Reviewed: January 2021
Released: January 2021, Listenable Records
Reviewer: Buddy H
What a great holiday season! I was treated with a trio of albums to review from bands I’m not very familiar with. With the latest release from Crystal Viper queued up and ready to go, my mission begins…
When listening to bands who are new to me, I adhere to one strict rule: no research into the band or their discography until I have listened to the album at least three times. I know, that sounds a little strange to some. I just don’t want any information to plant even the slightest bit of preconceived notion in my head. As I studied the album artwork for THE CULT, I had a fairly good idea of what I was about to experience. And, I wasn’t too far off! This is 100% pure adrenaline driven power metal at its core with a few pleasant surprises thrown in! The vocals are delivered with emotion, power and conviction and fit this style of music perfectly. The drums and bass lay the fist pumping foundation for the guitars to navigate these acrobatic compositions. For the guitar solo enthusiast, there is truly scorching lead work throughout the entire album!
After a brief instrumental introduction, the doors get kicked in with the title track, “The Cult”. The galloping guitars and double kick drums burst through the speakers and I know instantly that this is going to be an incredibly fun listening experience! Twin guitar melody lines set the stage for a superb album opener that stylistically lies somewhere between Sinergy and Firewind. The unexpected mid-tempo gem, “Whispers from Beyond”, follows with a tasty little Sabbathy styled opening riff. The song flows comfortably and melodically along with twin guitar line harmonies finally ending in a massive but short Iommi inspired solo. The up-tempo fireworks resume as “Down In The Crypt” erupts with sheer head banging fury. The album ends with an outstanding cover of King Diamond’s “Welcome Home”, complete with King’s trademark falsetto vocals and Andy LaRocque on guitar!
With soaring vocals, a pounding rhythm section and amazingly dexterous lead guitar work, this album has everything to offer the power metal fanatic. THE CULT is not groundbreaking or trailblazing by any means. But it’s not generic and stereotypical power metal that you’ve heard a million times either. The songs are carefully crafted vehicles used to carry you on a long, fast thrill ride of pure listening pleasure! Pick this up immediately and experience a breathtaking escape for a little while!
2. The Cult
3. Whispers from Beyond
4. Down in the Crypt
5. Sleeping Giants
6. Forgotten Land
7. Asenath Waite
8. The Calling
9. Flaring Madness
10. Lost in the Dark
11. Trial By Fire (LP Bonus)
12. Welcome Home (CD Bonus)
Marta Gabriel – Lead Vocals, Guitar
Eric Juris – Lead and Rhythm Guitar
Andy Wave – Lead and Rhythm Guitar
Blaze Grygiel – Bass
Cederick Forsberg – Drums