The Swiss band Crystal Ball is surely one of the most talented names on the contemporary melodic hard rock scene. Their music, strongly influenced by heavy and power metal, delivers a truly outstanding mixture of solid drumming, tight guitar work, dazzling solos and energetic vocals. Virtual Empire, the group’s third full-length offering, is by far one of their most impressive works, combining all the best elements of their style into one big rocking masterpiece! Released in May, 2002, Virtual Empire was Crystal Ball’s first LP for Nuclear Blast and one of their most sophisticated works yet. The twelve (excluding the intro) tracks found on the album delivered a perfect mixture of hard rock and heavy metal, backed with atmospheric sci-fi punctuations which underlined Virtual Empire’s futuristic theme. The LPs content varied from straight-forward power metal killers such as Hands of God or Blind Side (which has a similar structure to Helloween’s material) to the beautiful ballad Look In My Eyes. Other highlights included pure rocking tracks such as Night and Day and Dance With The Devil. Produced by Tommy Newton (Helloween, Ark, Human Fortress), Virtual Empire proved to be a big success for the band, followed by a massive tour across Europe with Dokken, U.D.O., Doro and Krokus.