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Velvet Viper – The Pale Man Is Holding a Broken Heart Award winner

Velvet Viper
The Pale Man Is Holding a Broken Heart
by Rachel Montgomery at 08 October 2019, 12:25 PM

VELVET VIPER is a German band that’s been going strong since 1990. Their latest album aims to come full circle with their first, employing thematic elements from old myths and stories, but ramping it up in intensity. Working with the same songwriters, the ramped up the intensity to bring fans their latest.

Things Behind” is an ambient intro with clanking like footsteps and someone saying, “you will feel it when the pale man is holding a broken heart.” The beating becomes more intense as we go into the second track, the first complete song. So far, the scene is set for Gothic/Doom/Industrial Metal.

Gotterdammerung” starts off almost where the last song left off, with acoustic strumming building into the main riff. The ambiance from the first intro re-enters when the vocalist begins to sing. Her voice is clear, and I enjoy how the song goes from soft in the verses to hard in the chorus. The refrain is also noteworthy in the way it slows down and speeds up, keeping the seven-minute song fresh.

All by Yourself” is a traditional, fist-pumping number with a short intro and a simple riff. It’s a solid song and I imagine it would be fun at concerts, especially with the chant of “loving, living, crying, dying” in the background. The guitar solo squeals with some well-placed sweeps thrown in and is icing on the cake of this song.

One-Eyed Ruler” begins with a down-tuned riff reminiscent of Doom Metal. This song has a more traditional Doom Metal vibe with the grungy guitars and dirge-like tempo. The echoing choir elements add a unique touch.

Samson and Delilah” has a short ambient intro before going into the main riff. The near silence of the intro and the structure of the riff seem to play on DIO’s eponymous song “Holy Diver.” The beat is steady, almost like a march, and the ambient music invokes a sword-and-sandal scene, keeping with the Biblical themes in the song. The call-and-response in the first chorus is unexpected, but an interesting touch. The guitar solo is intense, but short.

Confuse and Satisfy” starts like a traditional Power Metal song, with high, down-tuned guitars, fast drums and a soaring riff. The vocals are clear and operatic. It’s a solid song; the melody is engaging and the subtle tricks through the song keep a listener interested, like subtle melody changes.

Something Is Rotten” begins like a ballad with slow, long guitar notes on top of a steady drumbeat, descending into a slower melody. The vocals soar about the melody in intensity in the chorus. The second verse sounds almost like a duet. The guitar solo soars.

Keep Your Head Up” begins with an acoustic chord that builds into a rolling guitar riff. The effect is an anthemic, uplifting song with a waltz tempo that sounds ominous and inspiring at the same time. I also appreciated the way the song dipped from heavy to acoustic and back up again through the song without making big leaps in tone.

Hide Your Fire” begins with a crawling riff an anthemic drums. This is my favorite track for vocals; they’re the clearest they’ve been on this album and they work nicely against the gritty guitars. The chanting in the solo would be fun at a concert.

The Wheel Has Come Full Circle” begins as traditional Doom Metal; I’m not sure how I feel about the theatrical inflection in the singer’s voice in the beginning, though, they sound weird and while they lend themselves thematically, I think it’s a little over-the-top. When it ramps up, it still has some Doom Metal elements, particularly in the chorus, but it incorporates intense guitar riffs in the intro and solo from Power Metal.

The final song, “One Day” is intense with higher vocals, crashing drums, and fast guitar riffs. I enjoy this song as a closer; it’s a technically strong song and captivates my interest throughout. It contrasts with the slow, thematic opening. However, I’ll point out that it sounds like any other track off the album, but that’s what the album’s closer called for: no bombast, no overture of every other song they’ve done, no closing statement.

Overall, the songs are interesting, combining elements of Power and Doom Metal in a way that keeps the listener engaged. Every song is unique and has a different theme or flavor. The production could be a little clearer and a little less 1980s for my taste, but that’s my one problem with the album. Other than that, the songs are solid and if you’re a fan of classic, lighter Doom Metal, it’s worth checking out.

Songwriting: 9
Production: 8
Originality: 8
Memorability: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Things Behind
2. Götterdämmerung
3. All by Yourself
4. One Eyed Ruler
5. Samson and Delilah
6. Confuse and Satisfy
7. Something Is Rotten
8. Keep Your Head Up
9. Hide Your Fire
10. The Wheel Has Come Full Circle
11. One Day
Jutta Weinhold – Vocals
Holger Marx – Guitars
Johannes Möllers – Bass
Michael Ehré – Session Drums
Micha Fromm – Percussion
Record Label: Massacre Records


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