Label: Listenable Records
Author: Dimitris Kazantzis
Poles are noted for their consistency in studio releases. Eight albums in fourteen years is no little thing. The question is whether they have managed to level up, something that has already happened. CRYSTAL VIPER is an excellent band in which it is easy to discern strength, passion and the ability to write good melodies.
‘The Cult‘ starts, as I expected, with a very inventive introduction (‘Providence‘) and then with the title track of the album and ‘Whispers From Beyond‘. Songs that have all the characteristics of a solid metal album with fast guitar riffs and volume. But their main part, including the refrains, are in purely mid tempo rhythms, which is not at all negative. On the contrary, they are both excellent songs. Speed comes with ‘Down In The Crypt‘ and so far, everything looks great. Listening to ‘Sleeping Giants‘, I consider it to be one of the most theatrical songs that have reached my ears for a long time and I really/truly consider this the top moment of the album. What follows in ‘The Cult‘ is, similarly to the guitar solo at ‘Asenath Waite‘, outstanding.
Shortly before the end of the album, ‘Flaring Madness‘ gives an epic tone mainly with its refrain, reminiscent of sounds and melodies of older decades as well as having a live structure. I imagine that in their next concerts, they will give the floor to the audience in some parts of it. And here I come to focus on the following: for this to happen, the audience has to get acquainted with the album and to do so, they have to listen to it again and again. In the post-Covid era, there will be a real slaughter regarding who will play where and with whom and for better or worse, the big names will have the floor/dominate again, probably more than ever before. From the rest, the choices of the organizers will be very careful and strict.
CRYSTAL VIPER is a band deserving/that has a place on the big stage. Marta Gabriel seems to have been born for that, but I ‘m not sure if ‘The Cult‘ is the album that will allow this band to stand out on it. It is a very good album, but I feel that something is missing. I’m not sure if I can say exactly what this is, but I have the feeling that it’s the same thing that is missing from their previous albums. It could be a very special song or some other element, I’m not sure about that. Maybe the fact that after having listened to the first half of the album, it is as if you have already listened to all of it plays a role as well, but I sense that maybe something unexpected is missing. The only thing I am sure of, is that ‘The Cult‘ will occupy my CD-player a lot.
What is noteworthy regarding the release of the album, is the fact that it is accompanied by two bonus tracks, which are both covers. These are Satan‘s ‘Trial By Fire‘ in the vinyl version, while in the CD and digital version we have King Diamond‘s ‘Welcome Home‘ in a great performance on which Andy La Rocque himself plays the guitar!