Label : AFM Records

Review by Tony Cannella

Is this 2012 or 1985? I absolutely, positively DO NOT mean that in a negative way either. The Polish band Crystal Viper has made a history out channeling some classic style, true heavy metal of the past, and I don’t know, maybe it’s just me but damn does it sound fresh and revitalized. The 4th and latest piece of true heavy metal nirvana provided by Crystal Viper is perhaps their most ambitious to date: “Crimen Excepta”. “Crimen Excepta” is a concept album about the Holy Inquisition, black magic and witchcraft. You don’t get much more metal than that. “Crimen Excepta” is listed to have 15 tracks (17 on the limited edition) because each song is separated by a brief interlude that segues into the next song. The opening track “Witch’s Mark” heralds Crystal Viper’s return and this is just a flat-out head banging metal tune and what a way to kick start “Crimen Excepta”. For the next song “Child of the Flame” the band dials back the speed a bit and deliver a heavy track that features some classic guitar harmonies and guitar work that recalls vintage Iron Maiden, Running Wild and Accept, and some gang style background shouts. “Crimen Excepta” is probably the darkest and most relentless Crystal Viper album to date, a fact that is heard on the fantastic “It’s Your Omen”. This song features some keyboard/organ work that is somewhat reminiscent of late 80s/early 90s King Diamond, particularly the KD album “The Eye”. This song is accentuated with a great solo courtesy of Andy Wave. For the next track vocalist Marta Gabriel is joined by David Bower of the NWOBHM band Hell who adds additional vocals to the song. Maybe technically Marta is not the best singer you will ever hear, but her voice just has so much power and emotion and it is pure metal reminiscent of the legendary Leather Leone. Some of Marta’s screams would sure give Leather a run for her money. The limited edition features two bonus tracks. The first one is a cover of “Tyrani Piekel” from fellow Polish band Vader. As you can imagine, this is a heavy cover and the band is joined by none other than Peter from Vader as he lends his vocals to the track. The second bonus track is the title song from the upcoming movie, “Ghosts of Sherwood”. Those two songs make the limited edition essential for fans of Crystal Viper. When you buy a Crystal Viper album, you know what you are going to get. That is not to say that they are boring or predictable, they are not afraid to add a new wrinkle here and there, but at the end of the day Crystal Viper is a heavy metal band and they are proud of that fact. With “Crimen Excepta”, Crystal Viper continues to pay homage to a bygone era in heavy metal whilst still remaining relevant in 2012 and leading the way for bands that play classic heavy metal.

Rating – 93/100

 

Tracklist

  1. Witch’s Mark
  2. Child of the Flame
  3. It’s Your Omen
  4. Crimen Excepta
  5. Medicus Animarum
  6. The Spell of Death
  7. Hope Is Gone, Here’s New Law
  8. Fire Be My Gates
  9. Tyrani Piekiel (Vader cover) (Bonus Track Limited Ed.)
  10. Ghosts of Sherwood (Bonus Track Limited Ed.)

 

Line Up

  • Marta Gabriel – Vocals & Guitar
  • Andy Wave – Guitars
  • Tom Woryna – Bass
  • Tom “Golem” Danczak – Drums

 

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