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Crystal Phoenix

Prog Folk

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Crystal Phoenix Crystal Phoenix album cover
2.79 | 15 ratings | 4 reviews | 0% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1989

Songs / Tracks Listing

SIDE.... Another Life
1. Damned Warrior (2:36)
2. 474 Anno Domini (5:03)
3. Somewhere Battle (4:35)
4. Lother Siniell (4:58)

SIDE... This Life
5. Heaven The Flower (Part 1) / Violet Crystal Phoenix (Part ll) (6:38)
6. Dark Shadow: (7:08)
o The Dove And The Bat
o The Last Flyght

Total Time: 29:58

Line-up / Musicians

- Myriam Sagenwells Saglimbeni / vocals
- Roberto Mazza / drums
- Silvio TomÓ / lead Guitar
- Patrizio Prametti / lead Guitar

Releases information

CD Black Widow BWR001 (1993)
CD BWRCD 001-2 (2012)
LP Videostar VS 000 176 (released as "Myriam") (1988)
LP Black Widow BWR 001 (1993,2012)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to kenethlevine for the last updates
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CRYSTAL PHOENIX Crystal Phoenix ratings distribution

(15 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(0%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(20%)
Good, but non-essential (60%)
Collectors/fans only (20%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

CRYSTAL PHOENIX Crystal Phoenix reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Crystal Phoenix from Piemonte was a late-80's project and brainchild of female singer and multi-instrumentalist Myriam Sagenwells Saglimbeni.With Saglimbeni handling guitars, vocals and strings and helped by drummer Roberto Mazza, guitarists Silvio Toma and Patrizio Rametti and bassist Matteo Pezzicoli, Crystal Phoenix appeared in 1989 with a private press self-titled LP, which ended up to be the first official CD release from Genovese label Black Widow in 1993.

The first LP side represents the ''...another life'' chapter of the album, opening with a short IRON MAIDEN-like tune with bombastic but plastic-sounding drums and bass, saved actually by the good lead guitars and followed by the folkish ballad ''474 Anno Domini'', where Saglimbeni offers her highly-accented vocals in an unimpressive soft atmosphere.Flutes, harps, cymbals and dreamy vocal lines finally add to the album some decent atmosphere on ''Somewhere, nowhere battle'' and its pure Medieval tunes.The instrumental ''Lother Siniell'' is sort of Acoustic/Orchestral Folk with sampled strings all around along with choirs and an attempt by Saglimbeni to create a very grandiose soundscape, which fails partly due to its rather thin sound.The flipside (representing the ''...this life'' chapter) contains the two longer cuts of the work, opening with the two-part 7-min. suite ''Heaven to a Flower/Violet Crystal Phoenix'', maybe the best piece in ''Crystal Phoenix'', doomy and folky Progressive Rock with interesting acoustic and electric parts, great organs and Saglimbeni's top performance on operatic vocals.Another 7-min. composition, ''Dark Shadow'' will close the album, starting off with a repetitive groove, surrounded by the most sensitive vocals by the singer and background electric guitars and constantly building on the electric parts to offer some more grandiose vocals and organ parts and eventually closing with synth and guitar solos in a Neo-Classical way.

At only 32 minutes, ''Crystal phoenix'' is not likely to satisfy many listeners.The ideas are good but the exceution is a bit amateur and low-budget.For fans of modern, artistic Folk Rock though this might be a decent listening...2.5 stars.

Review by Conor Fynes
3 stars 'Crystal Phoenix' - Crystal Phoenix (5/10)

The first album released from prog and doom label Black Widow records, Crystal Phoenix's debut is an obscure piece of art, long overlooked even by aficionados of the Italian progressive scene. Essentially the solo project of singer and multi-instrumentalist Myriam Saglimbeni, the music here is a strange brand of Medieval folk, with the occasional neoclassical metal kick. From a distance, Crystal Phoenix is a very promising act; one with a strange, atmospheric style that at times reminds me of the UK prog-folk masters Comus. Though Saglimbeni's original sound could have been an ample breeding ground for an underground gem, this debut suffers from a few too many weaknesses in the execution. The potential is here; it's simply not realized.

