Disillusionment almost destroyed Norwegian death metal juggernaut Vredehammer on the eve of Viperous, their strongest offering to date. What started out in 2011 as a solo project – a “joke”, in the words of mastermind Per Valla – had by the release of their Norwegian Grammy-nominated debut Vinteroffer turned serious. During the touring cycle for 2016 follow-up Violator, however, the band were ripped off by several agents and promoters. “I was completely fed up; I didn’t want to do it anymore,” Per laments. During brief stints as guitarist for Abbath and Nordjevel, he continued to write for album three, but given the obstacles already faced, he wasn’t optimistic.
Viperous is a snake pit of memorable riffs, all taking turns to stick their fangs in amidst ceaseless percussive battery, a brutal modern death metal record with a retro-horror twist. Viperous’s lyrical content was inspired by Stephen King, of whom Per is a massive fan, and evoked in swathes of venomous synth. “I’ve tried to catch the 80s horror vibe,” Per enthuses, “I like Stephen’s books a lot, it’s plagiarism all the way!”
Released in March 2020, the record racked up 250,000 Spotify streams in just 12 days, much to Per’s delight. However, with touring delayed due to the pandemic, Vredehammer are once again in a frustrating position.
“If the material is strong enough, people will still remember us,” reasons Per. “But for now, Viperous is going to have to be a big boy and look after itself!”
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