“Queen of the Witches” is the sixth album by traditional Heavy Metal group Crystal Viper and was release on February 17th,2017. Crystal Viper have been steadily on the rise and have gained themselves a legion of fans ever since their debut way back in 2007 and it’s easy to see why. From Marta Gabriel’s strong as steel vocal deliveries and the anthem-like and powerful yet heavy songs, this band has always been one that has been quite consistent in their work. However, 2017 sees a long awaited return since 2013’s “Possession” and let’s see if “Queen Of The Witches” is worth the wait!
1.The Witch Is Back- Opening with some awesome wailing and straight into a thrashy power metal number. This is such an awesome opener as well with the band firing on all cylinders and the vocals are still handled very well as we see Mrs. Gabriel spitting venom and having some grit behind her voice but also has some parts that soar especially in the chorus. I also have to say the production is very nice as well giving a nod to the old school production with a bit of a raw yet polished edge to it. The drums have that neat click to them and the guitars have just the right amount of distortion to them. Overall, this an ass kicker of an opener and gets you psyched for the rest of the album.
2.Fear No Evil- This song has a very old school Maiden vibe to it but doesn’t come off as a rip off at all. Honestly if this album came out in 1982, it would be an absolute classic even just two songs in you can see just how much power this group still possesses. Everything falls into place perfectly especially on a song like this one. There are some really cool time changes that spices the track up a bit as well with some awesome melodic guitars in the back. The solo just screams mid-80’s with almost a Dokken feel to it. Again, that wail at the end of the solo always gets me on every listen!
3.When The Sun Goes Down- This tune has more of a mid paced feel to it and wouldn’t be out of place on a Dio record either. This is one of the most epic songs on the album and is also one of my favorites it just screams to be played live it is definitely a sing along tune. Really dig the solo as well it has a lot of feeling in it. Definitely a tune that needs to be cranked to 11.
4.Trapped Behind- I dig the very soft number with piano in the background it, again, gives the album some more of that creative flair to it and is quite beautiful as well. It definitely feels a bit out of place on the album the first spin but the more you listen to it the more epic it becomes and lets the next tune come blasting right in.
5.Do Or Die- This tune has more of that heavy chugging to it and has an awesome yet simple sing a lot chorus. Much like the opener this song just kicks ass all around and really shows the musicianship the band brings to the table as well. Definitely one of the catchiest numbers on the album and a guest solo from Ross The Boss is pretty damn cool as well if you ask me!
6.Burn My Fire Burn- This tune definitely has more of that NWOBHM vibe going for it with the dueling single guitar lines all over the places and another amazing chorus that just absolutely screams epic.
7.Flames and Blood- This song is a straight old school speed metal number and again works really well and is played really tight. This is another one of my favorites on the album (hell the whole album is full of favorites) for just how heavy yet how hooky it is. One thing that stands out on this song as well is that there is a guitar solo from Mantas of Venom fame….When I saw that credit I was so excited to hear him play a solo on a song again and he does good it is a nice surprise addition.
8.We Will Make It Last Forever- This song has more of that true power ballad feel to it and is another tune I think that would work well live and the duel vocals with guest Steve Bettney is a welcomed addition. I do like that you get both a regular soft ballad and a more straight up power ballad with the whole band joining in. This song also has easily one the best solo’s I have heard in awhile.
9.Rise of The Witch Queen- This is easily by far the heaviest song on the album and I absolutely love it. The superb fast and extremely tight riffing with the machine gun double bass is the real highlight. Tomasz Danczak is a real superb drummer and its quite a spectacle to hear how fast he can play. Definitely another highlight on the album as well. This song is a great way to end the main part of an extremely strong record.
10.Long Live The Loud(bonus track)- I love love love this version I just wish it wasn’t considered a bonus track because it easily belongs on the main album. This is quite possibly one of the best covers I have heard in years and it is nice to see them give a nod to Exciter it is just enjoyable to hear a group today paying tribute to one of the most underrated acts on earth. Now to hear that kick ass Grim Reaper cover…
Overall, I give this album a very strong 9 out of 10. I honestly was blown away by how good this album was. Now don’t get me wrong I expected an enjoyable album because this band has always been a solid act but this album easily is one of their best. From the heavy epic songs to the more tame and atmospheric ones, this album has everything a heavy metal fan wants. I still have so many new releases to listen to this year but I already guarantee this album will be in my top 5. I’ll still go on record and say that bands like Crystal Viper should be huge, they play with everything they have and I hope they stay around for a long long time.