Interview by Tony Cannella
The Polish band Crystal Viper has been proudly flying the flag for traditional heavy metal since 2007 when their debut “The Curse of Crystal Viper” was unleashed. Now the band has released – what is quite possibly – their most ambitious and best album to date called “Crimen Excepta”. Recently vocalist and guitarist Marta Gabriel was kind enough to take some time to answer some questions. Read on…
First off, congratulations on the great new album “Crimen Excepta”. Please tell us a little about it.
Thank you! We are very excited about it, and can’t wait for the release date, when our fans get their hands on it; I know it’s going to be great! It’s our brand new album, totally different to the previous ones and it shows a new face to Crystal Viper!
Can you please tell us a little about the story/concept of the album?
First of all, I need to say that “Crimen Excepta” is a little bit like a movie, where the story is told with music, and not with pictures. It’s a bit different from the standard record. It’s basically a tale about witches and the inquisition, but there is also a deeper meaning here, and that can be interpreted as a story about intolerance and human cruelty. It’s a story about a witch named Sarah and her adopted son William, who becomes an Inquisitor. It’s quite a dramatic and weird story I would say. It was basically inspired by books and movies, such as; “The Name of the Rose” or even “Malleus Malleficarum”, and if you know more about the inquisition in general, you will quickly find out that there is more reality than fiction in it.
You say you feel it differs from previous albums? How exactly?
It is different, very different actually; and I felt that even while playing these new songs during rehearsals. The main reason is, that the story, the main lyrical theme, was written before I started composing music, so it affected the process of writing the music a lot, driving it in a different way. The concept is very dark, brutal, much more mystical, and so is the music that I wrote to go with it. It’s all one piece: music fits to lyrics, and lyrics fit to the music; there are real emotions and real feelings in these songs. Added to that, the album is different again, because our attitude was different this time: everything was actually produced just like in the ’80s. We used Flying V guitars, tube amps, of course real drums – no samples, triggers or anything like that, also no copying – everything that you hear on the album was sung or played.
Crystal Viper has always picked interesting songs from the metal genre to cover. This time you covered a Vader song. How did that come about?
When we were thinking about bonus tracks for the limited edition of the album, we wanted to record a song which would be unusual; a song that people don’t expect us to record. I’m a huge fan of Death and Black Metal; I really like Vader and “Tyrani Piekiel” is my favourite Vader song, so it seemed natural to do that. Actually, we don’t know of any other Heavy Metal band that has recorded a pure Death Metal song, so looks like we were first. By the way, we also recorded one more cover song during this recording session as well; “Night of the Demon” from NWOBHM heroes Demon, and this song landed up on the limited vinyl edition of “Crimen Excepta”!
Are there any artists you would like to collaborate with that you haven’t already?
Oh, of course! There are many great and talented artists around, but if I could choose, I would like to record something with, say Glenn Tipton or King Diamond, they are like heroes for me.
For fans who have never heard the band. How would you describe Crystal Viper?
Female fronted, heavy metal band, straight from the hottest parts of metal hell! If you are ready for a metal bomb, come and see us playing live; we take no prisoners.
What has the reaction been from media and fans to the new album?
It’s a little bit too early yet, and there aren’t too many reviews of “Crimen Excepta”; but the ones we have seen, are pretty good so far. Looks like we’ve managed to surprise people, and that we’ve recorded something no one expected. But you know, for me, it’s always so important that our fans like what we do, as they are the ones who are totally true and honest; they are the most important people on earth for us!
What attracted you to classic heavy metal in the first place?
There are many reasons! It has energy, power, sound, atmosphere, wildness, and the possibility of doing something really creative. I simply love Heavy Metal.
Do you have much touring planned in support of “Crimen Excepta”?
We hope to play as many live shows as possible this year. Right now, we have confirmed shows in Spain, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Denmark and Germany but please keep on checking our website, as we will announce more dates soon. We hope to visit the UK this year as well!
What can fans expect when they come to see you live?
Well, you can expect a powerful show, full of heavy metal energy! As mentioned; we take no prisoners! The stage is like a second home. Every single live show is special, and we are happy when we can play in new places!
It’s hard to believe that your debut album “The Curse of Crystal Viper” came out five years ago. How do you feel the band has changed since then?
For sure, not much! We are still the same guys; we totally love what we do; we still can’t live without music. You should see us rehearsing; every time we are happy, like a bunch of kids who’ve just entered the greatest playground in the world. Instead of toys, we have our guitars, amplifiers, and drums. But, saying that, we certainly have changed as musicians; and each one of us has managed to develop his / her playing skills, whilst I would say I developed my writing skills. We certainly know each other much better, and we’ve learned how to work with each other in a much better fashion.
Do you have a personal favourite album and song from the Crystal Viper catalogue?
Without a doubt, my favourite song is “Crimen Excepta”, I think it’s the best song I’ve ever composed! I’m not being totally ‘original’ here, I know every artist says that the latest album is the best one, but to be totally honest with you, I totally love this “Crimen Excepta” album. The songs are very emotional and powerful; the lyrics have very important meaning, and it’s all something totally new and fresh, full of energy!
Who are some bands that you would like to tour with that you haven’t already?
Again, there are many, many great acts we would love to tour with! I would start with King Diamond, Candlemass, Cannibal Corpse, Judas Priest, Nifelheim, Vader, and of course, legends such as Iron Maiden or Black Sabbath. But, the truth is, we love to tour with any good Metal band; we are always happy when we can play with other cool acts. When we can, we always try to see the bands that share that stage with us. We are huge Metal fans ourselves, so it’s great to do that.
Who are some singers and bands that you admire?
I’ve always been a fan of Tony Martin, David De Feis, Jutta Weinhold, Leather Leone, Dio, Rob Halford, Doro, the list goes on. But, I also like to listen to the heavier bands; I mean death and black metal ones; like, for example, Dissection, Destroyer 666, Immortal, Bathory, Watain and many, many more.
What are your plans for 2012 and beyond?
We are ready to strike; to play in countries that we’ve never been before! We’re planning to do a video clip very soon and I’m slowly getting ready to write the next album as well.
Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. Crystal Viper is fast becoming one of my favourite bands, so this was a pleasure for me. Is there anything you would like to add to wrap this up? The final words are yours.
Thank you for supporting Crystal Viper; I’m glad to hear such great words! Heavy Metal greetings to all the metal maniacs! Remember to keep supporting your favourite bands; keep on buying original albums, and keep on going to live shows – the future of Metal is in your hands! Horns up!
Marta Gabriel : Facebook