REVIEW: Randy Piper’s Animal – Virus (2008)


RANDY PIPER’S ANIMAL – Virus (2008 Locomotive)

Randy Piper — not a household name, but astute (or old) metal fans will know the name from the first two W.A.S.P. albums.  He had no writing credits on the W.A.S.P. albums, so I wondered what his band Animal would sound like.  Chris Holmes, after all, has been known to drop a stinker album so why not Piper?

Whether by nature or design, Piper’s Animal at first sounds a hell of a lot like early W.A.S.P. on 2008’s Virus.  I tend to think this is more by design, since producer/guitarist Chris Laney has writing credits all over the place too.  Whatever the case may be, singer Rich Lewis evokes a young Blackie Lawless with his raw vocal stylings.  The riffs tend to be very W.A.S.P.-like in spots.  Then there are moments such as the dual guitar harmony outro on “Can’t Stop” that sounds nothing like W.A.S.P.

One song that sounds very little like W.A.S.P. is “Don’t Wanna Die”.  Even though I can hear The Who at the beginning, and Blackie Lawless is heavily influenced by The Who, this sounds nothing like Blackie.  Rich Lewis morphs his voice into something more individual with power to spare.  His own voice starts to shine through on this pop rock number.  But before the album is in danger of sliding into pop territory comes the song “Crying Eagle” which has more in common with Iron Maiden than W.A.S.P.  Then, “Unnatural High” has the tinkling ivories of a Savatage song.  Incidentally, that’s an awesome song.

The first song that I’m not really into is track 6, “Judgement Day”.  Maybe it’s the “circus music” intro or the return to overly-W.A.S.P.-like songs, I find it a bit of a drop after the excellent “Unnatural High”.  It does boast a solid chunky riff and some cooling rolling drums.  “Who’s Next” is a bit of a low as well.  It’s boasts some adventurous melodies but I’m just not feeling it.

Next up is the elephant in the room:  “Zombie”.  This is not a song about zombies, but in fact a Cranberries cover.  The first time I heard it, I didn’t know it was coming, and I was sitting there thinking, “Cool sounding song, sounds familiar somehow.”  Then a second later I realized what it was.  So that initial impression remains with me.  I see it as a really cool, dark metal song in this version.  Maybe that’s the way it always should have been.  If you can imagine W.A.S.P. meets “Zombie” (yes, such a thing can exist) then you might appreciate this song.

“Shoot To Kill” isn’t a standout song, but it does have a pretty good chorus.  I don’t feel that the chorus fits the pounding riff, but the guitar solo is catchy and cool.  The album ends with the very W.A.S.P.-ish title “L.U.S.T.”.  This is a really cool song, with loads of melody and great vocals by Rich.  It has a W.A.S.P. flavour to it, but with elements that Blackie never would have come up with.

I always like to give a little more info with my reviews, like background on the album or band, but I don’t have any.  Jon from E-tainment News & Reviews knows a lot more about these guys, so I hope you don’t mind if I let him take it from here:

When this album finally came out, Randy had grown his ego huge and as he drinks like a fish he’s gotten paranoid, accusing Laney for taking all the profits for the 1st album, leaving him with nothing. Only there were no profits, Laney had actually borrowed money to make these albums and if it hadn’t been for the fact that Laney worked as a producer and engineer at Polar Studios alongside Lennart Östlund (who has worked with Stones, Zeppelin and ABBA), the album wouldn’t have sounded as good as it did.

It does sound good.  3.75/5 stars.


  1. Cardiac Arrest
  2. Can’t Stop
  3. Don’t Wanna Die
  4. Crying Eagle
  5. Unnatural High
  6. Judgement Day
  7. Who’s Next
  8. Zombie
  9. Shoot To Kill
  10. L.U.S.T.


    1. Well, when you consider the fact that Chris Holmes had quite a lot of co-writes and the over all guitar sound was more or less his and Piper didn’t co-write one single song (hell, even Steve Riley had one co-write), I think that Blackie made the right decision when he fired Piper instead of Holmes.


      1. When I saw WASP after the firing of Piper, I wasn’t impressed with Holmes on stage. Going back then, the reason why Lawless fired Piper in the first place was because he made the transition to rhythm guitar. So, did he really need to fire Piper? What’s wrong with three guitarists? I can think of several very successful bands who achieved this.


        1. He may have only been able to afford 3 band members? I don’t know. I really don’t know much about that period of W.A.S.P. I had no problem when Blackie switched to guitar and picked up Johnny Rod on bass.


        2. He fired Piper because he was a fuck up and he switched to rhythm guitar after that, when they went with Johnny Rod. Another fuck up. But Pipe didn’t participate in the song writing and he hardly played on the records. I don’t hear any difference at all live when Pipe got the boot.
          Ironically, this is exactly what happened with Animal. But I guess this is worse as I think you’d might wanna write some songs and play on the album when the band bears your name…


        3. That’s probably a more accurate name. Piper seems to be the figurehead leader in this band.

          At least Chris Holmes took a shit with his album, but it was his own shit :)


        1. I think that Electric Circus is really underrated. And if you listen to that album and its predecessors, then you’ll find that there isn’t any difference in the guitar sound at all. That’s because it was Blackie and Holmes that played everything on the two first albums as well.


  1. How does a guy have a huge ego when he’s done Nuthin for yrs?
    Crazy that this is product from him after all no writing creds in Wasp and well the last I seen of Randy Piper was at the Winnipeg Arena late 84 (I believe) opening for Krokus and Helix was third on the bill….
    Sounds like he hosed this one guy good(Laney)….
    Have no use for this….
    The Zombie track you posted is not bad but naaaa….


    1. I can tell you why. Because when Pipe finally got his thumb out of his arse and decided to actually restart his career (well Laney did that for him. but…) and RPA got their debut album out, they actually started to get somewhere and they played Sweden Rock for thousands and thousands of people. That was enuff for him to go all rockstar on everyone.
      But Deke, don’t knock this until you try it. You might be surprised.


      1. Yeah I second that motion Deke. Don’t knock it until you try it. Like I said I’ll be hunting down a physical copy. You know I don’t spend my dollars on stuff I don’t plan on listening to.


        1. Well Mike & Jon since u guys know your stuff,I might have to track this one down and give it a spin..who knows Mike talking about the Headless Childern last week made me dig it out of my basement and dump onto my iPod so perhaps you guys are onto sumthin I’m missing…..


  2. It’s such a killer record. I have had it in my iPhone since it came out in 2008 and I still get a kick out of it. To me, this album and the first one, Violent New Breed, kicks almost every WASP album in the butt.
    Really funny that you mentioned Judgement Day as your least favourite, Mike, as it’s my favourite track here. The lyrics are brilliant as well. “I’m here to tell you I’m watching you – God knows cause he asked me to…”.


    1. Well even though I’m working my way backwards I’ll review the first Piper album and compare. This album surprised me quality wise and now I will be on the hunt for an original CD copy!


      1. Can be a toughie as Locomotive did bite the dust just when this album got released. I’ll see if I can help you out somehow.


  3. Interesting! At first glance I thought you were reviewing a wrestler’s album! Well, I know next to nothing about WASP except what I’ve read in these pages, so I’ll take your word for it. Give ‘er!


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