Crystal Viper – Possession

March 12, 2014 in Reviews by SpaceKev

Crystal Viper_PossessionCrystal ViperPossession (2013)

Reviewed by SpaceKev

Ever since 2007 when Crystal Viper debuted with The Curse Of Crystal Viper, they have slowly and steadily gotten better with each subsequent release. Boasting a classic heavy metal sound that has endured through the decades, most, if not all, of the band’s songs have a chugging cadence.  Straightforward, take no prisoners, get the job done, working man’s metal. Crystal Viper’s music is good because it is familiar, and that familiarity is satisfying.

When I pressed play on Possession, I was once again greeted with a familiar Crystal Viper orchestral opening. The refrain of the first song, “Voices In My Head”, seems to be plucked right out of King Diamond’s catalog. However, at over two and a half minutes into that first full song, everything changed. All of my previous perceptions of the band where blown. The bridge of the song begins with a tempo change and Spanish style nylon string guitar. Gadzooks! Hearing that on a Crystal Viper CD was unexpected and exhilarating. It was clear upon hearing this that something was going to be different about Possession.

There are several moments similar to the bridge on “Voices In My Head” sprinkled throughout the CD. “Julia Is Possessed” and “We Are Many” come to mind, just to name a couple. On a CD with one great song after another, “Prophet Of The End” could be my favorite song, as it begins acoustically and has a reverent church organ (which is appropriate given the storyline concept of Possession) to fill out the sound, as well as a small chorus of singers to help lift the chorus. Note that I’m pointing out some of the more unusual songs by Crystal Viper standards, and these happen to be the songs that have really grabbed my attention.

It seems to me that Marta Gabriel spent extra time tweaking and rewriting the songs on this album. While I am a big fan of all of Crystal Viper’s previous releases, there is so much more depth to the songs, and to Possession as a complete album. Make no mistake, each song on the CD is very clearly a Crystal Viper song: galloping and chugging elements reminiscent of the greats such as Accept, Dio, and, as previously mentioned, King Diamond abound.

It is quite hard for me to find anything to nit pick about Possession except that it does not have a power ballad (something that I was hoping for). I suppose “Prophet Of The End” could play that role, but with the amount of diversity on this CD, a power ballad somewhere in the middle could have added some powerful dynamic to the story.  Crystal Viper is not a ballad or power ballad band, but given the content of the CD and everything else that they have added to the songwriting, it would have been a bonus.

With all of the great releases that Crystal Viper has under its belt, Possession is my favorite. The songs are more complex, yet maintain everything that is essential to the band’s sound.  My hat is off to Marta and company for releasing a concept album, staying true, and yet evolving their sound!

Live Long and Rock Hard,

4.0  //  5