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Crystal Viper interview: The 'Possession' of Marta Gabriel

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With the release of its fifth full-length studio album, “Possession“, Poland’s Crystal Viper has returned with some of its strongest material to date. As always, vocalist and guitarist Marta Gabriel is responsible for the sonic content of the record, and she continues to push her own boundaries. This week we reached out to the band’s guiding force to talk about the new record and much more. You can read the full interview below:

Crystal Viper is back with another incredible album, “Possession” and once again it is distinct from your previous albums but still carries the Crystal Viper signature. Is this because you continue to grow as a writer, or do you intentionally set out to take each new album in a different direction?

I wouldn’t really say it’s something in a new direction: we did the next Heavy Metal album in the Crystal Viper style. We have no ambitions to reinvent the wheel, we love Heavy Metal, and we play Heavy Metal. But I agree with you: I grow as a writer, but I guess all musicians who compose their songs will tell you the same, you learn your entire life.

As usual you wrote all the songs on this record. I understand between this album and the last you penned some 120 songs including 50 for “Possession”. When are you not writing? What do you do with the 30 or so tracks you don’t use?

That’s correct. Well, some tracks wait for better times, some other maybe will be used on my side project, some of them will be buried and forgotten. I can say I literally write all the time, I always have some recording device with me, so when I have new idea – be it on the car, in a bus, or when I walk the street, I record it.

What was your goal with "Possession" and where is it taking the listener relative to "Crimen Excepta" and previous albums?

Our goal was the same like in case of four previous albums: to make next good Crystal Viper record. We play music we love and which we would like to listen, and if there people around who enjoy what we do, then it’s truly awesome! We bring Heavy Metal to the world, this is our goal!

Tell us about the artwork for "Possession". I understand it connects to all the songs on the album?

We wanted something very classic, very old school this time, and with more aggressive colors. Yes, if you will carefully analyze this 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 love this artwork as it screams it is a Metal album!

You once again worked with your husband on this record. That is a tough dynamic, balancing love and work. How do you guys manage that?

Bart did his fifth album with us as producer, and each time he says it’s the last time, but each time when we start to work on the new one 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 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. 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. How do we manage that? We love what we do, music is our passion.

You are an extremely busy woman: You have Crystal Viper, you are a noted session musician and songwriter, you are now live guitarist for Jack Starr’s Burning Starr, and you have your own clothing company now. How do you juggle it all?

It’s all a question of good organization, and I’m not hiding the fact I have pretty good manager, who helps me to catch all ends and schedule everything.

You found your love of music when you were 6, but was there an album or two that you would say changed your life?

I think there was no particular album or two, I listened to a lot of music, to a lot of albums. I still do.
As a vocalist were there any particular influences growing up that you tried to channel or emulate in developing your own style?

I definitely tried to develop my own style, I never tried to copy anyone. But I can list a lot of vocalist that inspire me and whom I admire, like Tony Martin, Leather Leone, Bruce Dickinson, Rob Halford or Doro.
How about as a guitar player?

I would list here Mike Oldfield, Eddie Van Halen and Glenn Tipton!

The Examiner is about to do its newest Top Female Guitar Shredders article: Are there any other female guitar players that you find particularly impressive that we should know about or consider?

Yes, I think Orianthi is really great!

You have played all over the world with Crystal Viper. What’s the strangest food you have eaten and where was it?

We didn’t play all over the world yet, we hope to! There are many, many countries we never visited, and I know there are fans in many places around the globe waiting for us. If it would be that simple we would be touring 365 days a year! Strangest food? Well, I will tell you a secret, I love food, haha… We always try to check local food when we are on tour. I don’t remember anything really strange, or maybe our standards for “strange food”are already very high… I don’t know, some strange looking seafood or balls of a ram? Is it strange? Ha ha…

Any idea when we might see you tour North America?

Not really, actually such decision doesn’t belong to us. It’s up to U.S. promoters, if they want to invite us or not.

Pointless question of the week: What bad habit or guilty pleasure are you hopelessly addicted to?

I think I write too many songs, haha…

Marta, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with The Examiner. We look forward to seeing you live and hearing what you have in store next.

Thank you very, very much for supporting Crystal Viper! We are Metal Nation!

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