Crystal Viper - Crimen Excepta

Crystal Viper - Crimen Excepta

(CD/LP, AFM Records, 2012)

In my eyes, CRYSTAL VIPER have so far ended up being the extreme/obscure-sound outfit for commercial Euro Power Metal younger followers while at the same time stands as the mainstream piece to the ears of more true/underground European epic Metal warriors. I do not know if the Polish quartet originally had such intension or if – furthermore – the female vocals add to such a draft verdict. And who should wonder, anyway… With their new “Crimen Excepta” studio albums ready to hit the streets in April 2012, the Heavy/Power Metal band presents its fourth full release with a string of further EPs and singles summing it up to nearly a decade of vivid and on-developing career.

Well, “Crimen Excepta” shows some signs of difference for the band from Poland. Their style has in general remained the same, with heroic vocals from Marta Gabriel plus a good doze of epic-meets-power Metal with enough reference to the American (OMEN, CHASTAIN) or German/Swedish (RUNNING WILD) vintage ideals; still, there’s a darker approach this time in the songs’ aura that transits some more dark/goth atmosphere they way e.g. bands like STORMWITCH did it in the 80s. The songs omit speed (not that this was the strong point of this band anyway) and mostly focus on the up-tempo growth of riffs and leads themes to tie with the witch-like timbre of Marta in this CD.

The IRON MAIDEN style of the songs’ basis is again obvious but stays smartly away of any copycat accusations. I think CRYSTAL VIPER consciously had something like this in mind while rehearsing for this new album; the structures seem to be well-worked and multi-developed, something that adds interest to the auditions even if envying some more straightforward behavior. It is important, thus, to mention that you won’t be able to have a good picture with one or two listening sessions only. Let the album grow inside you and if possible have the lyrics accompanying the songs listed since I bet there are some attention-grabbing stories unveiled in between (the holy Inquisition, black magic and witches stuff, as said in a fresh Press sheet). Not to forget, the production and mix of the CD does justice to the crossover image of CRYSTAL VIPER naively prologued by the reviewer in the introductory paragraph.

The crusade for traditional Metal the Polish way goes on in “Crimen Excepta” and both underground and mainstream Metal fans are to be invited to join: choose your path but try before you buy – and think for yourselves if e.g. really the band tries to gradually walk on the ‘HAMMERFALL wannabe’ lane or not. Not to forget, added facts you should know include: i) “Tyrani Piekiel” is a cover take of fellow countrymen VADER’s song with Piotr “Peter” Wiwczarek as a guest, ii) the vinyl version contains a remake of NWOBHM legends DEMON’s “Night Of The Demon” classic, iii) “Ghosts Of Sherwood” is a song the band recorded for the forthcoming cinema same-titled horror movie.





01. Witch’s Mark
02. Child Of The Flame
03. It’s Your Omen
04. Crimen Excepta
05. Medicus Animarum
06. The Spell Of Death
07. Hope Is Gone, Here’s New Law
08. Fire Be My Gates
09. Tyrani Piekiel (first pressing bonus track)
10. Ghosts Of Sherwood (first pressing bonus track)


Marta Gabriel - Vocals, Guitars
Andy Wave - Guitars
Tom Woryna - Bass
Golem - Drums