Crystal Viper is a female fronted traditional heavy metal act from Poland, founded in 2003 and led by the singer and guitarist Marta Gabriel.
After doing 3 full length studio albums, several single and EP releases, appearing on a bunch of compilations, after touring in most of the European countries, and showing up on many European festivals. The band quickly managed to establish their position in the underground. Due to Marta’s charismatic voice and stage presence, the band was often placed in one line with acts such as Warlock, while melodic, fast songs brought comparisons to acts such as Running Wild and Accept.
Opening track the “Witch’s Mark” opens up with a flurry of nwobhm era drum beats, stunning guitar work, mixed with otherworldly vocals which sets the scene for the rest of the album.
Highlights from the album include:
“It’s Your Omen” ~ is as catchy as hell with its helter-skelter ride of nwothm greatness;
“Crimen Excepta” has David Bower of Hell fame guesting on it adding an extra dimension to the track.
“Medicus Animarum” is a very deceptive song with its slowed down pace which gradually becomes an anthem. Hitting the types of chords and vocal ranges that you would normally associate with the late, great Ronnie James Dio and really acts as a machine to demonstrate Marta Gabriel’s amazing and unique vocal range.
“The Spell Of Death” reminds me of Iron Maiden’s “Where Eagles Dare” before the unmistakeable vocals kick in and take it to another level.
“Hope Is Gone, Here’s New Law” is a faster, punchier affair and contains lots of German nwobhm influences from bands such as early Accept and The Scorpions.
“Tyrani Piekiel” is a cover of the classic Vader song, and features the unmistakeable talents of Peter from Vader.
“Ghosts Of Sherwood” is taken from the “Robin Hood: Ghosts Of Sherwood” motion picture soundtrack and demonstrates a much “softer” side to Marta Gabriel’s vocals.
Overall you can’t help but wonder if this band had formed at the height of the nwobhm movement how big they would have been. Compressions galore spring to mind with everyone from Angel Witch, Number of the Beast era Maiden through to King Diamond/Merciful Fate and Warlock. I think it’s a safe bet to say that you will be seeing a great deal more of this band in the future.
My only complaint with this album is the soundclips that feature throughout it as they detract from the quality of the music.
Highlight of the cd: “It’s Your Omen”
1. Witch’s Mark;
2. Child Of The Flame;
3. Its Your Omen;
4. Crimen Excepta (feat. David Bower of HELL);
5. Medicus Animarum;
6. The Spell Of Death;
7. Hope Is Gone, Here’s New Law;
8. Fire Be My Gates;
9. Tyrani Piekiel (Vader cover song, feat. Peter of Vader);
10. Ghosts Of Sherwood (from the “Robin Hood: Ghosts Of Sherwood” motion picture soundtrack);
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Marta Gabriel – vocals and guitars;
Andy Wave – guitars;
Tom “Golem” Danczak – drums;
Tom Woryna – bass guitar;