Released: 2012, AFM
In what seems like a very brief period, Crystal Viper has becomes one of Poland’s most well-known bands. They have given us another good example of why people are flocking to the band, namely their fourth full-length album, CRIMEN EXCEPTA. Not many changes have occurred since the last album a couple of years ago; no roster substitutions, the band is still on AFM and is still using the same production team. Producer Bart Gabriel is making quite a name for himself producing excellent records by Lonewolf, Burning Starr and of course Crystal Viper.
Sticking with the sound and style has brought them success to date, the band deliver a well-produced, well-executed album of classic Metal. The band enjoy doing cover songs (at least a dozen to date!) and this time around it is fellow Poles, Vader who get the nod for a version of ‘Tyrani Piekiel’. Peter of Vader even drops by to help on vocals! Even the album cover matches the theme of the past three albums. It is this consistency that helps a band develop a following and a signature sound and style.
As for sound, the band is still red, hot and heavy. This is a crowded and competitive genre of Metal but the band songwriting and riffs make them stand out. The arrangements are classic Metal in every sense of the word without getting too experimental or innovative. There are little bits and pieces in between each song, sound effects, some haunting organ etc and these serve as nice bridges between the cuts. The lyrics are about Witches, the Inquisition and so forth…a topic that has been covered by dozens of bands but Crystal Viper do it well and the whole album has a darker mood.
Vocalist Marta still has a potent delivery with an excellent mix of highs and gruffer sounds. Check out her pair of screams around the 2:45 to 3:00 minute mark of ‘Witches Mark’. I admit I thought it was cooler when she called herself Leather Wych. David of the band Hell contributes guest vocals on the title track but in all honesty when I heard the guest vocals I thought it was Blackie Lawless before I knew who it really was! He does a fine job.
I’m pleased to say that Crystal Viper have remained true to the basic sound and principles of Metal. CRIMEN EXCEPTA is another fine record that will appeal to pretty much all fans of traditional Metal.