From the first track 'Damned Warrior' alone, one might think Crystal Phoenix is a neoclassical shredfest. At least from a compositional standpoint, it's as if Yngwie Malmsteen decided to stand in as the guitarist for Iron Maiden. An instrumental piece, 'Damned Warrior' is a fair demonstration of Myriam's skill as a guitarist. Her lead playing is pleasantly fluent, although her greatest strength is as a vocalist. In fact, everything following this point tosses away the metal sound in turn for a more brooding folk style. '474 Anno Domini' is the best track from the album; featuring some interplay between feudal harps and dark acoustic guitars that would sound out of place on an Opeth record. This palette of sound feels more natural for Saglimbeni's sense of composition, which relies largely on atmosphere and gloomy melody.

'Somewhere, Nowhere Battle' is another excellent display of acoustic minstrelsy 'Loth-er Siniell' is a transition between the atmospheric neofolk and a more 'epic' scope that fuels the latter half. The final two songs bring a more rock-focus to the music, although the same Medieval atmosphere gets through. Giving Crystal Phoenix its greatest sense of distinctiveness is Myriam Saglimbeni's voice, which I also think will be the greatest point of division between listeners. Her voice has quite a range to it on the album, going from a very low croon on '474 Anno Domini' to higher pitched vocals that get intense and strained without much warning. At her most fierce, I might compare her voice to Roger Waters (of Pink Floyd) when he conjures the madman inside. Myriam's voice sounds odd at times, but it is one of the best things Crystal Phoenix has going for it.

Musically, the most successful thing is the acoustic guitar work, which never fails to bring up some sort of atmosphere. Sadly, just about everything else on this album- including the vocals- suffers terribly from a bleak studio production. Although I said 'Damned Warrior' had some great lead playing, it becomes a less enjoyable experience when the rhythm guitars sound as shallow as a kiddie pool, and the drums fall upon a lifeless budget program. This lo-fi production does benefit the gloomy mood of the purely acoustic tracks, but whenever something more elaborate comes in, the music feels the strain of a very weak production and largely hollow instrumentation. Had Crystal Phoenix enjoyed a decent studio sound, it's likely that I would have found a lot to like here. Myriam Saglimbeni did almost everything here, from the vocals to the instruments to the cover art. As such, it's not surprising that Crystal Phoenix falls into the 'solo artist' trap of having a handful of things excel and the expense of the rest.

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Italian band CRYSTAL PHOENIX started out as a one-woman band, the creative vehicle of composer and instrumentalist Myriam Sagenwells Saglimbeni, which in subsequent years developed into a more regular band project. Their self-titled debut album was originally self released back in 1989, and has later been reissued on three occasions.

Crystal Phoenix's debut album will most likely be a production for the especially interested to seek out. The songs in both sets of styles explored are fairly well written, but as long as the recording and production quality is as it is, this will limit this album's audience quite a bit I suspect. But if you enjoy 80's metal and medieval folk music both, and don't care that much about recording quality, this disc should suit you fairly well. And I suspect that being a fan of fantasy literature will be an advantage too.

Review by kenethlevine
3 stars At the core of so much progressive rock is an adventurous spirit, shunning reality in favour of larger than life fantasy, in much the same way as fantastic literature and science fiction. As fans of the style, we welcome themes that transport us into a less mundane reality than our own or even that of the rich and famous, and are quite fine with the "pretentiousness" tag that such excursions invite. It's a badge we wear with courage and honour, much like the epic heroes who do not flinch in commitment to duty against the forces of darkness. Grandiose as the story lines may be, even spanning multiple releases, the productions need not be lavish, and in fact rarely can be given the financial constraints of the modern era.

The works of Myriam Sagenwells Saglimbeni, or CRYSTAL PHOENIX manage to conjure a majesty that is disproportionate to their budget. This debut is barely 30 minutes when stripped of its "bonus" cuts, but manages to bridge some of the Japanese prog of the 1980s to ancient folk and symphonic yardsticks of the 1970s. In its quieter moments, as in the harp enriched "474 Anno Domini" and the acoustic guitar and flute led hymn "Somewhere Nowhere Battle", it presages BLACKMORE's NIGHT, but the heavier pieces with crunching organ and rhythm and lead guitar unleash far more aggression than that band ever would. Myriam's voice can accommodate both styles occasionally in the same movement, notably on "Heaven to a Flower" and "Dark Shadow". The compromises that she makes tend to be in favor of overall simplicity and sense of mystery, which was wise given the operating environment.

It's always bittersweet to hear albums like this, true labors of love that reach for "classic status" but fall short of those lofty ideals for reasons that are largely beyond the artists' control. Recommended for fans of fan fantasy and folk with a few shards of shred woven in. Crystal clear?

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