Crystal Viper

Legends

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    9
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Crystal Viper is a traditional metal band from Katowice, Poland, fronted by Marta "Leather Wych" Gabriel, who's also the band's rhythm guitarist, something no other female vocalist in metal can claim at the moment. Legends is their third studio album, and their fourth release overall (they also put out a live album, with a few studio tracks tacked on, in 2010). They've been through more than their share of lineup turnover since forming in 2003; Gabriel is the only constant member. Regardless, Legends is a really good album. Like its two predecessors, the album runs just about 45 minutes and includes nine songs and a short intro. All the songs are melodic and catchy, with no drippy ballads to slow down the action. The band gallops forward, playing riffs that combine Iron Maiden with traditional folk melodies (without making a thing of it, there's not an acoustic instrument to be heard on Legends, save the drums). Gabriel, whose voice is clean and powerful, closer to Doro Pesch than Arch Enemy's Angela Gossow (though she can get gravelly when she wants to, for emphasis, she never dips into death metal growling), sings of larger-than-life topics typical to classic metal; though her actual words are often obscured by a thickish accent, track titles like "Blood of the Heroes," "Goddess of Death," "Night of the Sin," "The Ghost Ship," "Secret of the Black Water," and "Black Leviathan" seem pretty self-explanatory. The guitar solos are performed with energy and skill. The bass is prominent in the mix (particularly noticeable on "Greed Is Blind" ) and somewhat high, in imitation of Iron Maiden's Steve Harris. This album will make tradition-minded metalheads extremely happy.

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