Review: Crystal Viper – Queen of the Witches

crystalviperqueencd.jpgWritten by Rainer Kerber

The Polish heavy metal band Crystal Viper was founded in 2003 by singer, guitarist and composer Marta Gabriel. By 2013, the band has released five studio albums and has toured more than 15 countries. Because of health problems of Marta Gabriel, Crystal Viper was put on ice and the future of the band was questionable. The singer would ultimately overcome her illness and the musicians now celebrate their comeback with the sixth album – Queen of the Witches.

Crystal Viper makes it clear that they’re back and stronger than ever with ‘The Witch Is Back’, the quasi-title song of the album. After a sharp, high-pitched scream, the tempo is pushed to the pace. Marta sings in the Rob Halford tradition while the double-bass attacks just pop out of the boxes. One track in and the album has much more to offer.

The epic hymn ‘When the Sun Goes Down’ reminds of early Manowar with its guitar riffs and an excellent singing performance. Whether you like Manowar or not, you just have to head bang along. For me the probably best song of the album. Speaking of Manowar, the anthem, ‘Do Or Die,’ features their founding member Ross The Boss on guitar.

Rocking along steadily, the speed kicks up with the firecracker ‘Flames And Blood’ featuring Venom guitarist Jeffrey “Mantas” Dunn behind the axe. But on Queen Of The Witches there are also emotional moments. ‘Trapped Behind’ is a quiet piano ballad and invites you to dream. Marta’s voice sounds quiet and temporarily vulnerable. In the power ballad ‘We Will Make It Last Forever,’ she sings in duet with Steve Bettney of Saracen.

Even if the New Year is only a few months old, I dare to say that Queen of The Witches is THE comeback of the year. Marta Gabriel and her bandmates are here to overtake the top ranks. The album has everything what makes the heart of metalheads beat faster such as epic anthems, speedy firecrackers and great sentimental ballads. This is an addictive album and ran with me for weeks in heavy rotation. 10/10



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