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Crystal Viper - 'Queen Of The Witches' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/45/76/a6/crystal-viper-queen-of-the-witches-25-1497037082.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     June 09, 2017    
 
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An enjoyable collection of songs that draws on those early Metal influences, dragging them kicking and screaming into the 21st century.

Crystal Viper are a band that have never crossed my path before for some reason, yet they've been around for over a decade with five studio albums to their name prior to this release of 'Queen Of The Witches'.

'......Witches' is one impressive way to kick off their first album in four years, coming across with the power of a force ten hurricane, blending 'Painkiller'-era Judas Priest with 'Hell Destroyer' by The Cage. Huge face-pummelling riffs combined with ferocious double-bass drumming, topped off by the soaring vocals of Marta Gabriel is a lethal cocktail, creating one of the finest slices of Power Metal you'll hear all year. Gabriel's voice is perfect, combining the rasping edge of Jody Turner from Rock Goddess with a powerful, clear and melodic upper register. She's certainly got what it takes to stand shoulder to shoulder with her male compatriots.

There's a real NWOBHM feel to the album, from the early Iron Maiden-inspired 'I Fear No Evil' with its galloping riff and tight harmony guitars from Gabriel and Andy Wave, to the brooding 'When The Sun Goes Down', where Gabriel's voice soars and roars. The beautiful 'Trapped Behind' sees Gabriel backed only by her piano, bringing in some real class and variety to the album, yet also showing off another side to her hugely impressive voice. Where do you go after that?

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How about bringing in the mighty Ross The Boss from The Dictators/Manowar fame for a romp through 'Do Or Die', replete with Manowar-esque gang vocals, while 'Flames And Blood' features a screaming solo from former Venom man Jeffrey "Mantas" Dunn. 'Burn My Fire Burn' keeps up the pace, lulling the listener into a false sense of security, before another left turn with 'We Will Make It Last Forever', a dramatic ballad featuring Gabriel in a duet with Saracen's Steve Bettney. 'Rise Of The Witch Queen' and bonus track 'See You In Hell' closes the album in thunderous style.

At a time when Symphonic, Prog, Thrash and a host of other elements have changed the direction of traditional Metal over the years, it's hugely refreshing to hear an album that harks back to those simpler times and delivers such an enjoyable collection of songs that draws on those early Metal influences, dragging them kicking and screaming into the 21st century.

Mick Burgess

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