Reviews roundup – Crystal Viper vs. Savoldelli Casarano Bardoscia vs. Lisa Biales

61tnoehrd7lCRYSTAL VIPER
Queen Of The Witches

“I’m not getting back in the bus until you say we’re heavy metal”. Well there is no doubt whatsoever that Polish heavy metal band Crystal Viper are 101% heavy fudging metal.

This is their issue sixth full-length studio album of balls to the wall metal and, even better, it’s a full blown concept album about witches (natch) and pure evil. It’s the first release since their hiatus following front-woman Marta Gabriel encountering health issues and it’s a strong return.

She still can’t sing mind but with the riffs are as strong as they are on the likes of “The Witch Is Back”, “Do Or Die” and “Rise Of The Witch Queen” you really don’t care. Add is some guest contributions from Mantas (guitar, ex-Venom), Ross The Boss (guitar, ex-Manowar) and Steve Bettney (vocals, Saracen) and you’re left with some powerful, classic heavy metal. There are a couple of bonus tracks as well. “See You In Hell” (Grim Reaper cover) appears on the CD and “Long Live The Loud” (Exciter cover) pops up on the vinyl LP.


The Great Jazz Gig In The Sky

After some pounding metal what better way to relax than with a jazz fusion / experimental cover set of a Pink Floyd album.

Um, no, because this stretches the boundaries of relaxation beyond belief. It’s the brainchild of vocalist Boris Savoldelli who along with saxophonist Raffaele Casarano and bassist Marco Bardoscia has put a very individual stamp on the music.

Of course I say vocalist but with his voice being run through a laboratory’s worth of computers it’s an awful lot more than that. Quite what Floyd fans will make of it is something else but if you’re tired of flaccid, note for note, covers of the classics then this may well be the place for you.

I’m not much of a Floyd fan but I was certainly enthralled as the trio turn “The Great Gig in the Sky/ Money” into something far removed from its originators vision. The likes of “Breathe” and “Brain Damage” are stretched into bold new visions of where the music might have ended up if it had been discovered by aliens.



61iy67s42bnl-_ss500LISA BIALES
The Beat Of My Heart
Big Song Music

It’s album number nine from blues, soul and jazz singer Lisa Biales. This one was inspired by the discovery of a 78 rpm record recorded in 1947 by her mother, Alberta Roberts. Thus the song “Crying Over You” begins with her mother singing the first verse and then Biales finishing the song.

Elsewhere she uses her jazz sensibilities on material like Eric Bibb’s “Don’t Let Nobody Drag Your Spirit Down” and the old Nina Simone tune “Be My Husband”. The arrangements are sensitive and well realised and her voice is always a rare treat.

Not everything works and I find myself skipping over “Be My Husband” every time. But it’s a rare misstep and when she tackles the gospel song “Said I Was Not Gonna Tell Nobody” and “Wild Stage Of Life” you can’t help butbe swept up into her sound. It’s expertly produced and performed and comes highly recommended for those who like their blues to be gently explored.