Interview With Marta Gabriel of Crystal Viper
Conducted by Erich Heintzelman
I caught up with Marta Gabriel not long after the release of Crystal Viper’s newest album POSSESSION, a concept album about… you guessed it possession. The topic is very dark, and unashamedly metal much like the band and the lady herself, who takes recognizable pride in the her approach to traditional metal. Marta discussed the new album, the band’s touring plans, and who her dream collaboration would include.
Hello Marta! My name is Erich Heintzelman and I write for Metal-Rules Webzine. Thank you in advance for speaking with me today!
Hello Erich, thank you for supporting Crystal Viper!
Your new album Possession is being released in North America this month (February). How has the reaction to the album been so far in Europe and the rest of the world?
I would same it’s the same like with previous albums: some reviews are very enthusiastic, some people like it, some people don’t, and some don’t care at all. But what’s most important our fans really enjoy it, reactions from them are really awesome.
This is your fifth LP in six years, when most bands take two or three years in between albums. How is Crystal Viper able to be so active?
That is a good question. I don’t know. It was brought to my attention not that long ago, that we indeed 5 albums, bunch of singles, live album and a compilation within 6 years. You know, the truth is we do not plan anything, when we have new record or new music which we want to share with the world, we just release it. We are addicted to Heavy Metal!
Your new album covers the concept of possession. What inspired this particular concept?
We wanted something classic, something old school this time, and with more aggressive colors. If you will carefully analyze this artwork, and you will listen to the album and read the lyrics, you will find out that almost every single song is represented on this picture.
The current trend for band with a female singer is to be symphonic and gothic-oriented. What made you decide to go for a more classic and traditional approach with Crystal Viper?
When I started Crystal Viper, I didn’t think what is trendy and popular, I still don’t. I played and play music I like, and I compose songs I would like to listen. I grew up with bands such as Judas Priest, Virgin Steele, Warlock or Iron Maiden. I always wanted to play Heavy Metal. I mean I respect and I actually like lot of symphonic Metal acts, like for example Nightwish or Within Temptation, I also like and listen to a lot of other non-Metal music, but Crystal Viper is and always will be 100% Heavy Metal!
Your vocals are aggressive and melodic but capable of hitting high notes and screams. How do you maintain the health of your voice while touring?
I would say I learned to protect my voice within the years. I avoid some drinks and some food, I always warm up before singing, I basically try to keep in shape. You know, vocal chords are very delicate, you can damage them quite easy. When you damage a drum head or you break a string in your guitar, you simply replace them. And your vocal chords are just one for all your life.
“Prophet Of The End” has an epic and melodic quality to it. I would say it is my favorite track on the album and bit of departure from what you normally write as you have stated. After you heard the final recording did you think that there was a chance it could become one of the band’s signature tracks?
I’m glad you like it, as it’s also one of my favorite tracks. I sometimes even think it’s the best song I ever wrote. Time will show if it will became one of our signature tracks, but yeah, we all like “Prophet Of The End” very much, this is why we decided to film a video clip for it.
The new album has many elements, from guest vocalists to an unexpected twist near the end of the story and even fans singing on the album. How are you able to deliver consistent value to your fans over the last 10 years?
Well, we do our best we can! Haha… I mean I would say I’m addicted of creativity, I do something or I write songs all the times, we all have millions of ideas what else we could do all the time.
If you were describing the Possession album to someone who had never heard the band before what would you tell them?
Nothing fancy I guess, that it’s Heavy Metal with female vocals? I realize we do not reinvent the wheel, but to be honest: it’s not our ambition and goal. We play music we love.
Crystal Viper has never played in the United States. Do you think there is a chance for some dates in the States this year?
We would love to play in the USA, but it depends of the promoters, if they invite us, or not. If it would depends of us, we would play 365 live shows a year, on every continent.
What areas of recording occupy the most time when the band is recording in the studio?
The recording itself, you know, tracking, doesn’t take that much time actually. Usually all tracks for the album are recorded within less than 2 weeks. But we spend a lot of time on pre-production process, it’s usually few months. When we have the material ready, all demo recordings are done and we are sure this is what we want to have on the album, we enter the studio.
You have had the opportunity to record and play with many bands and musicians. Do you have a particular artist or band that you would love to work with but have not had the opportunity yet?
Yeah, my dream is to record something with Mike Oldfield. He is one of my heroes since I was a kid, I absolutely love his albums, especially these from the ’70s and ’80s.
What can fans of Crystal Viper expect from the band going into 2014?
We hope to play as many live shows as possible, the album is still hot so I don’t think we will record something new this year, but as they say: never say never!
Marta, thank you for your time and congratulations on the new album! Hopefully we will see you on tour over here soon!
Thank you very much, it was a pleasure to answer your questions!