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Randy Piper's Animal - Virus (CD)

Randy Piper's Animal
by Grigoris Chronis at 24 September 2008, 12:12 PM

Here is the third album by ex-W.A.S.P. axeman Randy Piper's ANIMAL (or A.N.I.M.A.L. or RANDY PIPER'S ANIMAL…dunno…); their debut - 9000 Lb. Steam - I would not consider as something extremely tasteful, while Violent New Breed (the follow-up) exposed a 'grand spirit' side of Randy and Co. resulting - in between - into bringing tons of smiley icons in W.A.S.P. fans (the vast majority of ANIMAL's fan base, I guess). So, what's up with Virus? Is it worth being infected?
Randy Piper's 52 years old  now. And still rocking? Yeap, he does. Having worked (a little bit) with Alice Cooper shortly after he left the W.A.S.P. camp (played in the band's self-titled debut as well as in the The Last Command sophomore release), ANIMAL's his own brainchild, tending(?) to re-ignite the 80s W.A.S.P. ideals. No, this is not that fair for him, since - in Violent New Breed, in specific - he tried (and managed) to put his own stamp, not only in the songwriting/sound but also in his guitar presentations. And, I think, in Virus he does even better.
To the - critical, for many - third studio album: first of all, the cover artwork would not be some kind of promotional tool, in my humble opinion. Let alone the fact that some lettering as in the 'Virus' word should not easily denote the whole 'inner'. With this thought in mind, by inserting the CD in the player and sitting in 'relax' mode it's apparent the first riff of Cardiac Arrest will build up a general sentence going like this: Hey, that's PRIEST's Metal!. And, probably, the whole CD is 'metal' as well as it's 'hard', with notable melodies lurking here and there. If it's around the W.A.S.P. standards? Yes, it is, but I'd not vote for some 'copycat' status. Virus has its musicians' influences, and that's the basis, resulting nonetheless in some 'personal identity' effort.
Cardiac Arrest is a rollin' thunder with a kick ass riff job by Piper and Laney (ZAN CLAN - also a top producer in Scandinavia). Can't Stop is 'haunted' by singer Rich Lewis' LAWLESS-like performance (you'll check this in general voice 'twists'), in a mid-tempo semi-'new' Rock mode featuring a wonderful shrieking solo. Don't Wanna Die is more happy (in comparison, always!) and reminded me of a what-the-hell mix of MAGNUM and SOUL ASYLUM…spooky and kinda corny…
Crying Eagle speeds things up, with beautiful backing keys and a Swedish atmosphere; a top-loud epic track challenging for the 'top' of the album. Plus, what a nice coherence with the follow-up, UnNatural High, being close to Melodic Rock ideals. A great pair of cuts in a row.
Judgement Day is as W.A.S.P. in mid-pace formulas as it can be, while Who's Next slows things down in some mystique Ozzy-meets-URIAH HEEP-meets-2008 means. A weird track, anti-mainstream and of prowling quality. Even symphonic/pomp, I'd dare saying…
Even if the take on CRANBERRIES' Zombie impressed me in its lead theme beginning, I did not find the 'sing' parts amusing, resulting in some …naaah…. notion. Shoot To Kill is quite melodic and, in the contrary, traps the listener in its rare volume. I 'see' some MAGNUM again here, 'dressed' in metallum suede…unexpected.
L.U.S.T. will send you right over to lunacy: an acoustic 'intro', then the guitars/drums/bass start firing in vague madness, with narrative singing by Lewis and some 'pomp' atmosphere you'll find yourself trapped within. Wish many European 'happy' Power Metal songs had such balls.
Randy Piper (great playing again!) hails from the USA and Chris Laney (in charge of the 'convincing' production, too) comes from Sweden. This collaboration has resulted in another remarkable album. Lewis' vocal abilities I think have been upgraded and that's another benefit. The heaviness of Randy's riffs, the melodies of the Swedman's background…Virus is highly recommended for melodic Heavy Metal fans. Hosts darkness, bears a fresh sound, exposes 'retro' stuff; a good album, a really good album. An album that - overall - rocks.
P.S.: The band will release - as announced - a DVD disc shortly after the CD release. Hey, see a teaser below.

4 Star Rating

Cardiac Arrest
Can't Stop
Don't Wanna Die
Crying Eagle
UnNatural High
Judgement Day
Who's Next
Shoot To Kill
Randy Piper - Guitars
Chris Laney - Guitars
Rich Lewis - Vocals
Nalle Grizzly Pahlsson - Bass
Johan Koleberg - Drums
Record Label: Locomotive Records


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