Very Heepy Very Purple VII
Released: 2017, Independent
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Avi Rosenfeld is a name I hadn't heard until this review. A musician hailing from Jerusalem, his promo images are the sort that immediately suggest a Yngwie Malmsteen-esque virtuoso, and a look over his plentiful discography highlights an artist who is certainly prolific if nothing else. This might not be quite up to Senmuth or Bull of Heaven levels of productivity, but Very Heepy Very Purple VII is apparently his fourth album this year, and 33rd overall. Hell, in the time it's taken me to experience this album and write up a review it looks like album 34 is already out.
This sort of production speed instantly makes you worry about quality: If someone is making this much music, surely it can't be very good? The honest answer is yes and no. Truly, for how much music Mr. Rosenfeld makes, this isn't bad. I've certainly heard worse albums that took longer to make.
Avi Rosenfeld lists influences like Uriah Heep, Rainbow and Deep Purple (the album title itself even references two of those, though I admit it took me a little while to catch that), and I can definitely hear it. Those artists come to mind for anyone familiar with them even without reading it. It's that kind of classic metal/heavy rock with lashings of cheese, with the Hammond organ/keyboard effects in particular adding a lovely Deep Purple vibe. The vocalists also vary from track to track, and while they're all going for a similar classic rock feel, it does give the album as a whole a bit more flavour.
But above all else what is consistent about this album is that it's both ambitious and passionate. Very Heepy Very Purple VII is a love letter to those classic bands which Avi clearly enjoys so much, and it's immediately recognisable as such. He knows his way around his guitar and knows these influences well enough to emulate them with at least some degree of success. It's very cheesy, and put together amateurishly, but there's also a certain charm stemming from that loud-and-clear love for this kind of music. The good intentions are there, even if it still sounds like a tribute.
Of course, boundless enthusiasm is endearing, but will only carry you so far. Sooner or later the novelty value wears off and you need to back it up with good song-writing, and in this regard the album can be somewhat mixed. The opening riffing in "Rock in Heaven" is so odd I'm not entirely sure if it's deliberate or a botched take, and while the vocalist in that song is doing his damnedest at a Dio impersonation, it doesn't quite come out as grand as he wants it to, held back by poor mixing of those vocals into the rest of it. "Walls of Castle Black" is a solid opener, even if for some reason it mentions figure skating. It's hard not to laugh at "Evil Clown" with its mix of supremely silly lyrics, constantly tweedling Hammond organ and waltz-like riffing. I swear in the middle of it I was seeing images of Dwarves dancing around a tiny Stonehenge...
"Layla's Lover" is the only one I'd say is outright terrible. None of it justifies the epicness with which the vocalist yells "Laaaaaylaaa!" over and over and over again. It goes nowhere, just wiffles along never doing a damn thing except embarrassing itself, like an awkward parent on a dance floor.
It's possible that taking more time over making this music might also produce something of higher quality, but I'm also aware this comes from a place in the world I'm not so familiar with (certainly in terms of this kind of music), so maybe there's just a different approach here. But for how quickly it has been put out, it's really not half bad. There are some unexpected choices, but not necessarily unpleasant ones if you have a stomach for cheesy fun.
For all its faults and thrills alike, Very Heepy Very Purple VII remains a decidedly acquired taste. Some will enjoy it thoroughly, others will fall about laughing. I'd say give a song or two a try: it may well be that the Hammond organ, over-the-top delivery and quirky production will do nothing for you. But there's also a chance you'll find yourself nodding along and having a good time, and that the honest charm will appeal above and beyond the more clumsy aspects on show here.