FEBRUARY 8th, 2014

Welcome to Metaltitans, Guardians of Metal entertainment worldwide. We at Metaltitans got the chance to talk with CRYSTAL VIPER, a female fronted traditional heavy metal act out of Poland. Our interview is with Marta Gabriel who founded the band in 2003.

1. Tell us what motivates you to do what you are doing, you have done 4 albums, singles, tours, many festivals, what is the driving force behind the band ?

Passion. I love what I do. Writing, recording, and then playing live on stage, is the air I breathe. I love it, and all members of Crystal Viper will tell you the same. And by the way, we did five albums, not four.

2.  I am curious, there are many black/death metal bands out of Poland, was it hard to establish yourselves as a traditional heavy metal band with a female vocalist ?

I wouldn't say it was hard, but surely we aren't very known in Poland. As you noticed black and death metal are more popular here. We of course have some loyal fans in Poland, but I know we are much more popular in other countries. For example I'm answering 8th or 9th interview from USA, and I had only 2 from Poland. The fact Crystal Viper is a female fronted act doesn't make any difference to be honest. It's like that over here for as long as I remember, I always been an outsider when I was telling my friends I like traditional metal, haha...

3.  How did you come up with the name Crystal Viper ?

Oh, it's very simple. We wanted to have a classic sounding name, adjective and noun. Like Mercyful Fate, Black Sabbath, Virgin Steele, or Iron Maiden. Later we build up the story which was told on the first album, about Crystal Viper - daughter of the witch, but it all started this classic way.

4.  Now about one and a half years later after “Crimen Excepta”, you are releasing another new album called “Possession”.  Why was this the name you picked for the title ?

"Possession" is a concept album about young girl named Julia. And as the title says it has something to do with possession. So you will find there subjects which most metalheads really like, haha... It's not typical ghost / exorcism story, as it all has an unexpected twist, and actually the whole story happen during one night of Friday 13 (which is also album's release date). I don't want to tell too much as it would be like saying what's the end of the movie, to someone who is going to watch it, but I can assure you it's a little and nice horror story, where you will find few historical facts being thrown in as well.

5.  You have also done something unique with this album, you had some of your loyal fans take part in the recording. How did this decision come about, and how did you pick the fans to be in it ?

We love our fans. The truth is if there would be no fans, there would be no music at all, no Heavy Metal and no Crystal Viper. Except that, we - all members of Crystal Viper - are die hard fans of Metal, we love lot of bands, we keep on buying albums t-shirts, we travel to live shows and festivals as fans. We thought it would be something cool to do something special, something unique - you know, everyone can buy CD or t-shirt, but how often can you find your name in the album booklet, and say "hey, it's me!" when you listen to some song? I think it's really cool.

6.  Who was the producer on this album ? Is there a reason why you chose this particular
producer ?

"Possession", like all previous Crystal Viper albums, was produced by Bart Gabriel, who in private life is my husband. Bart did his fifth album with us, and each time he says it's the last time, but each time when we start working on the new album he is with us, with new ideas and loaded batteries. I can't imagine someone else to produce our music, it wouldn't be the same I think. We worked together on "Possession" from the very first stage, from the very first rough ideas, up to what you can hear on the album, so I guess we can say he is integral part of how Crystal Viper sounds. Even if every single Crystal Viper album sounds a bit different, you will always recognize it's us - of course it's because all members of the band have own, recognizable style of playing, but also because Bart is making sure it's still Crystal Viper. Of course it's not like that, that he says "you can do this and this, and you can't do this and this" - he gives us total freedom, and when he thinks something is wrong, we discuss it, and we try to find best possible solution. If I'm not wrong he produced something like 70 other Metal albums as well, so I believe he knows what is he doing.

7.  Where did you do the recording for the album ?

We decided to enter MP Studio here in Poland, it's the same studio we used for our previous three albums and several other projects. As they say, you are not changing winning team, right?

8.  What were your influences for making Possession ?

If I got inspired by some movies, books, music, artists or something, I start to think if it's good idea for the album, if it is - I start to work on it. In case of "Possession" it was the same: after seeing bunch of movies, reading few books and hearing few stories, I came out with a concept which you can find on the album. There were many inspirations, but I would say biggest impact had on me movies such as "Fourth Kind" with Milla Jovovich, "The Exorcist" and the "Paranormal Activity" series. We also wanted to achieve similar atmosphere in the video clip that promote the album. What is quite cool in this case, the concept is connected with our previous album - maybe not necessary continue these subjects, but has few smooth references here and there.

9.  Who wrote the lyrics for the songs on this album ?

I wrote all the lyrics and the whole music that you can hear on "Possession".

10.  Who created the artwork for the cover ?  Did you give the artist some direction, or he came up with his own ideas ?

The painting was made by Michal Oracz, our longtime friend. Except being fantastic artist he is also author of many great RPG and fantasy board games, like the world bestseller Neuroshima, or Stronghold, for which we recorded theme song few years ago. The funny thing is, that his brother painted artwork for our debut album. It's also worth mentioning it's actually real painting, not the computer graphic. We wanted something very classic, very old school this time, with more aggressive colors. Also if you will carefully analyze the front cover artwork of our new album, and you will listen to the album and read the lyrics, you will find out that almost every single song is represented on this picture. We worked together with Michal, we were giving him our ideas and telling him what is our vision, and what we want to have on the artwork, and he did it perfectly. We love this artwork as it screams it is a Metal album.

11.  You had a guest artist work on this album as well, how did you come to pick this American singer over others ?  

 Yes, we have Harry Conklin from JAG PANZER and SATAN'S HOST on our album. We always try to invite members of other bands to be special guests on our album, it's already kind of tradition for us. We invite people we respect and like, this time it was Harry and Sataniac from DESASTER. They are great guys, talented musicians, and it was great pleasure and honor to work with them. So everyone, if you don't know DESASTER or Harry's bands - JAG PANZER, SATAN'S HOST and TITAN FORCE, then check them out, they are fuckin' awesome and Metal to the bone!

12.  When you are creating your songs, when do you find that you are the most inspired to write them ?

I basically write all the time, I can get inspired by a movie, a book, a story I heard, anything. For previous album I wrote something like 70 songs, for current one something like 50. So it's hard to say when I'm most inspired, probably all the time.

13.  What song is your favourite, if you can pick just one, and why that choice ?

You mean my favourite song from the new CRYSTAL VIPER album? I think it would be "We Are Many" or "Prophet Of The End", as this is the most unusual song I ever wrote.

Is there anything you would like to add to this interview that you think others should know about this album, or Crystal Viper ?

I would like to thank to all people who keep on supporting us and Metal scene in general. Fans are most important, if there would be no fans, there would be no Crystal Viper. Thank you for being there!

Thank you so much Marta for taking the time out of your busy schedule to do this interview with us here at Metaltitans, and we wish you all the success with Possession.

Thank you for supporting Crystal Viper! I wish you all the best, I truly hope you like "Possession" as much as we do. And remember, we are Metal Nation!