Crystal Castle October Hymns

he power metal on October Hymns is made up of several pieces that could fit together but don't. There's lots of soloing, along with a heavy use of keyboards and choirs, but it all comes off rather disjointedly, like a recording of an energetic but not too successful mega-jam session. Many of the elements could work well in a different setting, and every now and then it all comes together and sounds right for a moment. The lead vocals however rarely display the same potential, especially when harmonising or straining for high notes. The most consistently pleasant track on the album is the much simpler folk ballad "Lady of the Spring Spell." With better communication skills (and less cheesy artwork), Crystal Castle could probably pull off some decent power metal, but as it stands, there's lots of room left for improvement. (Independent)