Judging by 99% of this web site's content, there's heaps of power metal to go around these days. But only precious few of these bands feature that rare asset: a tough female on vocals. Or should it be 'tough female vocals'? Vocals from a tough female, perhaps?Ugh.
Never mind, that. Any-hoo, Crystal Viper are a seasoned musical unit hailing from Poland, a country that has always been conquered (Russia, Germany, etc.) or did the conquering itself (hello Russia?). Rather appropriately, Crystal Viper's music comes bedecked in martial tunes armed with slick guitar play that would make many-a a neoclassical shred guitarist blink. No joking this time around, serious virtuoso pyrotechnics are on display from axeman Andy Wave, who likes dropping them intricate solos smack dab in the middle of each roaring tune.
With the melodies and song structures done in the mold of your favorite Gamma Ray or Hammer Fall, Crystal Viper stand out with their unbridled passion for the steel. The vocals from Marta Gabriel, who co-founded the band together with her husband Bart Gabriel a couple of years ago, bear a striking resemblance to Doro Pesch. In fact, one is likely to confuse this with Doro without the benefit of seeing the cover art or knowing who's fronting the band.
As for the music itself, matters begin in grand fashion with the cheesy intro Breaking The Curse before the true m-e-t-a-l charges to battle for the title track Metal Nation. If you aren't compelled to wave your fists in the air and do the Manowar salute this early, then the album's a lost cause, as it's rife with such musical fare. For those infected by Crystal Viper's mighty choruses and slaying hooks however, pleasure abounds elsewhere on the album. Just try the upbeat Bringer of Light, the rollicking Zombie Lust, and the breakneck pace of album closer Agents of Steel.
There's a power ballad here too that's best avoided. Except for this sentimental blemish and a well worn cliche or three, Crystal Viper take no prisoners, which is quite a compliment in this age of effeminate 'symphonic' groups vying for Nightwish's crown.
In summation: Skeleton warriors on the cover, Xena Warrior Princess doing vocals, and a power metal atom bomb that'll blow your speakers through the roof. You can't go wrong with the Viper.
Skeleton warriors on the cover, Xena Warrior Princess doing vocals, and a power metal atom bomb that'll blow your speakers through the roof. You can't go wrong with the Viper.
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