Crystal Eyes – In Silence They March
Crystal Eyes – In Silence They March (2000)
Reviewed by Daniel Millard
After taking a number of years to release World Of Black And Silver, Crystal Eyes wasted no time in putting out follow-up In Silence They March. Despite having written all of the material in substantially less time, this is a very direct sequel, in terms of both sound and spirit, to the band’s debut. The artwork is certainly striking as well, and remains something I would expect to see on an Emperor or Dissection release, only with a pleasant run of power metal contained within.
And it’s quite pleasant indeed. The production is not near as fuzzy and lo-fi as World Of Black And Silver, although I think that the drums can feel a bit lifeless in places, and leave something to be desired. Mikael Dahl’s voice is the same ruggedly charming timbre as well, and at this point, it becomes so well established that I almost don’t want him to become any more accomplished, if that makes any sense. Besides, his screams don’t need any work.
On the whole, songwriting has changed marginally. “Time Flight” offers the same sort of lofty power metal hymn as “Interstellar War” did, and the remainder of the tracks are typically as varied and exploratory. Where World Of Black And Silver’s title track was a surprisingly slow song with a radical change of atmosphere, “In Silence They March” is an equally interesting venture, especially when combined with “The Undead King”, which serves as a superb spoken narrative. Dahl gives an oustanding vocal performance on these two tracks, and they are but one of many bright spots on the album’s roadmap.
A smattering of short stories sprawls across the soundscape here: with the Viking-themed “Sons Of Odin”, the piratical “Adrian Blackwood”, and the supernatural “Winternight” – standout tracks all, lyrically. This leads me to yet another point where this band excels. The lyric-writing duo of Dahl and Andreas Götesson (who is not a band member, but is credited for a great number of lyrics on the band’s first three albums in particular, in addition to designing the logo) is superb in many places, far exceeding my general expectations for detail, depth, and mastery of the English language for a Scandinavian band.
A couple of more basic songs mean that this album may not quite live up to the same heights of creativity evidenced on World Of Black And Silver, nor the level of mastery displayed on the subsequent Vengeance Descending. I find both “Knights Of Prey” and “Somewhere Over The Sun” to be a little more simple and less remarkable than most, though certainly not poor songs. “Winternight” makes for the second subdued, largely acoustic closer in as many albums, however, and leaves a lasting impression due to its contemplative nature after such a fun, rowdy album.
While sandwiched between a pair of albums that I find more impressive, In Silence They March is an easy winner and quite an attestation to Crystal Eyes’ songwriting talent. While the formula was destined to undergo some re-shaping in the near future, it was satisfactory enough to make this album a rock solid underground Swedish power metal essential.
4.0 // 5