Crystallion - Hattin
Epic Power Metal
8 songs (54:50)
Release year: 2008
Crystallion, Dockyard 1
Reviewed by Pete

If old sayings were being thrown about, I think ‘never judge a book by its cover’ could be attributed to this album. However, in this instance it should be, ‘never judge an album by its cover, band name or song titles’. I’ve been listening to metal for over twenty years and you’d think I’d be able to do the above. Even with a cover of a Knight on one knee, sword in hand, magic dust in the other, looking out across the deserted rocky plains, I crossed my fingers that Hattin wouldn’t crash and burn. But old habits die hard, and when you’re presented with a disc by a band called Crystallion you can’t help but think, terrible name, don’t hold out much hope for the music. Indeed, when you are given song titles such as Wings Of Thunder and The Battle: Higher Than The Sky, and the opening track The Ambush is a sweeping introduction with crass storytelling in a dodgy English accent, the initial judgement seems to be the correct one. But the world of metal, which has ever been my saviour and sanctuary, rarely lets me down.

Crystallion, despite their clichéd imagery and laughable talk-overs, are an accomplished German power metal six-piece (it just had to be euro power metal didn’t it). Hattin is their second album following on from the guffaw inducing mantled A Dark Enchanted Crystal Night. It is a concept album based on Templar Myth. The battle of Hattin took place on July 4th 1187 and was the biggest military defeat of the crusades (Only in metal. I can’t see any other musical genre coming up with something like that). With such potential and imagery for epic greatness, the music, as you can imagine, is bombastic and over the top. But what can you expect when the band are influenced by Sonata Arctica, Rhapsody Of Fire and Helloween? ‘Hattin’ has pace, solos and glorious melodies, everything you want from power metal.

The introduction aside, there are only seven tunes on offer. However, apart from the average seven-minute length, it also includes the awesome eleven-minute closing epic, Preach With An Iron Tongue. It all reminds me of the first two Lost Horizon albums, epic, overblown, overlong and thoroughly entertaining if you're willing to let your guard down. Wings Of Thunder is as driving as it sounds in all its power metal glory, whereas Under Siege, perhaps the album's best tune, displays the bands ability to add mid tempo grooves and variety. The three-part 'Battle' is as daft as it sounds. Weak keyboards let the trilogy down, but as crackpot as it may be your devil horns will be up on the steering wheel if you have it on loud enough.

I don’t think Crystallion have enough originality to divide them from the heavy weights of the genre. Their brand of crusader metal is nothing new, and their embracing of everything that is considered cheesy in metal can work against them. What Crystallion do have in their favour is a good ear for the genre, great individual performances, and a conviction that has to be admired. Hattin is an enjoyable power metal romp that may not knock Rhapsody Of Fire off their throne. If it doesn't it’ll certainly satisfy every aspect that a growing power metaller needs. If you see this album in the shops or on the Internet, trust me, don’t judge it until you’ve heard it. I did, and would’ve been disappointed if I’d passed on it just because it looks a bit daft. Lesson learned....again.

Killing Songs :
Preach With An Iron Tongue, Under Siege, Wings Of Thunder
Pete quoted 85 / 100
Other albums by Crystallion that we have reviewed:
Crystallion - A Dark Enchanted Crystal Night reviewed by Crims and quoted 80 / 100
0 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are 1 replies to this review. Last one on Mon Mar 30, 2009 8:57 pm
View and Post comments