The Silver Key

Crystal Viper

“The Silver Key” is a very good concept album to listen to, and especially Power Metal fans will love what they hear
June 24, 2024

CRYSTAL VIPER hailing from Katowice, Poland were formed in 2003. They play a mixture of Heavy and Power Metal and released so far eight full-length albums, two EPs, and one live album. “The Silver Key” is album number nine and it was produced and mastered by Bart Gabriel (AVENGER; HELLOWEEN; RIOT CITY) and mixed by Rafal Kossakowski (AXE CRAZY; SOUL COLLECTOR) at Kosa Buena Studio. The album has a length of about 41 minutes, and it was released via French Black, Death, and Thrash Metal specialists Listenable Records.

Many bands draw their inspirations from the novels of American author H.P. Lovecraft, and CRYSTAL VIPER is not different. “The Silver Key” is based on the novel “Through The Gates Of The Silver Key” and we will come back to this during the review. CRYSTAL VIPER start their album with an intro track. “Return To Providence” is a keyboard driven, with electronic effects enriched, 80-seconds pre-lude that transitions into the fast “Fever Of The Gods”. This is a traditional Power Metal track with tight guitar riffing, a lot of double-bass drumming, and epic chorus melodies. The female vocals of Marta Gabriel are between the medium to higher end of the vocal range, where she uses the higher notes mainly for the chorus vocals. Central part of the track is the extended lead guitar solo, where parts of the melodies have a few IRON MAIDEN vibes. “Fever Of The Gods” is a strong opener, making appetite for more. “Old House In The Mist” keeps it going with the pace. It has a few Rock vibes, crunching basslines, and the guitar riffing is a bit more playful compared to the previous track. Likewise, the verse melodies for the vocals are more diverse with more tonal shifts towards higher notes. The chorus melodies are catchy and almost anthemic. Highlight of the track is the lead guitar solo. “The Key Is Lost” is a first marked change in tempo and rhythm. It is a song at a measured tempo put into an epic melodic framework. Noteworthy are again the strong basslines, the contributing lead guitar solo, and the anthemic chorus lines.

The H.P. Lovecraft inspired “Heading Kadath”, which is about the homeland of the God Kadath, is another fast track and with more IRON MAIDEN inspirations in the guitar melodies, the rhythm, and the lead guitar solos being apparent. The melodies are catchy, and the vocals are mainly higher pitched with a few tonal shifts towards lower notes. Marta Gabriel shows here all her versatility and vocal range with an excellent performance. “Book Of The Dead” is another fast Power Metal track driven by the tight riffing and the relentless double-bass drumming. The melodies are again catchy and anthemic during the chorus with epic melodies. There is a mid-tempo break introducing the extended lead guitar solo at high pace. “Book Of The Dead” is one of the best album songs. The title track of the album is a powerful track at a measured tempo. It is arguably the most epic track on the album, in particular during the chorus parts, where the vocals are intensified by background vocals. Highlights of the track are the extended lead guitar solo and the anthemic and epic vocal solo finishing the song. “The Silver Key” is the official video release, and the YouTube link is provided below.

Wayfaring Dreamer” is the album ballad with the piano and the vocals being the only contributors. The piano provides a dark melodic framework and Marta Gabriel grabs the opportunity to shine. It is a great composition and tailored towards the vocal strengths of Marta Gabriel. “Escape From Yaddith” is another reference to the concept of the album, as Yaddith is a planet in a quintuple star system located in another galaxy. The track describes the escape from the planet is a fast one during most parts with flesh-ripping guitar riffs and a double-bass thunderstorm. The vocals use lower notes during the verse parts, while they are catchy and higher pitched during the choruses. The mid-tempo part introduces the lead guitar solo, and the main melody of the mid-tempo part is also an introduction to the final album track. ”Cosmic Forces Overtake” uses the main melody of “Escape From Yaddith” at the beginning, transitioning into another fast Power Metal track, where the guitars get a final opportunity to shine. The guitar riffs are tight, and the lead guitar solo is excellent, making “Cosmic Forces Overtake” to a real banger and a great finale of the album.

CRYSTAL VIPER deliver a very good concept album. “The Silver Key” is a mixture of traditional Power Metal and Heavy Metal, with the Power Metal elements definimg the CRYSTAL VIPER sound. Overall, it is one of the fastest albums of CRYSTAL VIPER and arguably one of their best releases to date. The guitars are excellent in both, the riffing and the solos, while the drums add an extra dimension to the sound. Everything is kept very well together by the vocals. A good songwriting makes sure that the songs are tailored towards the vocal strengths of Marta Gabriel. Her vocal versatility is an extra asset to the sound. The album is well produced. “The Silver Key” is an album to listen to and especially Power Metal fans will love what they hear.

9 / 10

Almost Perfect








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"The Silver Key" Track-listing:
  1. Return To Providence
  2. Fever Of The Gods
  3. Old House In The Mist
  4. The Key Is Lost
  5. Heading Kadath
  6. Book Of The Dead
  7. The Silver Key
  8. Wayfaring Dreamer
  9. Escape From Yaddith
  10. Cosmic Forces Overtake
Crystal Viper Lineup:

Marta Gabriel Vocals, Bass

Andy Wave Guitars

Eric Juris Guitars

Kuba Galwas Drums, Percussions

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