Crystal Viper – “At The Edge Of Time” EP (AFM Records)
Since returning to full steam with last years “Queen Of The Witches” album, Crystal Viper have been massively touring across Europe. Keen to remind everyone what all the fuss is about, along comes this 5 tracker limited edition EP to prove just why! Galloping out is the title track and despite being proudly labelled as a heavy metal band, the speed runs here and there definitely sound thrashy although the classy piano bit and Andy Wave’s soulful solo go along way in proving why these Poles are no run of the mill act. Fronted by Marta Gabriel (yes, wife of metal luminary Bart Gabriel), there’s plenty of power and equally passion across the material here, amply demonstrated on the alternate version of fan favourite ‘When The Sun Goes Down’, here given a slightly creepy vibe thanks to some church organs – hence ‘Giallo’ mix – although thankfully not losing any of its bountiful soul from the original. ‘Zwiastun Burzy’ is the Polish version of the aforementioned title track but still has an interesting take while ‘When Are You’ is virtually a solo piece for Marta, backed by melancholic piano and delicate synths – indeed, this ballad clearly shows her voice to be in fine shape and as versatile as ever. The final track is a cover of Quartz’s ‘Tell Me Why’, with its strong NWOBHM tones evident in the very British hard rock riffs and warbling melodies, although once again handled with class and soul evident in the Marta’s vocals and Wave’s guitars. A neat little package that one should snap up given its limited edition status.