REVIEW: Viperia - The Dying Embers
BlackLava Productions, 2009
Bands, this is how you spend your downtime: rehearse and refine the way Viperia clearly has. The last time I heard this Swedish quartet, it was making a fine but tentative impression with its 2006 demo The Fimbul Winters. All three songs therein are reprised on this eponymous full-length, but are fine-tuned and developed to much greater effect. The band’s sound is varied but seamless: traditional metal that makes passing but committed nods to death, doom, goth, thrash, power and alt-metal without seeming like a grab bag of musical influences. Basically, it’s everything I love about ‘90s Anathema, Soundgarden and Taneli Jarva-era Sentenced: the truism that metal can provide both accessibility and heaviosity without emphasizing one to the detriment of the other. There is still much work needed here in the still-improving vocals department, the mix is unfortunately muffled at times and a song like “F.U.M” is mindless filler. But the eerie, bizarrely Egyptian riffs and classy, shimmering guitar leads all over this thing just bespeak a group that aspires to greatness. You know what? I’m recognizing the greatness, the beauty, the effort and the realization.