Crystal Viper – Tales Of Fire And Ice
Album Review By Rainer Kerber
In the press release you can read the following:
While the band is often labeled as an NWOTHM act (new wave of traditional heavy metal), their new album, ‘Tales Of Fire And Ice’, presents a bit different approach. New songs are heavier, more intense, but first of all: more melodic. Can we talk about dark power metal? Probably yes!
The singer and guitarist Marta Gabriel seems to be in a hurry. After a long break, the sixth album “Queen Of The Witches” was released in 2017. Just one year later, the EP “At The Edge Of Time” was released. In November follows album number seven, titled “Tales Of Fire And Ice”. Of course, that makes you curious. How do the Poles master this style change? “Tales Of Fire And Ice” was once again produced by husband Bart Gabriel. The cover is from an “old” acquaintance of mine, the Belgian photographer Tim Tronckoe. The album title itself already says a lot about the content of the album. There are stories told. Stories about legends, myths and secrets. Of course, I had to listen to this album with so much praise.
The intro is called “Prelude”. Rain, thunderstorms and shortly thereafter clean guitars. The melody develops and consistently leads to the first song “Still Alive”. And here lay the Poles go with brute force. Reef thunderstorms accompany the powerful vocals of Marta Gabriel. But it goes even faster. “Crystal Sphere” is high-speed metal. The singer is driven by her rhythm fraction to peak performance. Crystal Viper continue to make no prisoners. Whether “Bright Lights”, “Under Ice” or especially the double bang “One Question” / “Tomorrow Never Comes (Dyaltov Pass)”, the band is almost full throttle. In between, however, sometimes a gear is switched back. So the hymn “Neverending Fire” goes back to the sound of previous albums. And the short piano interlude “Interlude” sounds very contemplative. After so much sweaty power, a bundle of energy like Marta Gabriel needs some rest. At the end the beautiful ballad “Tears Of Arizona” comes just right. And for connoisseurs, there is a hymnic bonus on the CD. The Dokken cover “Dream Warriors” is outstanding.
Shortly before the end of the year, Crystal Viper make an impressive return and present a terrific Metal album. A candidate for the title “Album of the Year”, even though it cannot quite keep up with the predecessor. The musicians prove their versatility. “Tales Of Fire And Ice” is certainly one of the hardest releases of their career. Back to the question in the press release. Yeah, that’s an archetypal Power Metal. But dark? In my opinion rather not. I’m looking forward to the live presentation at the Heathen Rock Festival in Hamburg next February.
CRYSTAL VIPER – Still Alive: https://youtu.be/00IoqYoaoDs
Marta Gabriel – Vocals, Guitars
Andy Wave – Guitars
Eric Juris – Guitars
Blaze J. Grygiel – Bass
Tomek Danczak – Drums
Label: AFM Records
Out: November 22nd, 2019
Playing time: 42:04
- Still Alive
- Crystal Sphere
- Bright Lights
- Neverending Fire
- Under Ice
- One Question
- Tomorrow Never Comes (Dyatlov Pass)
- Tears Of Arizona
- Dream Warriors
Rating : 9/10
MHF Magazine/Rainer Kerber