Velvet Viper – Respice Finem
Label: GMR Music Group
Reviewer: Manos X
Velvet Viper must be one of the most unexpected returns to the music world. For those who don’t Velvet Viper were formed around in 1990 Germany after singer Jutta Reinhold left Zed Yago while having released two albums with them. In fact Zed Yago had a hit song called “Black Bone Song” that was frequently aired on MTV something highly unusual considering that they played balls on classic metal something that was never really appreciated by radio and tv stations over the globe.
Anyway Velvet Viper released two albums before calling it quits in 1993. Their style was and still is classic metal influenced by bands like Dio, Black Sabbath, Rainbow, Accept just to mention a few. Jutta’s vocal style is as unusual as it was back when she started. A cross between a less gritty version of Leather Leone (Chastain, Leather) with epic side of the great Ronnie James Dio. The result unique and immensely powerful something that’s rare even to these days. With the exception of Noora Louhimo and Nitte Valo (current and ex singer of Battle Beast), and Doro Pesch (Doro, Warlock) at least to my knowledge I am not aware of any other singers performing in that style. Most of the singers these days prefer to growl, or sing in a semi operatic style and rare dare to venture into this type of performing.
There is something worthy of noting here. Jutta belongs to the first generation of these singers. Her first recordings goes back to 1974 and she was definitely active some years before that since she was born in 1947 making her at the age of 71 one of a handful active metal musicians!!!
So what can we expect from Velvet Viper’s new venture? All the influences that I mentioned describing their previous albums are still there. What we get is classic metal in the vain of Accept, Dio and Black Sabbath. Mostly mid tempo songs with few exceptions like Law of Rock and Fraternize with Rats.
Musicianship is on a good level. All instruments are more or less or the same level. Guitars, bass and drums are well performed but unfortunately nothing stands out. It would be a lie saying that if that album didn’t feature Jutta’s voice it would mostly go unnoticed. One of the main problems with Respice Finem is the lack of songs that stand out. No memorable riffs or adventurous songwriting which is exactly what is needed when you have voices like Jutta’s who requite exactly that to shine.
Jutta’s delivery is as strong as ever, and if it wasn’t for some high pitched singing that sounded a little bit flat I could never believe that there is a 26 year old gap between the last Velvet Viper album.
Another thing I must mention is the old fashioned production of the album. With all respect to the monsters (and masters) of the past like Rainbow, Black Sabbath that created monumental albums in the ‘70s that time is long gone now. Bands like Saxon, Accept, Judas Priest who were active from that era have decided to update their sound without sounding djenty, nu metal, metalcore or whatever. Unfortunately Velvet Viper sound dated and as mentioned before if it wasn’t for Jutta’s voice this album would have gone unnoticed.
In conclusion, if you consider a die hard fan of Jutta’s singing (like me) or desperately searching for something that sounds old fashioned then yes feel free to go for Respice Finem.