Leon : Crystal Palace is a German band that has been around since 1991, when they just started they played AOR but from 1995 onwards they have been active in the progressive rock scene. If I count right, the band has released ten albums to date! I am a big prog fan but have never heard of this band before, usually that doesn’t lead to anything good. For the longest time the band has played neo-progressive rock but the band has claimed recently that they have been changing their style since the previous album, from 2016, called ‘Dawn Of Eternity’. Let’s see if this change will work out for the Germans.
When I listened to the album I immediately had to think of The Tangent but with some more balls, in that sense it might resemble Riverside a bit too. Anyhow, the music is characterized by switching powerful metal parts with calmer symphonic moments, this creates a lot of dynamic within the songs, which is nice. There is another reason why I had to think of The Tangent, the voice of singer Yenz Sturtz resembles that of Andy Tillison’s. This means that I can’t describe Sturtz as a great vocalist, he is dependent on the character in his voice and not on fantastic singing parts, for a few songs I don’t really mind but a full album is a bit too much for me, at some point it starts to be slightly annoying which is also because of the accent that is clearly present. Other than that, the music is pretty sound, the band plays tight and there are a couple of very cool moments on the album, like the song ‘Collateral’. I am, however, not completely convinced, the mix could’ve used a bit more dynamic (the guitars need a boost in the more aggressive parts), and the compositions aren’t consistently strong.
The conclusion is that ‘Scattered Shards’ is a good album, but one with some side notes. The men of Crystal Palace show that they can make very serious progressive rock/metal and are not afraid to develop after twenty years. I would recommend any progressive rock/metal fan to give ‘Scattered Shards’ a chance, or check out the band if you see them at a festival. I don’t believe I will play the album very often, or at all, but I will keep my eyes for the follow-up, who knows Crystal Palace will be able to perfect their new sound there.