Polish female fronted metalers Crystal Viper are back with their third release and are still riding the crest of NWOBHM recent resurgence of popularity. With more than a passing nod at the groups that brought this movement to the forefront like Iron Maiden, Helloween and Accept (Who they cover on this disc) Crystal Viper lays down one galloping ride through the heavy metal wasteland. With the exception of the ballad "Sydonia Bork" this is an album of high energy rock and roll that takes you back to the days when arenas around the world shook from the massive output of both the bands and the fans. Anthem like metal is always a lot of fun and Crystal Viper does it as well as the vast majority out there.
Rhino, best known as the ex drummer of Manowar starts off the disc with a narration that tells you about what you are about to encounter. The disc ends with a powerful cover of Accept's "TV Wars". Sandwiched in between are nine heavy metal tales that are about Polish Legends and folktales which are a part of the country's history. It is a very creative approach and keeps you interested for the whole disc as they spin these yarns with a metal swagger worthy of any of their musical heroes.
With a riff filled disc that will have you head banging in no time, this is a dream disc for those that want a new approach to old school metal. Lead singer Marta Gabriel has a set of pipes that rival any of her male counterparts and also has the added advantage of being able to reach vocal levels that are beyond that of mortal men with her 4 octave range. Her abilities are going to take them a places as long as they keep creating music that is just as engaging. As they prove with this disc it doesn't have to be complicated or even totally original as they do borrow heavily from their predecessors, it just has to be good!
The album starts off with a dose of metal that sounds like it might have come from one of their Scandinavian counterparts as the epic "The Ghost Ship" takes you on a wild romp that has a definite Viking metal taste to it. While they expand their sound here and there, it never strays too far from the territory that is the bands main domicile. Even here there is an undercurrent that makes you think of the groups I have already mentioned. When you reach "Blood Of The Heroes" the old school really kicks in and you find yourself remembering just what made this music such a main part of your life. Even when they slow it down a bit as on the song "Goddess Of Death" the anthem like quality is ever present and on this song the terrific guitar work shines as there is some very tasty solos on this mid tempo tune with a great balance of melody and crunch.
There is even a moment that made me think of the epic grandiose style of Dio when they bring you the tale of "Secret Of The Black Water". The churning guitars and soaring vocals create such vivid imagery of the mystic story they are telling, you are easily transformed into the supernatural world they are depicting.
Heavy metal is alive and well. Here is proof as this disc is simply a great dose of what made this kind of music fun and also thanks to Marta's voice it is also something totally unique. She is a powerhouse and I can see good things coming from this band for years to come.
1. The Truth (intro)
2. The Ghost Ship
3. Blood Of The Heroes
4. Greed Is Blind
5. Sydonia Bork
6. Goddess Of Death
7. Night Of The Sin
8. Secrets Of The Black Water
9. A Man Of Stone
10. Black Leviathan
11. TV War (Accept cover)