry on with the excellent ‘Destiny’.  Another slower more melodic track that features some excellent solo work on the guitars.

But fear not the band haven’t gone all soft, with the album almost at a close it's back to the full on rock with the guitar fuelled ‘I’ll Be Waiting’, before finishing off with another of my personal favourites ‘Face The Truth’, which rounds off a great hard rock album and one for those who like me like a slice of Krokus and Gotthard and all things guitar orientated.


1. Moondance
2. I Will Drag You Down
3. Minor Key
4. It's Not Love 
5. Time Has Come
6. Secrets
7. Wings Of Fire
8. Dreaming Of You
9. Destiny
10. I'll Be Waiting
11. Face The Truth



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