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Enough guts and glory - 70%

autothrall, November 9th, 2009

Crystal Viper is a female-fronted power metal band out of Poland, and they temper this sophomore effort with enough guts and glory and old school fervor to have rocked my face off on a Saturday afternoon. This is a superior effort to The Curse of Crystal Viper and it should appeal to both young and old fans of melodic metal with some bite to it.

"Breaking the Curse" leads off, a symphonic intro comprised of acoustics and glorious synthesizers, weaving a tragic and brief tale to herald the arrival of "Metal Nation", which uses some of the same base melodies to create a nice continuity. Vocalist Marta Gabriel, errr...excuse me, Leather Wych has a pretty raw tone to her voice that I appreciate, you also catch a hint of her accent. Works for me. This is not fairy metal, so if you're seeking ridiculous operatic vocals and songs about teenage vampires and wizard academies, you'd better fuck off. Leather Wych occasionally busts into a higher register which seems a little too pompous for the album's sake, but these moments are brief. The leads are scorching, pure Euro power metal and the band can really fire you up like in "Bringer of the Light" or "The Anvil of Hate". I wasn't big into the more balladic side of the band as on "Her Crimson Tears", but at least it has some nice leadwork. Other crushers include "Gladiator, by the Blade" and "Legions of Truth".

The album sounds tight but not overproduced like many other power metal efforts. The guitar tones are crunchy and Marta's vocals truly soar. There are also some great guest vocal appearances from Lars of Stormwarrior and fucking Frank Knight of X-Wild (oh yes, it's true!). Both fit straight in opposite the frontwoman. There are some less than original riffs present (it's power metal...) and the album is far from perfect, but it's a rousing good time if you like some fury and melody with your traditional fist pumping. Fans of Helloween, Gamma Ray, Scanner, Iron Savior and others should check it out.

-autothrall
http://www.fromthedustreturned.com