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CRYSTAL PHOENIX

Prog Folk • Italy


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Crystal Phoenix biography
CRYSTAL PHOENIX was born in 1989 by the effort of a single figure: Myriam Sagenwells Saglimbeni who wrote, played, sang and even drew the cover of the eponymous debut work. This musical genre, which could be termed progressive, has been called epic-classic by the authoress. It is epic because, by means of music, she can draw a parallelism with ancient myths (even if with hard rock-heavy influences) and classic because she uses instruments such as: harp, flutes and harpsichord.

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Chrystal PhoenixChrystal Phoenix
Import
Black Widow 2012
Audio CD$19.12
$31.05 (used)
crystal phoenix LPcrystal phoenix LP
SI-WAN
Vinyl$60.00 (used)
twa jorg-j-draak saga - the legend of the two stonedragons LPtwa jorg-j-draak saga - the legend of the two stonedragons LP
BLACK WIDOW
Vinyl$35.00 (used)
Crystal PhoenixCrystal Phoenix
Import
Imports 2012
Vinyl$60.36
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LP crystal phoenix ~ USD $21.71
CD crystal phoenix ~ USD $18.29
CD the legend of the two stonedragons ~ USD $18.29


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CRYSTAL PHOENIX discography


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CRYSTAL PHOENIX top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.70 | 10 ratings
Crystal Phoenix
1989
3.02 | 4 ratings
The Legend Of The Two Stonedragons (Twa Jorg-J-Draak Saga)
2003

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CRYSTAL PHOENIX Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Legend Of The Two Stonedragons (Twa Jorg-J-Draak Saga) by CRYSTAL PHOENIX album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.02 | 4 ratings

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The Legend Of The Two Stonedragons (Twa Jorg-J-Draak Saga)
Crystal Phoenix Prog Folk

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

3 stars 'The Legend Of The Two Stonedragons' follows on some fourteen years since the debut. At that time the band was just one person, Myriam Sagenwells Sagliembeni (who on this recording provides vocals, guitars, bass and harp). A band was formed to play some gigs but they had disbanded by 1992. In 1993 Black Widow re-released the album, their first ever release. In 2000 Myriam formed a new band, and she has now been joined by Tina Vadal' (vocals/cymbals), Raymond Sgr' (piano, keys, bass guitar, flute, recorders) and Robert Mazza (drums). But this is now a band and Myriam shares song writing duties with Raymond.

The album is divided into two, the past and the future, and contains a complex story which ranges from fantasy to science fiction. Luckily the background and all of the lyrics are provided.One of these songs is on the Black Widow sampler which was free with #71. Musically this is quite a dreamy album, with the emphasis on delicacy instead of bombast. The vocals are extremely important with a high vocal line often being used as an instrument.

The impression is of a time gone by, and the label calls this 'Epic Folk Prog'. It is almost as if Legend had joined forces with Steeleye Span, so that even when the band try to break free they can only do so within certain constraints. Overall an interesting album, but I am not sure how often I will be returning to it. For more information about the band and their history then visit their site at www.crystalphoenix.cjb.net or the label site at www.blackwidow.it.

Originally appeared in Feedback #74, Jun 03

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 Crystal Phoenix by CRYSTAL PHOENIX album cover Studio Album, 1989
2.70 | 10 ratings

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Crystal Phoenix
Crystal Phoenix Prog Folk

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.

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 Crystal Phoenix by CRYSTAL PHOENIX album cover Studio Album, 1989
2.70 | 10 ratings

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Crystal Phoenix
Crystal Phoenix Prog Folk

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

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.

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 Crystal Phoenix by CRYSTAL PHOENIX album cover Studio Album, 1989
2.70 | 10 ratings

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Crystal Phoenix
Crystal Phoenix Prog Folk

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

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.

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 The Legend Of The Two Stonedragons (Twa Jorg-J-Draak Saga) by CRYSTAL PHOENIX album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.02 | 4 ratings

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The Legend Of The Two Stonedragons (Twa Jorg-J-Draak Saga)
Crystal Phoenix Prog Folk

Review by toroddfuglesteg

3 stars Hmmmmmmmm......... ?? What am I supposed to say about this album ?

This is the second album from this prog folk band from Italy and the brainchild of Myriam Sagenwells Saglimbeni. It is also a mixed bag of most thing.

Let's start with the vocals. The female vocals are both opera and clear vocals. The music is somewhere near gothic symphonic folk rock. A bit of an ambitious blend, in other words. This blend is supported with a lot of acoustic instruments like flute and piano.

The quality is fairly good throughout. In particular the first piece Total War is very good with it's pulsating melody lines. So is the final song War Again. The rest of the album is good and so is the art work and the packaging of this album. I think this is both a good, but also sadly a bland album which may appeal to the prog folk fans out there. I have to admit I will probably never play this album again in my life though. A very weak 3 stars is given.

3 stars

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 The Legend Of The Two Stonedragons (Twa Jorg-J-Draak Saga) by CRYSTAL PHOENIX album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.02 | 4 ratings

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The Legend Of The Two Stonedragons (Twa Jorg-J-Draak Saga)
Crystal Phoenix Prog Folk

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

3 stars Crystal Phoenix is another in a large population of Italian bands whose music seems to flow freely between metal, classical folk and progressive sounds with fanciful themes that combine legends with loosely historical contexts. Musically they run somewhere between Sad Minstrel and Mago de Oz with instrumentation consisting mostly of electric guitar, woodwinds, electric keyboards and percussion. 'Twa Jorg-J-Draak Saga' (The Legend of the Two Stonedragons' is their second and final studio effort, issued by Black Widow Records in 2003 who also made the band's debut the first release on that label.

Like the band's first record this one is a theme album, in this case a somewhat disjointed tale of apocalyptic nuclear war followed by a period of militant control in which the masses suffer genetic instability while the elite social classes possess electronic chips that manage to reverse deformities. A rumored cure has been developed by the military, who closely guards the antidote until a rogue group of military warriors form a rebel coalition to make the cure available to civilians. You have to read about the theme of the album to get this though, as the lyrics aren't quite consistent with the liner notes story.

The arrangements of songs begins with a prologue of the future state (post-nuclear war), and ends with the more bucolic second half reminiscing on a more innocent day before the world turned upside-down. Interestingly enough I found very little about either the lyrics or the liner notes story that pointed to either dragons or legends, but since this sort of music requires a suspension in reality anyway that's a minor detail.

Musically this is obviously an Italian album as it features beautiful piano passages (on "Remembrance" and "War Again" in particular); lots of recorders, flute and other woodwinds; and plenty of guitar arpeggios during the more strenuous parts.

The band is the brainchild of Myriam Sagenwells Saglimbeni who sings, plays guitar, bass and harp and wrote pretty much all the lyrics in addition to creating the artwork. This lineup is almost completely different than that of the first album with the exception of Saglimbeni and drummer Roberto Mazzo.

Overall I like the instrumentation for the most part, although there's nothing here that is particularly new or innovative from a compositional standpoint. The theme isn't anything earthshaking either, but at least the lyrics and sequencing of songs makes for a contiguous experience and the music is melodic and engaging enough to listen all the way through while keeping one's attention for the most part. On whole I'll say this is a three star out of five effort, an album that would make for decent background music or possibly even mood music on a cool winter evening at home when there's not much to do. Mildly recommended to fans of folk-leaning music with metal nuances such as the 3rd & the Mortal, Sad Minstrel or Bluehorses.

peace

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