Aren’t we all sometimes guilty of judging a book by its cover? When I first saw the name VIPERMILK pop up in my mailbox, I couldn’t help but think that, well, apart from me not wanting to imagine whether a viper produces milk or not [ed: wouldn’t viper milk just be “venom”? Is this a VENOM cover band?], this sounds like one of those disco-oriented power metal bands. Don’t get me wrong, I do like those bands, but the scene has been a bit oversaturated, so while I was planning to add this album to our review list, personally, I wasn’t planning on reviewing it. Luckily, we got a recommendation from one of our former Musicalypse friends, suggesting the very same VIPERMILK on the premise of sharing some band members with PSYCHEWORK, and I admit it tickled my curiosity. I instantly remembered I received their promo, allowing me to get introduced to this band and their debut album “Sound Bites,” released on April 16th, 2021.
Now, let me tell you a little bit more about VIPERMILK… The band consists of four people previously known from bands such as the aforementioned PSYCHEWORK, PRIVATE LINE, MACHINE MEN, and ARTO MUNA & MILLENNIUM. While not strictly metal music, the band mixes elements from dance music from the ’80s and ’90s with exciting melodies, aggressive vocals, and thus creating a synergy between industrial (metal), EBM, electropunk, and synthwave. Overall, this makes “Sound Bites” an incredibly diverse album for audiences that enjoy different kinds of music styles: not only fans of PAIN or COMBICHRIST can enjoy this album, but also fans of CARPENTER BRUT and DEPECHE MODE. Now, let’s dive into the music…
The album kicks off with “Every Zero,” starting off with electronic melodies and a laidback drumming pattern, the song immediately shows what sort of a mix of genres you can expect. The most fun about this track is perhaps the critical lyrics that are in stark contrast to the overall positive mood of the track. The intro to next track, “Resist,” instantly takes me back to the late ’90s, from my days playing games on the popular gaming console, SEGA (think Mortal Combat 3). This is a very aggressive track with exciting melodies, but overall dark with a big chorus. The next track, “Evil Heat,” follows a similar pattern, with the difference that this is a track that is more focused on a danceable atmosphere.
If you’re a big fan of the more mellow approach of synthwave, you may love songs like “Nibiru Cataclysm,” a song that has an impressive build-up consisting of laidback soundscapes. However, the intro creates the necessary suspension for the listener to understand the explosive progression towards the end without losing track of its bittersweet synthwave melodies. Not big on mellow tracks but want something to blast out of your speakers so you can dance the night away? The album contains many tracks like that too, such as “New Drug City,” “Crimson Lie,” and “One By One.” The best vocal performance you can find in the title track, “Sound Bites,” one of the many highlights of this album with thought-provoking lyrics.
Altogether, VIPERMILK have crafted an exciting debut effort. While most of the songs follow a mid-paced tempo, there are next to no moments on this album you would want to skip. Blending these different electronic genres means that there is a little bit for everyone to like here. Another surprising feature on this album is probably the challenging lyrics, as they are intriguing, thought-provoking, sometimes angry, sometimes ironic, but you know the band means every single word. The many beautiful and interesting soundscapes create an altogether great atmosphere that will be the perfect soundtrack to the party we’re all going to have once this damned pandemic is over.