Crystal Viper - Possession

Crystal Viper - Possession

(CD, AFM Records, 2013)

It is beyond the shadow of a doubt that CRYSTAL VIPER is a hard working band with an almost constant album release rate of one per two years. Add to this, the many live performances and you’ll agree with me. So, something less than two years after “Crimen Excepta”, Marta Gabriel and her band are back with the concept album “Possession”. According to the press release, this is a movie-like story having a nice twist in the end but I am not going to deal with this, simply because the music is awesome.

Many times I had crossed paths with CRYSTAL VIPER and in fact, I have watched the band live in one of the previous editions of ‘Keep It True’ festival but for some reason I haven’t really checked its discography. So, “Possession” seemed like a good opportunity and in the end it turned to be a must-have album considering that is also available on vinyl. After having done my homework, I feel obliged to say that “Possession” is the best CRYSTAL VIPER album so far. Regardless of the rather cliché concept, the music has more to offer than the traditional Heavy Metal label implies. This means that the album does not only serve nice guitar hooks and some sing-along melodies; the songs sound diverse and most importantly have such a distinct character that you will remember which song you want to replay after the maiden listening has ended. The curtain is lifted as the super-addicted guitar lead of “Voices In My Head” will make you crank the volume up and join Marta during the I-want-to-sing-along chorus. Of course, this is all about traditional Heavy Meal with a couple of IRON MAIDEN-inspired double guitar harmonies that are topped-off by the killer high-hat action and the bass lines that wrapped by a natural sounding production. Because, if this kind of music was digitally processed and compressed following the nowadays standards, then the result would have been totally different and... indifferent. “Julia Is Possessed” sounds epic with the fist-pumping main riff and the fat rhythm section that fits perfectly Marta’s anthemic vocal melodies. But this one has a nice twist that I think follows the being-possessed­ concept with DESASTER’s Sataniac taking care of the evil growling. The last but definitely not least guest appearance belongs to Harry Conklin who is lending his trademark and high-pitched singing in the heavy (especially during the mid-tempo parts) and once again epic “Fight Evil With Evil” and allow me to invite you to enjoy the awesome faster break before the guitar solo; great stuff.

What managed to capture my interested and made me look for the vinyl format of the album is the RUNNING WILD-influenced guitar riffs; ok, some will say it’s all about IRON MAIDEN but I did manage to see a Rock 'N Rolf shadow during “We Are Many”, especially during the solo and I really felt my Adrian tattoo itching. “Prophet Of The End” comes to put an end to this story with heavy and mid-tempo rhythm and I am sure many old-timers out there might think of the prime Doom Metal (this is also now called traditional) but in any case it just proves the album’s diversity and high quality. Following an unofficial tradition, the album has a bonus track that for the CD version is a cover on RIOT’s “Thundersteel”, so this is the time to tip your hat to Marta Gabriel for nailing the vocals with stainless steel bolts. I am sure the band will get tons of requests to include this one in an encore and I could not agree more. This is the best way to end such a great album.

I think I already said too much about “Possession”, so now I can spend some time tracking every CRYSTAL VIPER album and more attention than I did in the past. Based on my prior superficial relation with this band, I consider this album as one of the surprises of 2013.





01. Zeta Reticuli
02. Voices In My Head
03. Julia Is Possessed
04. Fight Evil With Evil
05. Mark Of The Horned One
06. Why Can't You Listen?
07. You Will Die You Will Burn
08. We Are Many
09. Prophet Of The End


Marta Gabriel - Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards
Andy Wave - Guitars
Michal Badocha - Bass
Golem - Drums