Crystal Viper - Legends
AFM Records
Heavy Metal
11 songs (46:43)
Release year: 2011
AFM Records
Reviewed by Cory

Every band that strives for longevity and relevance in today’s metal scene eventually runs across this problem: your previous work was either good enough or great enough to get you going, but now do you stick to the tried and true formula or branch out into new experimental waters? Both paths can lead to success or failure, and it is interesting to note that the answer is not the same for every band. For example, Scar Symmetry created their finest work to date in Holographic Universe using virtually the exact same formula as their previous two albums, but then missed the mark on Dark Matter Dimensions when they experimented with it. On the other hand, Iced Earth has been stuck in the proverbial rut for years because John Schaefer refuses to experiment with and/or enhance his style and thus has not produced a strong effort since (arguably) Horror Show. Maintaining momentum and quality while retaining the listener’s interest can be a difficult task, and this is where Crystal Viper has stumbled.

Legends, follow up to 2009’s Metal Nation, sounds as if the band decided to play it safe. Virtually every aspect of the album sounds like its predecessor, and indeed when listening to the two albums back to back it was difficult to distinguish any significant differences. While Metal Nation was an enjoyable album, Legends comes across as a watered down effort in comparison, partially due to a more polished production which removes some of the “bite” that was there before. Songs like Blood of the Heroes and Black Leviathan stand out as strong tunes, but the rest of the album never rises above “decent” status, and unfortunately that leaves it in the company of countless other albums that failed to hold the audiences attention beyond an initial listen.

What does separate this band from the average are the vocals of Marta Gabriel. It’s refreshing to hear a female vocalist that does not sound like a Tarja clone, or even a female vocalist for that matter. Marta instead reaches down to the depths of her ability for a convincing straightforward approach that cuts through the bullshit and just delivers the goods. She seems to be holding back on Legends, but nonetheless remains a shining example of perhaps a new direction for female vocalist to travel (and giving the operatic formula a chance to breath after having been rehashed to death).

With Legends, Crystal Viper is treading water in a genre that will eventually see them fade into irrelevance unless they strike hard with their next effort. The potential is certainly there for some outstanding material, but in the meantime Legends will soon fade from my mind, to be replaced by more worthy tunes.

Killing Songs :
Blood of the Heroes, Black Leviathan
Cory quoted 70 / 100
Other albums by Crystal Viper that we have reviewed:
Crystal Viper - Possession reviewed by Andy and quoted 86 / 100
Crystal Viper - Crimen Excepta reviewed by Bar and quoted 79 / 100
Crystal Viper - Metal Nation reviewed by Thomas and quoted 90 / 100
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