Published on December 12th, 2019 | by Justin G.
Crystal Viper: Tales Of Fire And Ice (AFM, 2019)
Tales Of Fire And Ice, the seventh full-length album from Polish heavy metal band Crystal Viper, is going to have a lot of fans crying into the sleeves of their patched denim jackets. The once true as steel traditional heavy metal band has (gasp!) gone soft/sold out/insert your favorite term for trying something different here. Yes, after six “balls to the wall” old school metal albums, Crystal Viper has decided to change up their sound a bit, perhaps in a bid to reach the kind of audience bands like Delain and Epica are seeing. As a result, Tales Of Fire And Ice is a much more polished, more melodic album than we’re used to from the band. And it’s actually really good.
For all its polish and melodic approach, Tales Of Fire And Ice sounds a lot like something Doro might release, and last I checked the old school brigade hadn’t turned their backs on her. Crystal Viper actually does this kind of melodic metal really well, and there’s still plenty of steel beneath the shine. The songs are really catchy and don’t sound overly poppy (they’re not exactly turning into Amaranthe here), and the musicianship is still strong. There are a few moments where they flirt with the Delain or Within Temptation sound, but even then there’s usually a pretty badass guitar solo to go with Marta Gabriel’s surprisingly good softer vocal style.
Highlights on Tales Of Fire And Ice include the Battle Beast-sounding “Still Alive,” the hard charging “Tomorrow Never Comes” and the fantastically melodic (and very Doro) “Neverending Fire”. There’s also a fun cover of Dokken’s soundtrack anthem “Dream Warriors” to close the album.
Let the crusty old metal dudes complain. Crystal Viper sounds really good here, and if a more melodic approach brings them some additional fans, they’ve certainly earned it at this point. Fans of Doro, Battle Beast, Benedictum, The Dark Element, Edge Of Paradise and yes Delain should definitely give Tales Of Fire And Ice a listen.
Summary: Oh noes, they "sold out"