“Metal Nation“, second album of Polish Metal bards CRYSTAL VIPER has been out for a while now and I enjoy it a whole lot more than the already good debut “The Curse Of Crystal Viper“. Vocalist Marta, who also is responsible for the majority of the songs, has tightened the reigns and taken out a good portion of kitsch from the songs. Sure, the title track still has some NIGHTWISH swinging with it and some melodies could also come from SABATON, but it all is with restraint.
And that the band has a big weakness for US Power Metal is not a secret anyways, so they once more combine European feeling for melodies and the Metal virtues of the Americas. Of course in the style of the 80s, just to make sure that nobody gets the wrong idea here. The album is plenty of fun from the beginning until the end, animates to sing along, raise your fist into the air and annihilate a few mugs of beer. Besides the great vocals I am especially enthused by the very intricate and expressive guitars. Highlight of the album: the extremely strong “Gladiator, Die By The Blade” trilogy that sits somewhere between old MANOWAR, RUNNING WILD and OMEN. But also “Zombie Lust (Flesh Eaters)“, or “Legions Of Truth“ with its operatic vocals in the middle rock the house, just like every other song as well, only the cover version of “Agents Of Steel” cannot really compete with the original, but that’s about it.
On top of that the front cover fulfils all clichés, but due to the cheap realization reminds me more of the artwork of a standard, run-of-the-mill Death Metal band. Still an album that should be part of any well stocked True Metal collection.
(Online March 1, 2011)