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CRYSTAL VIPER-4


CRYSTAL VIPER 

“The Cult”

By Colonel Angus

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I have a soft spot for Polish metal because that is where my ancestry is from so I’m going to give it some extra points.  I’ve reviewed “Legends” and “Crimen Excepta” for this site and I like the band so much that I went ahead and purchased their last three disks; all of which were very good.  I was more than happy to hear that they had a new record coming out and that I would be given the chance to review it.  Their last effort “Tales of Fire and Ice” contained a slightly different sound but it still sounded unmistakably like CRYSTAL VIPER.  For “The Cult”, the band step back into more comfortable territory and give us a metal album that contains their earlier sound but still progressing in the songwriting department.  

The band have crafted a full disk of material that brings together faster power metal, catchy riff heavy traditional metal, and even a couple of cool cover tunes (one on each of the different formats).  The mix of the two different genres of metal really works in the band’s favor as it makes for a varied disk and stays away from sounding one dimensional.  For those of you that like CRYSTAL VIPER’s traditional sound will love the DORO-ish “Whispers From Beyond” and “Forgotten Land”. If you like their power metal tunes, you’ll find that “Down In The Crypt”, “Lost In the Dark” and the title cut will hit the spot.  There is also a welcome slower passage at the beginning of “Asenath Waite” that breaks up the pace and gives us headbangers a little time to recuperate until the track really kicks into high gear.  Even the cover tunes are a nice bonus as they aren’t your usual covers.  Of the two, the KING DIAMOND cover of “Them” track “Welcome Home” wins my vote for best cover in 2021.  Marta Gabriel does her best KING impression with the falsetto vocals and even incorporates his more guttural style to really pay homage to the original.  Andy LaRocque from KING DIAMOND also makes an appearance which gives this cover version even more credibility.  The other cover track is “Trial By Fire” from SATAN’s “Court in the Act” album.  They play it close to the original but give it a nice 2021 production sound whereas the original has a very crowded 1983 mix which was the sound back then.

“The Cult” is another fine slab of metal from a band that deserves more attention.  Gabriel has a powerful voice and she puts on an amazing performance on this record.  Andy Wave and Eric Juris keep churning out catchy riffs and memorable solos while newest addition Cederick Forsberg and Blaze Grygiel hold down the rhythm.  The whole band puts in a performance that sounds fresh and energetic – something you would expect from a new group, not one that has just unleashed their 8th record.  If you are fan and were a little thrown off by their last output, then have no fear, “The Cult” rights that wrong and then some.  I liked “Tales of Fire and Ice” but I have to admit, I like this album a lot more.  It’s the kind of disk that once it is over, you just want to go back to the beginning and spin it again and again.  While I may give Polish metal bands a few extra points because of my heritage, “The Cult” does not need any additional points because it is great all on its own.