Crystal Viper - Legends

Crystal Viper takes the spirit of what made older 80s heavy metal great and brings it back to life. Starting up in 2003, the group doesn’t take much to create their sound. With just a singer, guitarist, bassist, and drummer, the sound may seem minimalistic, but that many people can create a lot of noise. Crystal Viper mostly sounds like Iron Maiden, Halestorm, Sister Sin, or a more hard-rocking Nightwish. Even though the group is lead by a female vocalist, she has one of those gritty rough voices that could easily pass as a guy singing power metal. Much of the music is melodic, but also on the other hand slightly generic due to a lot of the songs sounding the same. The thing that really keeps Crystal Viper going is their lyrics, which invoke fantastic images about the mystical world that ranges from Death to undead legions marching upon unsuspecting victims… the stuff of fantasy nightmares. Their latest album, ’Legends,’ continues in that lyrical tradition, but the music still doesn’t have much variation. (Some might have even heard a preview of 'Legends' from a few tracks off their live album 'Defenders... Live In Germany).

Starting with the short introduction of spoken lore, the music picks up with “Ghost Ship.” A lot of this is much like speed metal with the buzzing guitars that chug along while broken up every once in a while by solos. The drumming is extremely quick paced and also seems to chug at time to match the guitars. Vocally, the group is solid, sometimes layering operatic sounding male clean vocals with the female vocals, but they stay strong the entire way through and in the front of the music. The bass unfortunately gets a bit lost in everything, especially when it comes to full blazing tracks such as “Greed Is Blind” or “Night Of The Sin.” Tracks like these are purely guitar focused and bring a lot of melody, but also don’t leave much other room for the other instruments to show off.  Out of all the tracks on the album, the only real one that is distinguishable is “Sydonia Book,” which is the album’s ballad. Slow, soft, and piano driven, it is VERY different than all the others in musical style. The vocals can be heard clear as day with no distraction, even though there is some guitar involved, and the soft, charming tones fits the theme of the Crystal Viper's music perfectly, particularly because it is so haunting.

Overall, the album is mostly meant to appeal for those who enjoy fantasy metal or older hard rock oriented metal. Those who are seeking music that is more dynamic along the lines of symphonic metal or progressive metal will probably be disappointed; this is down and dirty heavy metal in the vein of Judas Priest's era. The quality of sound is more modern, but the music screams 80s. However, don’t let the grit and crunch of this old school feel pull you away from checking this album out… the story is well worth the listen. Just try not to get tired out from hearing the same style of music over and over again.

originally written from ROD

  1. The Truth
  2. Ghost Ship
  3. Blood Of The Heroes
  4. The Greed Is Blind
  5. Sydonia Bork
  6. Goddess Of Death
  7. Night Of The Sin
  8. Secrets Of The Black Water
  9. Man Of Stone
  10. Black Leviathan
  11. TV War (Accept Cover)

AFM Records
Reviewer: Colin McNamara
Jan 26, 2011

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