Night Viper – Exterminator (Listenable)

Monday, 16th October 2017
Rating: 9/10

Much like the resurrection of thrash, it shouldn’t really be shocking to the world that the roots of heavy metal rev up now and again. Flying V’s, galloping riffs, soaring vocals, and that electric energy that excites audiences – it’s all here and more courtesy of Night Viper. Active for a scant three years, the quintet do have experience abound, especially with guitarist Tom Sutton in his time with Church of Misery and current duties for doom act The Order of Israfel. Following a self-titled debut album on Finnish label Svart Records, the band move over to Listenable for the second effort Exterminator – and it’s easy to hear why there’s a buzz swirling about this act based on numerous spins of this material.

Singer Sofie-Lee Johnansson deserves credit for her bluesy range and propensity for keeping up with the high-powered riffs at a similar pace. Check out how she rears up the upper echelon, almost ready to burst blood vessels during the concluding moments of the title cut – then settles back down into a comfortable, mid-tempo groove a la AC/DC for “On the Run”, with a suitably exciting emotive lead break workout during the instrumental section from Tom and fellow axe slinger Johan Frick. The punk-like, quick hitting intensity for “Going Down” at under two minutes proves Night Viper can cut to the chase, while Maiden-esque maneuvers in that early spiderweb way where drop on a dime time signature parts were their calling card makes “Lady Bad Luck” another favorite. The production quality/tones revert back to the analog age – especially in terms of the rhythm section, where you don’t feel much triggered or sampled action taking place from bassist Ruben Persson or drummer Jonna Karlsson. Ample evidence for the bottom end duo’s power occurs in the opening sequence for the UFO-esque “Revenge” or up-tempo salvo “No Escape”, where Sofie once again slinks in and out with bluesy/metallic confidence.

And most won’t mind the nicks of certain riffs or feels to early Metallica with the main riff sequence on “Summon the Dead” – because Night Viper mix up the drumming and melody lines to make things their own. By the time the longest track “All That Remains” concludes Exterminator (the acoustic touches giving the listener dynamic relief), you get the feeling that even in 2017, the book of traditional metal hasn’t been finished quite yet. Another exciting release from a prolific Scandinavian scene, hoist those leather-clad studded arm plates high in the air for this aural feast.

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