Latest updates:

We hope you enjoy your visit here. Please join or login if you have joined before.

MT @ Facebook

Not logged in

Users online

25 guests

Welcome to our newest member, willtravers

Crystal Viper – Tales of Fire and Ice Award winner

Crystal Viper
Tales of Fire and Ice
by Rachel Montgomery at 11 December 2019, 11:07 PM

CRYSTAL VIPER is a band formed in Poland by lead singer Marta Gabriel. Releasing their sixth album, the band has been described as New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal (NWTHM), but this album brings an extra element: Symphonic Metal. However, instead of full, orchestral melodies and harmonies, the band incorporates symphonic elements as a flavor to their traditional Metal stylings, creating a fast-past, uncomplicated set of songs to get you pumped.

The album begins with an intro track and a full track highlighting the band’s style. “Prelude” starts out with heavy rain and a guitar melody throughout. It sounds acoustic in the beginning, but then it’s joined by a long, high-pitched electric guitar. I’m not sure what to expect; will it be Doom, traditional or something else?

Still Alive” answers that question. It begins with a fast, melodic riff with a symphonic tone. The tone really kicks in when the vocals start, and especially with the orchestral keyboards in the chorus. The solo is especially symphony-heavy, but with artificial-sounding synthesizers rather than an orchestral sound. It’s a solid song and sets the tone for the rest of the songs on the album.

Consistently, the album is a fast blend of traditional and Symphonic Metal. The instrumentation is more like a conventional lineup of guitars, bass, drums, and vocals. The speed and intense techniques from the customary instruments give the songs an intense, Speed Metal edge. However, with the symphonics used, there’s a distinct Power Metal flavor throughout the song.

The best example of their typical song structure is “Bright Light.” The drums come in with a traditional beat, then a high-pitched, fast guitar solo creates an uplifting effect. When the vocals come in, I can hear synthesizers. In the chorus, the symphonics punch up and the melody slows to a soaring tune over fast instrumentals. There’s a short instrumental break between the chorus and the second verse which utilizes the symphonics beautifully, specifically due to the harmonizing between the symphonics and the guitars.

Also noteworthy are the interludes, both “Prelude” and “Interlude.” The latter track serves to break up the fast, hard-hitting songs without having to rely on slow ballads, and it’s done incredibly well. The ambiance, plus the tinkling piano notes thematically fit with the album’s concept and sound hauntingly beautiful amid heavier, more intense tracks.

From this track, we’re right back into the same formula. The next song doesn’t clearly slip into the next one. However, the guitar solo and the final, symphonic-fueled chorus make this song. The verses may be typical, sounding similar to the rest of the album, but the intense and varied sweeps through the solo in “Under Ice” make this song a standout.

There are also some misses in the second part of the album. The vocal start in “Tomorrow” sounds a little forced. However, the chanting elements in the chorus make this song stand out from the rest of the pack and it’s overall a good song.

The record’s only slow song is an unsurprising highlight, considering the beauty of the slower “Prelude” and “Interlude.” I wish the vocals were a little more prominent, but that’s my one complaint. The song fits thematically with the musical intermission. The melody is sweet and uplifting. However, I would switch this track with the previous one, since the next track is also slower.

The closing track is a cover of “Dream Warriors” by DOKKEN, and it begins with slow guitar chords. It’s not a slow song, but the melody is softer with less pronounced drums through the verses. The vocal technique is the best on the album, featuring clear vocals and soaring melodies that fit the singer’s range well. Throughout the album, the guitar solos have been on-point with a wonderful tone and great musical technique. This song is no exception, and it makes for a great cover.

Overall, the album combines heavy, traditional elements of Metal with symphonic beauty for a nice treat for the ears. If you’re looking for Power Metal that isn’t too orchestral, but has the same thematic flavorings of Symphonic Metal, this is for you.

Songwriting: 9
Production: 9
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Prelude
2. Still Alive
3. Crystal Sphere
4. Bright Lights
5. Neverending Fire
6. Interlude
7. Under Ice
8. One Question
9. Tomorrow Never Comes (Dyatlov Pass)
10. Tears of Arizona
11. Dream Warriors (DOKKEN cover)
Marta Gabriel – Vocals & Guitars
Andy Wave – Guitars
Eric Juris – Guitars
Blaze J. Grygiel – Bass
Tomasz Dańczak – Drums
Record Label: AFM Records


You do not have permission to rate

Metal Temple © 2000-2014
Yiannis Mitsakos

Designed, Implemented and Hosted by PC Green