Marta Gabriel is known as a front woman of heavy metal power force Crystal Viper who have just released a brand new studio album, The Cult, on Listenable Records. She’s also a seasoned session musician, and was either a guest on albums, or appeared on stage with acts such as Vader, Manilla Road, Jack Starr’s Burning Starr, Majesty and Witch Cross. Technically, new album Metal Queens is her first solo album, although it’s a very unusual release. Metal Queens is also a celebration and tribute to female singers and female fronted heavy metal acts of the eighties. The original Metal Queens!
Marta Gabriel elaborates:”I didn’t plan to record this kind of album, it actually was a spontaneous idea. And yes, I realise that some people might think it’s quite odd to do a solo album that includes cover songs only. But the idea behind this project is simpler than you think: it’s all about the music, my biggest passion, and about sharing the gift of music. Music makes our lives better and more enjoyable, it adds colours to our grey reality. The whole idea is also connected with my band, Crystal Viper. We simply love recording cover songs, as it’s both our personal tribute to the artists and bands that inspire us, which showed us the way, and we can show our fans where it’s all coming from, what are our roots, from where our musical DNA originates. And it’s the same here, with this album.
When I started to sing in local bands and later founded Crystal Viper, I didn’t try to reinvent the wheel, or start a revolution. I wanted to follow that path I already knew, the path of heavy metal. I was, and I still am, big fan of many both male and female singers. We managed to record bunch of cover songs with Crystal Viper through the years, we recorded songs of acts such as Manilla Road, King Diamond, Exciter, Grim Reaper, Agent Steel and Dokken and as we’ve been doing that for a while, that list is quite long. But when I think about it, the list of cover songs I would still like the record to be even longer. Much longer. I love recording, I love playing, and I love performing. That’s what I wanna do in my lifetime, and that’s what I do. I wrote most of the songs for the eight studio albums and bunch of singles we did with Crystal Viper, and I joined or launched several other side projects, but that’s not enough. I want to do more and more!
These days the term “female fronted metal” is used to describe bands that simply have a female singer, although some people try to suggest it’s a genre, while obviously it’s not. It’s like saying that “male fronted metal” is a genre, or that “American metal” is a genre. Makes no sense, right ? Anyway, the other term that sometimes shows up, is ‘Metal Queens’, and I think it’s very cool, as it shows the respect for the ladies that wave the flag of metal. Our metal scene is of course very male dominated, and the female singers and musicians are often something exotic, something unusual. But as I mentioned, I didn’t try to reinvent the wheel when I started to sing, when I entered this amazing world of heavy metal. There were female singers and female musicians that were doing that before me. They were MY Metal Queens. So the album which you are about to hold in your hands, Metal Queens, was made because of all those reasons, and because I wanted to show the world who are my personal Metal Queens”.
“Kate and Acid, what a great singer and what a great band! Lee Aaron, she later directed her career into different genres, but Metal Queen is such a classic, great song, great album, and one of my favourite music videos. Maryann Scandiffio, the front woman of the New York’s finest Blacklace, what a voice! Leather Leone, one of my absolutely favourite vocalists, I listened to the albums she did with Chastain hundreds of times. Jutta Weinhold of Zed Yago and Velvet Viper – another huge inspiration, and a phenomenal artist. Rock Goddess, featuring the awesome Jody Turner (and her sister Julie behind the drums!) – great ‘heavy metal rock ‘n roll’ act! I remember my husband had a video tape with their live show, and we were watching it again and again. Malteze, with the great Barbara Malteze. Wow, just wow! Outstanding voice. Wendy O’ Williams… I originally wanted to record one of her songs as a potential bonus track, as she was both metal artist and a respected vocalist on a Punk scene, but after we heard how it came out, we decided to keep it in the main programme of the album. Hellion, with the amazing Ann Boleyn. No wonder people called her ‘the female Dio‘, outstanding vocalist! Azuzena (born Azucena Martin-Dorado Calvo) of Santa had no easy life, but her legacy lives on, and I had wanted to record one of her songs for so long… And yes, the fantastic Doro Pesch of Warlock, probably the biggest and most important female fronted heavy metal, and an ultimate inspiration for both myself as a singer, and my band Crystal Viper.
I had such a great time recording all those songs, and so much fun. And of course it was great honour for me, to celebrate the legacy of those fantastic vocalists. I have a feeling that this project is not yet completed, it’s not over, as there are so many more great singers, so many great vocalists out there, and I would love to record so many other cover songs! What do you think, should I? Should I do Metal Queens II ? Time will tell, and in the meantime enjoy this album !”.
Max Overload (Acid)
Metal Queen (Lee Aaron)
Call Of The Wild (Blacklace)
Light In The Dark (Chastain)
Rebel Ladies (Zed Yago)
My Angel (Rock Goddess)
Count Your Blessings (Malteze)
Goin’ Wild (Wendy O’Williams)
Bad Attitude (Hellion)
CD Bonus track:
Mr. Gold (Warlock)
LINE UP :
Marta Gabriel – lead and backing vocals, bass guitar
Eric Juris – lead, rhythm and acoustic guitars, choirs
Cederick Forsberg – drums and percussion, choirs
John Gallagher (Raven) – bass guitar on My Angel
Harry Conklin (Jag Panzer) – vocals on Light In The Dark
Todd Michael Hall (Riot V) – vocals on Call Of The Wild
Metal Queens releases on July 30th.