Vyper-Prepared to strike
I remember hearing the track “Diamonds” by Vyper on a local late night metal radio show and thinking “this is cool, but I've never heard of them”. I think a number of people who heard this Kansas City, Missouri based band thought the same thing. They came in fast having formed in 1983 and then released their “Prepared To Strike” LP in 1984 and the “Afraid Of The Dark” EP in 1985. However, not long after the EP their label folded and the band would eventually break up not long after that. So they came and went rather fast, but they have always had a bit of a cult status as they obviously made an impression on a number of fans. Well, the band is apparently back together as they are set to play Rocklahoma this summer on a side stage. Also both the LP and the EP, plus a demo track of their shredder “Dealer” is now officially available on CD for the first time. So if we pull away all the years, the rumors and the mystery, were these guys any good? The answer is yes, they were good although I think would also add them to a short list labeled “80’s bands who I wished had done at least one more album”. I say this because I think that not only were they solid, but they were improving right before they broke up as the new songs on the EP had them moving forward. Vyper kind of rode the line between hard rock and metal as perhaps half of their songs would wind in each of those categories as they sounds little like a cross between Dokken and early Y & T. The lyrics were of the high cheese variety and the music was sometimes a little repetitive. However Christy Black was a fine singer who could nail the melodies and bring a hard edge when called upon as well. The guitarists impressed me most with their solos which avoided the typical flash and dash style that was so popular and really hit on some memorable rhythmic patterns instead. It’s too easy to “what if”, such as what if these guys were on a larger label or had moved to bigger market well maybe it would have turned out differently for them because they had the talent. At least now we are getting to hear their music at long last on CD.