Crystal Viper - Crimen Excepta

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Yet more female-fronted classic heavy metal, but let it not be said that Crystal Viper are newcomers to the recent traditional metal revival. Crystal Viper have been toiling away back in Poland for coming up to a decade, and with several albums already out, command a degree of respect amongst old rockers – and why shouldn't they, lead singer/guitarist Marta Gabriel is exactly the kind of singer the genre needs. She's slightly gravelly but not too much, a little bit Bruce Dickinson with a touch of Halford but still feminine, and only soft when she really needs to be. Crimen Excepta is something of a by-the-numbers traditional metal record, though. The Iron Maiden influences are fairly obvious, especially on The Spell Is Death, Hope Is Gone, Here's New Law and It's Your Omen, and there's even some Iced Earth-esque leads on opener Witch's Mark. A guest appearance from David Bower of Hell adds some spice to the mix, and a Vader cover with Piotr Wiwczarek himself is both fast and surprising. However the album feels short and only has a few notable stand-outs; enough to get a sense of the band, but nothing really to excite. Those with a particular love for the old school approach will certainly see past the slower and less inspired songs on the album though, and will appreciate the band's authenticity, terrific leads and devotion to their chosen form.

Written by James Donovan
More: 2012, Albums, Female-fronted, Heavy Metal, Quick.Play Reviews,

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