Wow – what an amazing album! CRYSTAL VIPER play clichéd Heavy Metal as true as it gets and with all their hearts. The pretty warrior cover makes you long for more and it really demands a vinyl release! In Leather Wych, the have a Metal chick on the mic that does not only look fantastic but also has an insane set of pipes. Imagine a mixture between Leather Leone (CHASTAIN) and Doro Pesch. The beginning of the intro was spoken by Gerrit P. Mutz (SACRED STEEL), how cool is that?
Things get even better, though. The opener “Night Prowler” will please any fan of eighties Metal. Sounds like “Burning The Witches”-era WARLOCK and it would have been one of the highlights on that album. “Shadows On The Horizon” could as well be a CHASTAIN song and speeds up in the middle. What stands out time and again are the choruses, which grab you by the balls like a mad whore. However, a girl would let you go after some time, CRYSRTAL VIPER won’t. A true hymn of steel! “City Of The Damned” is rather speedy as well and has everything that makes for neat, unadulterated Metal. The riffing sounds a lot like MAIDEN, but who cares. As long as it sounds this neat and makes your head nod, everything is ok.
The mixture between speed and mid-tempo also sounds amazing. “The Last Axeman” is even faster and you have to be careful to make sure your neck doesn’t break during this rapid hell ride. “Island Of The Silver Skull” is rather epic and downright absorbs you. Reminds me of old STORMWITCH. And I have always loved STORMWITCH. “I Am Leather Witch” speaks for itself: another anthem that does not sound mundane at all. Man, this girl has such a neat voice! It goes right through your body! My personal favorite track in this godly disc is called “Demon’s Dagger” and it is no stretch to say that it is one of the most magical Metal songs of the last five years! A superb structure which starts out moderately and gets faster and faster. Epic Metal at its very best!
People under the age of thirty who prefer rather modern Metal sounds probably will not understand this. But I do not care. With that said, this does not sound outdated or stale at all. The analogue production is perfect for this music and has more soul than all those plastic bands. Towards the end, the pedal is pushed to the Metal again with “The Fury (Undead)” and the band shines with thrashy riffs and another damn cool chorus. After that, this exceptional work is closed in an appropriate and solemn manner by “Sleeping Swords”. This song is strongly reminiscent of ZED YAGO. It sounds similar and especially when it comes to the vocals the small leather witch sounds a lot like Jutta Weinhold (ZED YAGO/VELVET VIPER). However, the sluggish tempo, the riffing and the structure remind me of the great old works by that German band.
This unit is from Poland out of all places and they more than deserve your attention. They are among the best newcomers to me! Words cannot describe this indescribable aura and the feeling I have when I listen to this disc. I honestly love the old-fashioned direction of this disc and I am into clichés, too. Hell fucking yes! I will count the days until I can watch CRYSTAL VIPER at SWORDBROTHERS festival on May 19th.
(Online June 30, 2007)