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Maniacs In Japan Live
April 2010
Released: 1993, Rock Brigade/Sony
Rating: 2.5/5
Reviewer: JP

Just a quick review to pay tribute to Viper, an (initially) under-rated band that held such amazing promise in the beginning and seemed to throw it all away. A friend recently traveled to Brazil for work and visited the Gallery Of Rock, the Metal-themed, multi-storey shopping mall in Sao Paulo, also featured in Sam Dunn’s documentary film ‘Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey’. Naturally, I commanded (asked politely) my thrash-loving friend to find some more Viper for my collection. Despite his cringing at buying power metal he came through for me and I now am enjoying an original Brazilian pressing of Viper's only live album, MANIACS IN JAPAN LIVE. This was actually distributed by Sony at the time showing how much prestige the band had at the time.

To me this was the beginning of the end, or more specifically the last chapter. Viper recorded this concert in the summer of 1993, at the legendary Citta Club in Japan, the venue for at least a dozen other classic, live metal albums including Laaz Rockit, Vicious Rumors, Heaven’s Gate and many, many others. After this tour the band re-emerged in 1995, with a new look and sound for a pair of albums that all but left behind the Metal of the first three albums and eventually they broke up, or were in a state of dormancy for many, many years. A true fall from grace that saw a brave but ill-advised experiment, lead to the band's downfall. The live album is the only documentation of the band at the height of their power.

The recorded portion lasted just an hour and saw the band doing fourteen tracks including three cover tunes. The sound is unfortunately not as good as other live albums I’ve heard recorded at the same club. The short set length leads me to believe maybe they were opening for another larger act at the time. One of the key components in the success formula in Viper was the voice of Andre Matos. When he left, the band was never the same. Pit Passarell took over the lead vocals and while he was a competent vocalist he really couldn’t match the legendary pipes of Matos. Accordingly, even live the vocal performance falls well short of the albums. Pit tries to interact with the crowd but his thick accent seems to have made it hard to communicate with the Japanese audience.

The band play well enough, providing a sampling of songs from across their three albums and EP to date, but the majority of tunes (7 of 14) come from the EVOLUTION album which they were touring in support of. This live album is quite the rarity today despite being reissued by Massacre Records. MANIACS IN JAPAN is a nice addition to my library but in reality this short, somewhat disappointing live album is for diehards and Viper collectors only.
Track Listing

1. Intro/Coming From The Inside
2. 2 Live Again
3. The Shelter
4. A Cry From The Edge
5. Dead Light
6. Knights Of Destruction
7. We Will Rock You
8. Acid Heart
9. Still The Same (Drum solo)
10. Evolution
11. Nao Quero Dinheiro
12. Living For The Night
13. Rebel Maniac
14. I Wanna Be Sedated


Pit Passarell-Vocals, Bass
Felipe Machado-Guitar
Yves Passarell-Guitar
Renato Graccia-Drums



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