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The Eighth studio album from Polish metallers Crystal Viper follows on in their tradition of strong melodies, soaring vocals, and expert lead guitar work held together with perfect production.
In typical CV tradition, opener Providence is the tranquil instrumental that launches us into the next 11 gloriously sweet power metal tunes. As always, Marta Gabriel leads the way with her striking vocal range; controlled confidently and powered with emotion, she effortlessly moves from gritty snarls to Sirenesque falsettos, which could lure even the deafest of Greek sailors to their watery end.
The song structures offer no surprises, but it’d be strange if they did – intro, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, solo, verse, chorus, err, chorus – and the tempo and key changes are exactly where you’d expect them to be, which has a genuinely reassuring quality.
Sleeping Giants has a jaunty folk metal music vibe, Forgotten Land has enough singalong parts for all the family, and Flaring Madness hits speed metal tempos without missing a note. Asenath Waite starts us off with sweetly plucked chords backed with warming hooks before picking up the usual mid-tempo bop-along and Lost in the Dark starts with an un-dynamic, frantically paced hook that could have been composed by Beethoven if he had access to 8-bit technology.
There are no standout tracks, per se, as they all follow the same formula, though bonus track Welcome Home has a lot more edge and variation to it and is a satisfying departure from the major scale saccharine sweetness of the rest of the album.
To say that Marta uses the music as a vehicle to showcase her voice would be a massive disservice to the rest of the band as if she were to come down with tonsillitis before a gig, they could still draw the crowds with their immaculate musicianship. We’ve heard it all before, especially from Crystal Viper, but this is such an enjoyable record you’d want to hear it again.
Release date: January 29, 2021
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