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Crystal Viper - "Legends" (CD)

Crystal Viper - "Legends" CD cover image

"Legends" track listing:

1. The Truth (Intro) (0:41)
2. The Ghost Ship (4:21)
3. Blood Of The Heroes (4:42)
4. Greed Is Blind (4:08)
5. Sydonia Bork (4:59)
6. Goddess Of Death (5:43)
7. Night Of The Sin (4:23)
8. Secret Of The Black Water (4:51)
9. A Man Of Stone (4:55)
10. Black Leviathan (4:35)
11. TV War (ACCEPT Cover) (3:29)

Reviewed by on March 24, 2011

"Marta Gabriel of Crystal Viper takes Doro head on at her own game, combining limited range, some power, and plenty of conviction into a pretty successful product, and Gabriel is in fine fettle for Crystal Viper’s third full-length release, 'Legends.'"

Doro Pesch made a career out of being first. Combining charisma, leather pants, and metal good looks, she continues to have a successful career as a front woman for various acts and her own eponymous outfit merely because she did the real metal female thing before anyone else. Since Doro grew popular, most female vocalists in metal have taken different approaches, going for operatics, death growls, ‘core shouts, and other unique deliveries, trying to make their own name and not be labeled as Doro-clones. Marta Gabriel of Crystal Viper takes Doro head on at her own game, combining limited range, some power, and plenty of conviction into a pretty successful product, and Gabriel is in fine fettle for Crystal Viper’s third full-length release, “Legends.”

When it comes to technical skills, Gabriel is not the best vocalist, and probably not in the upper-quartile either; any of the vocalists from Nightwish could whip Gabriel on American Idol, and Angela Gossow could whomp Gabriel in an alley brawl. But Gabriel does two things very well. She never gives up, and she fits her band’s music perfectly.

Crystal Viper’s instrumentalists play a pretty standard European trad-power style; guitarist Andy Wave alternates between stock chord progressions and thrown-horn-worthy solos, while drummer Golem and bassist Tom Woryna provide a steady, if unspectacular, bottom end. This gives Gabriel the space to push her conviction over and over again, bellowing with her gruffly-tinged croon until we finally throw up our hands and accept it.

The ballad “Sydonia Bork” is Gabriel’s shining moment, believe it or not, as despite her limited range she obviously cares a whole lot about what she is singing, and as an audience we appreciate her honesty. “Goddess of Death” is another standout effort for Gabriel as she moves from melodically spoken passages to higher pitch flourishes and her good rhythmic sense plays well with the cymbal-studded arrangement. “Ghost Ship” and “Blood of the Heroes” are also prime cuts for Gabriel, as she easily strides along with the jaunty melodies Wave sets down.

There is nothing on “Legends” that makes us leap out of our chairs and proclaim our allegiance to the next queen of metal. But there clearly is enough good metal here for gents like Stefan Kaufmann (U.D.O., ex-Accept), Mat Sinner (Primal Fear, Sinner), and ex-Manowar-Drummer Rhino to take guest spots, and if it good enough for those fellows, it’s good enough for me.

Highs: “Blood of the Heroes” pairs the best riffs on the album with excellent vocals.

Lows: The production is very, very clean.

Bottom line: Vocalist Marta Gabriel takes Doro Pesch head on and succeeds in this trad-power release.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)