Album Reviews

Crystal Viper – Possession Review

crystalviper_cover

Released By: AFM Records

Release Date: January 21, 2014

Genre: Heavy Metal/Power Metal

Links: http://www.crystalviper.com/

 

Line Up;

Marta Gabriel – Vocals, Guitar

Andy Wave – Guitar

Michal Badocha – Bass

Tomasz ‘Golem’ Danczak – Drums

 

Tracklist:

1. Zeta Reticuli

2. Voices In My Head

3. Julia Is Possessed

4. Fight Evil With Evil

5. Mark Of The Horned One

6. Why Can’t You Listen?

7. You Will Die You Will Burn

8. We Are Many

9. Prophet Of The End

10. Thundersteel (RIOT Cover Song – CD Bonus Track)

 

Until recently, I had enjoyed every album I’d heard by Polish metal band Crystal Viper, but none of them had quite managed to reach what I consider great status, mostly because I tended to lose interest somewhere along the way. With their fifth studio album Possession, they have finally made an album that has kept me entertained the whole way through, and while it’s not the most inventive album in the world, it’s certainly a great traditional heavy metal and power metal album with an even stronger 80’s feel that most of their previous releases.

Lyrically it continues their ongoing trend of getting darker with each album, and having some classic horror themes, this time taking the form of a concept album about a young girl possessed by a demon, though the story has some pretty nice twists. This obviously gives the album a dark tone, but musically I find it’s a little bit lighter, at least compared to Crimen Excepta, and the cheery sounding choruses and epic melodies are as present as ever. In fact, while it maintains their usual classic metal sound, I would say this is by far their most melodic album I’ve ever heard, with songs like “Why Can’t You Listen” and “Prophet Of The End” surprising me with just how epic they are, especially the latter, which features choir vocals from 50 fans who the band invited to help record the song.

Of course, these fans weren’t the only people invited to help with the album, as “Julia Is Possessed” has some very good backing harsh vocals from Desaster vocalist Sataniac, while the outstanding single “Fight Evil With Evil” features Jag Panzer singer Harry Conklin, though personally I find his vocals a bit irritating, as has always been the case. Lead singer Marta Gabriel (who also happens to be a multi-instrumentalist, and the band’s songwriter) sounds as great as always, with a voice that would have been a perfect fit for an 80’s heavy metal band, though she can certainly soften up and sing calmly, as shown especially on the “Prophet Of The End”. For the most part, though, she is as animated as ever, and while I personally enjoy her vocals on every song, I could see some people finding her to be a bit too over the top at points, especially on the opening track “Voices In My Head”.

Stylistically Possession is very much in line with what fans should expect from a Crystal Viper album, and the sound production is perhaps even more raw than normal, certainly compared to any other band I’ve heard from AFM’s roster. This isn’t a complaint though, as it fits great with their clear desire to keep waving the traditional metal flag.

Perhaps a bit differently from most albums of this kind, it can almost be split in half, with the first half being almost entirely speedy power metal, with all the riffs and high energy level that you’d expect, while the second half is much slower and is surprisingly calm and melodic for the most part. At first I was disappointed by the second half, but the more I listen to the album the more impressed I am, and if anything songs like “Why Can’t You Listen”, “We Are Many” and “Prophet Of The End” are probably my favorites on the album, with the last of those for sure being my favorite song I’ve ever heard by them. First half highlights include ‘Fight Evil With Evil”, which starts out heavy and slow, but picks up speed and becomes one of their catchiest songs ever as it goes along, and the speedy “Julia Is Possessed”, which has an amazing chorus.

Fans of classic sounding heavy metal and power metal are highly recommended to pick up Possession, as it’s a great album with the right mix of raw intensity and epic melodies, and it’s the first Crystal Viper album that has impressed me from start to finish.

 

Written by Travis

Ratings    Travis    8/10

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