Crystal Viper - Queen Of The Witches

Crystal Viper - Queen Of The Witches

(CD/LP, AFM Records, 2017)

If you are into the classic Heavy Metal or (even better) into the so-called True Metal, then you should have crossed paths with CRYSTAL VIPER. If you haven’t, then you have a completely different idea of what True Metal means... Whatever the case may be, you should know (at least) that this is a female fronted band but not the typical one; meaning, that there is no sweet or opera singing and absolutely no beauty-and-the-beast type of stuff. After all, Marta is a pure Heavy Metal singer with a most fitting pitch for this guitar driven old-school genre, and “Queen Of The Witches” is (another) solid proof of this.

Yeah, the high-pitched Halford-type of scream opening the album will blow away all of your doubts on where CRYSTAL VIPER do stand Metal-wise. The solid rhythm guitars will get you in headbanging mode right away and soon enough you’ll have your fist in the air screaming “I will bring new law” or at least chanting the catchy guitar riff. Ok, this might be borderline cliché but if it makes your Heavy Metal clock tick, then you shouldn’t care what or how it's called. The sound production is crucial in this type of Metal, since it is easy to see good songwriting getting lost behind one of those cookie-cutter and ultra-compressed production where it is impossible to taste the guitars and the bass-driven galloping grooves. And speaking of those fine elements, then prepare yourself to get an early IRON MAIDEN taste with the faster “I Fear No Evil” where CRYSTAL VIPER flirt with NWOBHM recipes and this is said in the most positive way.

True Metal loses its true-iness [sic] when there are no chanting parts, but fear not, because “When The Goes Down” has your back and I am sure you'll also enjoy the SAXON-esque sound in the guitars. In this one, Marta showcases her melodic singing-side without losing an inch of the Metal profile that characterizes her performance everywhere in “Queen Of The Witches”. And you will get more of this with the keyboard/vocals power ballad “Trapped Behind” that comes with a strong epic flavor of the MANOWAR early (and nowadays lost) type. No, mentioning that band name was not done on purpose just before the hard-hittin’ “Do Or Die” where Ross The Boss is doing a lead-guitar playing guest appearance. However, this one is an epic moment and will definitely wake up some memories and I am sure you understand where I am going with this... (yeah, the “do or die” back vocals singing has this effect). The album features two more guest appearances; in the hard-headbanger “Flames And Blood” (love the main riff) there is Mantas (of the VENOM fame) knocking down the guitar solo just after the MAIDEN-esque double riff harmonies. The last (and not least) of the three guest appearances is on the power ballad (bold letters on the word ‘power’) “We Will Make It Last Forever” by SARACEN’s Steve Bettney who paints this one with his unique singing timbre.

“Queen Of The Witches” goes down really well and I don’t think it needs time to grow in you, especially if you are aware of where CRYSTAL VIPER stand music-wise. The music sounds honest with the clear intention to play guitar-driven Heavy Metal which feeds off Marta’s singing power that is kind of rare in this scene nowadays (among the other two ladies I have in mind). There is nothing not to like here and I am sure you will also enjoy the cover on GRIM REAPER’s “See You In Hell” which should draw your attention (and your support) to Steve Grimmett’s most recent health issues. There is no room for doubts - the Witch is back!





01. The Witch Is Back
02. I Fear No Evil
03. When The Sun Goes Down
04. Trapped Behind
05. Do Or Die
06. Burn My Fire Burn
07. Flames And Blood
08. We Will Make It Last Forever
09. Rise Of The Witch Queen
10. See You In Hell (GRIM REAPER cover)


Marta Gabriel - Vocals, Guitar
Blazej Grygiel - Bass
Andy Wave - Guitar
Golem - Drums