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Velvet Viper - From Over Yonder (Reissue)

Velvet Viper
From Over Yonder (Reissue)
by Kevin Lewis at 25 August 2020, 5:36 PM

VELVET VIPER is a German band that is part new entity and part continuation of Jutta Weinhold’s earlier band ZED YAGO. “From Over Yonder” is one of two re-issues coming out this year from the ZED YAGO era. Massacre Records is handling the re-releases, both of which just hit on August 21, 2020. Originally released in the late '80s, this is three decades old, yet does not feel like it.

Lyrically, most of the songs have a fantasy feel to them. This is right in the power metal wheelhouse and fits well. Starting with “The Spell From Over Yonder”, this is immediately recognizable as fitting in the Power/Heavy Metal genre. Two guitars and playing together and in counterpart like so many signature riffs from the German leaders like ACCEPT and HELLOWEEN show their roots. The sound is classic '80s and I’m here for it!

“Queen And Priest” is a perfect example of the Power Metal feel. A subdues bass line sitting under the guitars and a drum beat leaning heavily on the cymbals cannot be more anticipated in a song like this. Anticipated and welcomed. Never kicking up that notch as you might expect, the tempo and rhythm stay consistent and pleasant. This is a solid hard rock anthem type song. “United Pirate Kingdom” has the lead in and the slow, plodding beat much like “Queen and Priest” but has a bit more elevation and crescendo to show off.

Jumping down to “Rebel Ladies” we hear the chugging riff with the awesome background music that just drives the song along at the right pace and never gets in a hurry to do anything other than surround you with sonic goodness. Finishing off the original record is “Rockin’ The Nation”, that song that makes you stand up and raise your fist in the air. The guitar riff just hangs out and keeps you ready to reach for the sky. The drum beat slowly builds, the bass lurks under the tempo and leaves you feeling satisfied.

The most obvious comparison for this band would be WARLOCK/DORO PESCH. The band is structured the same and even sounds similar, though they are not a copy. Jutta does not go for the wild, high notes that Doro is known for. She does have the gravel in her voice when needed and is clean and light when required. She definitely has a good range. The band is skilled, probably even more so now, since this is a remastered 30-year-old disc. This is the early material for this band and I bet they got even better than they were at this time.

I had to listen to this record a number of times to form the right words for this review. I am not a huge fan of re-releases as they often are just a re-working to change the feel of the original and attempt to make it new, or dusted off master tapes with nothing done to them and a few extras thrown in. This is different. They took the time to treat the songs right. I went in with a bias and VELVET VIPER changed my mind. This is a really good record that deserves all the attention is can garner. I will be listening to more of them, especially their newer stuff to hear how much they grew in the last three decades.

Songwriting:  7
Musicianship:  8
Memorability:  8
Production:  8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. The Spell From Over Yonder
2. The Flying Dutchman
3. Zed Yago
4. Queen And Priest
5. Revenge
6. United Pirate Kingdom
7. Stay The Course
8. Rebel Ladies
9. Rocking For The Nation
10. Rebel Ladies (Live München Theaterfabrik 1989)
11. Rockin’ For The Nation (Live London Hammersmith Odeon 1989) (Bonus Track)
12. The Schmied (Bonus Track)
Lineup:
Jutta Weinhold – Vocals
Wolfgang “Tatch” Mirche – Bass
Claus “Bubi The Schmied” Reinholdt – Drums
Gunnar Heyse – Guitar
Jimmy Boehlke – Guitar
Record Label: Massacre Records
     


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