"Respice Finem" (GMR Music Group; 2018)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

In a sense, Velvet Viper has been around since 1990 (with some spaces missing here and there) but the band has always been founded behind the amazing voice of lead singer Jutta Weinhold. So we're going to start with her.

As you listen to Velvet Viper's "Respice Finem," it is Weinhold's voice that strikes you from the very first track. The slow-building number, "Dont Leave Before Wintertime" grabs you and holds you, and sets you up for what's to come. Weinhold's voice is similar to the legendary Ronnie James Dio in the sense that it's a voice that could sing in virtually any genre (in fact, Weinhold was originally a blues singer) but a voice that gives heavy metal even more noble power.

Of the 11 tracks on this CD, most are fast-paced rockers with a big sound, not only with Weinhold's voice but the music that surrounds it. Even when things slow down, such as on the tracks "Ogaydez," "Raven Evermore" and "Stormy Birth," the guitars and rhythm section give the songs a real heaviness. These are epic heavy metal songs, in lyrical and musical sense, both, and they will have you banging your head happily. It might be the fact that the the CD's producer is the amazing Kai Hansen of Helloween and Gamma Ray fame and he knows a little bit about giving an album some raw power.

The CD also features a couple of mega-tracks with the title track running at just over ten minutes, and the final track, "Loherangrin-Lohengrin" sitting at almost eight (and I challenge you to listen to the latter and try to imagine Dio singing in place of Weinhold ... it's not as difficult as you think). The guitar work in this last track needs to be commended as well, driving the song forward with crushing riffs and spiralling solos.

Overall, any fans of "Last in Line"-era Dio are going to find something to like about "Respice Finem" as well.

Velvet Viper: Jutta Weinhold - lead vocals; Holger Marx - guitar; Fabian Ranft - bass guitar; Micha Fromm - drums.

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2019 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.