Monday, October 10, 2011

Classic melodic rock CD of the week

By Stephen Kasenda

VYPER “Prepared To Strike” (1984)

Vyper is an obscure melodic metal quintet in the vein of Ratt, Dokken, and Keel, who produced two albums under Greenworld/Kondor records in the early 80s. The first one is the "Afraid of The Dark" EP and the other one is this full length studio effort, "Prepared To Strike". What was once sold on the market for a ridiculous price can now be obtained for a reasonable price - two records packed in one album reissued on Retrospect in 2005.

Looking at the original year of its release, you know what to expect. Roaring guitars, some high pitch screaming, thick harmonies, wild solos, and stuffs like that. Christy Black sure can't lie about Ratt's influences here, as his voice is reminiscent of Stephen Pearcy most of the time. And some tracks like "I'm Not Waiting" or "Can't Stop Dreamin'" are definitely in the same league with songs from "Out of The Cellar".

"Diamonds" is a purely explosive heavy metal tune with some great riffage all over the song, but "Dealer" is even better. The song is probably the heaviest track here and Black's hellish scream is the song's highlight. "Cold As A Stone" is flashy commercial melodic rock and had potential to become a major radio hit. "She's Nasty", "Drivin' Me Insane", and "Time Flies" from the EP are also personal favorites.

But I must admit not all tracks are listenable. "Daddy's Girl" or "Nighttime Is Wild" might be acceptable fillers, but "Runnin' With The Pack" or "Climbing Up The Walls" are totally confusing and capture the band at their worst. Such a shame they didn't last for at least another couple of albums like Icon or Hurricane for example. Though most of the songs aren't as great as the first class melodic metal heroes like Dokken or Ratt, "Prepared To Strike" is pretty awesome and undoubtedly a keeper in my book.

Read more of Stephen’s features at MetalMusicArchives.