Marta Gabriel – ”Metal Queens” (Listenable Records)
Battle Helm Rating
Anyone familiar with Crystal Viper vocalist Marta Gabriel will know just how metal she is – both onstage and off! So it comes as little surprise that she chose to dedicate her first solo record to the legendary female inspirations of the 80s like Doro Pesch, Wendy O’ Williams, Ann Boleyn (Hellion), Lee Aaron, Maryann Scandiffio (Black Lace), Leather Leone (Chastain), Jutta Weinhold (Zed Yago) and Barbara Malteze (Malteze), amongst others. Handling bass duties in addition to lead vocals, Gabriel is joined by fellow Crystal Viper guitarist Eric Juris and drummer Cederick Forsberg along with notable guests John Gallagher (Raven), Todd Michael Hall (Riot V) and Harry ‘The Tyrant’ Conklin (Jag Panzer) on this sterling 11 track covers record which follows in the Crystal Viper tradition of recording songs by Manilla Road, King Diamond, Exciter, Grim Reaper, Agent Steel and Dokken. While I certainly warmed to all of the tracks, along with the memories they brought back, the headbanger in me took instantaneously to the speed metal opener of ‘Max Overload’ by Acid (from 1983’s “Maniac” album) with its ultra-catchy chugging Motörhead beat and Gabriel doing fine justice to Kate de Lombaert’s original clean, powerful and stirring singing – wow! If I ever had a teenage crush, then it had to be for Jody Turner and here on ‘My Angel’, Gabriel’s soulful yet feisty strength is remarkably close to the Rock Goddess guitarist / vocalist while Juris’ thick riffs chug and cut in superbly to get my old neck going again – excellent. Biggest surprise though came in ‘Reencarnacion’, from the self-titled 1984 debut from Spanish metallers Santa, and here Gabriel shows her true vocal talents in taking on the might of original singer Azuzena’s incredible power and soaring range – it’s a standout performance and a fitting testimony to the sadly late singer, who deservedly, along with all the other pioneering ladies here, can be crowned ”Metal Queens” !!!