Randy Piper's Animal-Virus
Former WASP guitarist Randy Piper returns with his band's latest which was produced by the band's other guitarist Chris Laney. As the opener "Cardiac Arrest" comes barrelling on it's easy to see that Piper is still sticking to a similar style that WASP used way back in their early days. In fact a good portion of "Virus" contains a similar sound to "The Last Command" album and that is just fine with me. Vocalist Rich Lewis reminds me of a cross between Blackie Lawless and Ronnie James Dio. Some of the more mid-paced songs also show a Dio influence in the music with a sound reminiscent of the "Sacred Heart" album. The biggest surprise here might be their decision to cover the "Zombie" by the Cramberries. However they handle the challenge very well and transform into a solid metal tune. To my ears the major difference between Piper's current band and WASP is that Animal use melodies more often and this approach certainly helps a great deal. The writing and playing are extremely tight and focused throughout the ten tracks on the album. The band takes a very direct approach as they charge into many of their songs. This album reminds me of an album that could have been done in the mid to late 1980's although that's certainly not to say that it is dated. Actually it's a solid slice of 80's style metal that comes during a year that is lacking those kind of albums. Good to see Randy Piper and his band hitting their stride and this disc will be getting a lot of spins in my player during the upcoming weeks.