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Vyper > Afraid of the Dark > Reviews > Brainded Binky
Vyper - Afraid of the Dark

The viper never fears the dark... - 85%

Brainded Binky, February 26th, 2015
Written based on this version: 1985, 12" vinyl, Greenworld Records

We've had more than a dozen bands in the 80's that had questionable fashion tastes. Permed hair and bizarre outfits were just as common for more traditional metal bands then as the "emo"-hair and t-shirts with psychedelic cartoons so bright they could damage your eyesight are for the trendy metalcore kids today. Even so, a bad outfit shouldn't distract us from the music itself, such is the case with Vyper. The cover of their final release, an EP called "Afraid of the Dark", shows them with Motley Crue-esque outfits and hairstyles, but the music on the EP suggests a lot more than just a flashy appearance.

Put the needle in the groove of this EP, and you're in for a treat. You'll be treated with some of the most powerful sounds from the most forgotten bands of the 80's. The title track is a grinding, hard rocker that's heavier than any Motley Crue song released at the time. Not only that, but the hook is somewhat catchy, albeit somewhat formulaic. Sometimes a formulaic hook can catch the attention of any listener, and in this case, it's got me hooked. Now, I normally don't appreciate songs with generic hooks, but as long as they sound good, as they do here, I'm cool with it. Wait, there's more! "Time Flies" is something we'd never expect to come out of a band that looks the way Vyper does. It's a song with a faster time signature than most bands would do, and thus it contains more energy. I know the song's lyrics aren't really anything that suggest a fast tempo, but come on, it's fast enough for us to really headbang to, right?

Addicting as the songs may seem, the EP is not devoid of problems by any means. Believe it or not, the guitarists play solos that resemble those played by beginners. It seems that the lead guitarist is either fooling around with the tremolo arm, or simply tapping everything. The solo in "Diamonds" is perhaps the best example of this. Okay, I don't mean to bash the lead guitarist, it's just that in order to produce some very effective guitar solos, he needs to learn some new tricks. Here, it seems that he hasn't really gone beyond the pentatonic scales. Maybe a harmonic or melodic minor arpeggio could spice up the solos. That's not what we hear here. The crazy thing is that Vyper had already released a full-length only a year before this EP, so you'd think they'd be able to give us some cool stuff.

Beginner's solos aside, Vyper's "Afraid of the Dark" is one of those forgotten gems of bands that never quite made it. Then again, if Vyper did make it, it would've had to ditch the heaviness found on this EP in place of more commercial junk, right? Judging by their tacky appearances, you'd think that they'd be likely candidates for MTV material. On the other hand, it's sad that this band didn't get the recognition it deserved. As a result, the chances of finding this EP at any conventional retail outlet in the U.S. are very slim, and I was very lucky to get my hands on it.