Released: 2010, AFM
I’m blown away that none of us (as of Feb 2011) have reviewed a Crystal Viper album. Well, I’m proud and pleased to be the first to introduce some of you readers to this excellent band. Actually that sounds for more egotistical than it should, for you gentle reader, probably all own all the Crystal Viper albums, and we at Metal-Rules have just dropped the ball but not giving this great band their due. I can fix that.
Since it’s the first review of the band on this site a very brief history lesson. Polish band, quartet, formed in 2003, female singer, 3 albums and some bits and pieces, (a bit of an odd discography actually) and true metal. That about sums it up! Actually that’s kinda selling the band short, they have been taking off since the debut in 2007 and have good praise and press around the world.
LEGENDS, despite being a bit of an uninspired album title, will be the album that brings them a wider degree of international attention. I bought debut (CURSE OF THE CRYSTAL VIPER) sometime back and enjoyed it but it wasn’t earth-shattering. However, time experience, touring and a stronger label and a better production have helped LEGENDS be their tour-de-force.
I don’t really like to dwell on gender as issue because it is unimportant what ‘parts’ a musician has but the reality is that Marta Gabriel is the singer. Some people don’t like female vocals in Metal, most of the rest of don’t care. Her voice is a classic metal voice. She doesn’t sing in a classical, soprano style, nor is she a Doro clone but more of a natural female voice with range and power. I think maybe of Lee Aaron and Leather Leone as possible reference points for the actual ‘sound’ of her voice. Her delivery is solid, clear, powerful holding notes and a hint of gruffness as well. Hers is an excellent performance.
The rest of the band, are no slouches either. The boys in the band back her up and all of them have written and recorded a really solid, classic Metal album. It’s very traditional, no tricks, no modern influences, no industrial stuff, no neo-classical warblings, just meat and potatoes Metal. Bands like Crystal Viper live and die on the strength of performance and song-writing. It is a truly crowded and competitive genre and for a new young band to compete with veteran bands like Hammerfall or Jag Panzer (let alone Manowar or Iron Maiden) is an uphill climb. I think the band has what it takes and LEGENDS is a really fun, entertaining album. There is lots here to hold your attention like the awesome gang vocals chorus of the song ‘Night Of The Sin’, the ripping solos all over the place or even the cover of Accept’s ‘TV War’ (nice choice, nice version), all these compoents add to the album.
The lyrics are squarely in the metal camps songs of adventures, heroes and topics that have been done admittedly a thousand times before. However, I prefer escapist lyrics and a story well-told, than so called ‘political lyrics’ which in reality is often some dude whining about American foreign policy. I’ll take ‘Ghost Ship’ and ‘Blood Of The Heroes’ anyday.
Your enjoyment of LEGENDS may correspond to your tolerance for originality. Some value originality very highly, and if you are one of those ‘heard it all before’ people, no problem, look elsewhere. If you are like me and enjoy a well executed, true-to-form metal album with enthusiasm and passion that keeps the true metal flame burning bright, then Crystal Viper is the band for you!