QUEEN OF THE WITCHES
8 OUT OF 10
Running time: 43:23
Review by Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King
I think Rick, my partner at Ever Metal, knows my taste in metal better than I do, as yet again, he has sorted me out a band from one of my favourite genres……. power metal! Ok, not just a power metal band, these guys (and gal) could also be considered classic heavy metal too, but Rick knew that the band, Crystal Viper, would suit me right down to the ground. But just how right was he in his choice?
Well, as much as I would like to say HE WAS WRONG, he, in fact, was very much on the button (again!) and I absolutely loved the album.
Founded in Poland (the only other Polish bands I have heard of being Behemoth, Vader and Decapitated) in 2003 by singer, guitarist and composer Marta Gabriel, they have released five studio albums, seven singles and have toured in over 15 countries, making them one of the most hardworking and determined bands of their generation.
However, in 2013, Marta had to cease activity due to ill health and the future of the band seemed in jeopardy. But, Marta had a strength to keep the band alive and 2017 saw them making their comeback with “Queen of the Witches”, an album on which they are sounding stronger, heavier and louder than ever.
“Queen of the Witches” is sort of concept album that tells the story of witches and true evil and includes all the elements that fans of the genre look for. There are great melodies, impressive vocal lines, classic sounding riffs and harmonies, catchy refrains and pounding drums…. what more could you want? Oh, and tracks range from headbanging anthems, to speed metal monsters and classic power ballads! This album is consistent power/classic heavy metal reminiscent of Iron Maiden or Helloween.
And in true Crystal Viper style they pay tribute to the 80’s/90’s metal they are so obviously influenced by. Some people think trying to sound like a band from a bygone era when you weren’t part of that bygone era to start with is a bad thing, almost like the band are digging up the past! Personally, I think it’s a good thing. Many people long for the music of their youth and if there is a new band playing it, then all the better!
Another tradition of Crystal Viper is inviting guest musicians to take part on their album and this one is no different. Manowar co-founder and guitarist Ross the Boss appears on the anthemic “Do or Die”, Mantas of Venom slays a shredding guitar solo on the speed metal monster “Flames and Blood” while power ballad “We Will Make It Last Forever” features the vocal talents of Steve Bettney from NWOBHM cult heroes Saracen.
And there is also a gem at the end of the album but whether you get the cd version or the vinyl version depends on which track you get. The cd has a great cover of “See You in Hell” originally recorded by Grim Reaper while the vinyl version has a cover of Exciter’s “Long Live the Loud.” I had the cd version so haven’t heard their version of “Long Life the Loud” but if their take on “See You in Hell” is anything to go by, it should be a stonker.
The album opens with the track “The Witch is Back”, a metaphor for Marta and her band’s strong comeback?? Who knows but it starts with a blood curdling scream before the guitars kick in with riff after heavy riff. And finishing with the Grim Reaper cover wraps the album up nicely.
I personally hadn’t heard anything else that Crystal Viper had previously done but if this is their comeback album I would love to hear what else they have done. This is a strong, solid album and all music and lyrics have been written by Marta, who is also a successful clothes designer making stage clothes for the likes of Sabaton, Vader, Wolf and even Samantha Fox under her label Thunderball Clothing and a respected session musician, having played with Manilla Road, Vader, Sabaton and Majesty and now completes the live line up of Jack Starr’s Burning Starr! Wow, what a woman!!
If you want a good, classic heavy metal / power metal album then this is for you. It probably won’t sway the power metal haters but then which power metal band can?
I am going to head on over to YouTube now and check out some older stuff this band have done, you should go order this album……. well go on then!!!
- 1. The Witch Is Back
- 2. I Fear No Evil
- 3. When the Sun Goes Down
- 4. Trapped Behind
- 5. Do or Die
- 6. Burn My Fire Burn
- 7. Flames and Blood
- 8. We Will Make It Last Forever
- 9. Rise of the Witch Queen
- 10. See You in Hell (CD Bonus Track)
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to do adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities