Flirtation

Following a flirtation with more melodic metal, Poland’s Crystal Viper return to their more traditional base with their latest release The Cult.

This is the band’s eighth full-length album, with three coming in the last four years. Great output following a four-year enforced hiatus from 2013-2017.

Vocalist, guitarist and brains of the outfit Marta Gabriel hits us once again between the eyes with her powerful, super-strength vocals.

She is more than ably supported by Andy Wave (guitar), Eric Juris (guitar), Blaze Grygiel (bass) and Cederick Forsberg (drums). I don’t know exactly who does the guitar solos but there are some beauties in there.

Traditional

Aswell as getting back to more traditional metal this album also differs in its influences. All tracks are inspired by the works of weird/horror fiction writer HP Lovecraft. They are not alone, however, as Lovecraft has inspired plenty of metal bands, from Black Sabbath to Metallica to The Black Dahlia Murder and plenty in between. The two genres meld together perfectly, I suppose.

The Cult has its solid foundations built on heavy melodic riffing with extended sequences verging on Iron Maiden territory for length. With three guitarists going hammer and tongs it would be rude not to.

Crystal Viper don’t pussyfoot around with any ballads or slow malarky, it’s full-on eyeballs out metal. The pace may change occasionally but it’s metal all the way and Gabriel’s vocalist don’t let up for a moment.

Production

The production, once again, is taken care of by Bart Gabriel. He has produced a clear, concise album where every aspect of the sound has had the utmost attention. I’d expect nothing less.

Speaking to new label Listenable Records Marta had this to say about The Cult, “When it comes to style and music, we decided to do something we feel very comfortable and honest with, and show everyone where we belong and where we come from. So yes, “The Cult” marks Crystal Viper’s return to its roots, pure classic heavy metal! You might even want to call it old school, as we feel we‘ve never had as many catchy guitar riffs and harmonies than on any of our other albums.”

I’m not going to argue with any of that, and The Cult is a great way to start 2021.

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