2. Still Alive
3. Crystal Sphere
4. Bright Lights
5. Neverending Fire
7. Under Ice
8. One Question
9. Tomorrow never Comes (Dyaltov Pass)
10. Tears of Arizona
11. Dream Warriors (CD Bonus Track)
Crystal Viper are a Polish, female fronted Melodic Metal act, and although they have been around for twelve years or so, I’d never listened to them before this. And I’m really quite glad that I’ve got to enjoy them on this album.
A band who are unafraid of having small instrumentals to separate sections of their album (the once-traditional Prelude and Interlude being the obvious choices here), they also craft some very well-made songs. With a full, heavy and melodic sound, 'Tales Of Fire And Ice' is an album that knows exactly what it wants to be and how it wants to sound.
Once the prelude is over, the first track on the album “Still Alive”, is absolutely a standout – starting with a determined and relentless attitude that bodes exceedingly well for the rest of the album. It really showcases the band’s strengths and is an absolute belter that will definitely be being added to my spotify playlist of the year.
“Crystal Sphere” (the next track), is almost as good – with a high energy drum beat powering forward a song that is certainly worth a listen, though it’s a shame it doesn’t quite build to the heights that I thought it was going to build to. Not a letdown, but not quite a continuation of the brilliance that the album started with.
And the differences between these two tracks sort of highlight my feeling about this album. It never quite manages to maintain a consistent brilliance. It is absolutely a worthwhile listen for fans of the genre, but for me there are only two or three absolute belters on here – the aforementioned “Still Alive”, “Bright Lights”, and “Under Ice”, for me are the songs that really stand out. Unfortunately the rest of the album sits somewhere in the average bracket, with one song (“Tears Of Arizona”) being a particular let-down – it’s a definite skippable track for me I’m afraid.
One thing that they have done is to incentivise the sales of the physical formats by having a different additional track on each of them – the vinyl version gets “Alone” (which wasn’t on my review copy, so I can’t comment on) and the CD gets “Dream Warriors” – which is OK, but feels very eighties in comparison with the rest of the album.
So to conclude – Crystal Viper have produced an album in 'Tears Of Fire and Ice' that holds definite appeal. Well made, brilliantly produced, with a great overall sound, and featuring a couple of absolutely classic songs. I do think it’s a shame that they didn’t manage to keep the quality of song consistent throughout the album, but don’t let that stop you from giving it a listen.
Website - www.crystalviper.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/crystalviperofficial/
Review - Michael Braunton