Viva – “What The Hell Is Going On!” (1981)

Viva!  The album is called What The Hell Is Going On!.  Seems to me that a punctuation error in the album title is what the hell is going on.  But this band operated out of Hannover, Germany so English wasn’t exactly their specialty.

What The Hell Is Going On! was Viva’s second album.  It was released by CBS Records.  The line-up on What The Hell Is Going On! included Barbara Schenker (sister of Michael and Rudolf Schenker) on keyboards.  She was also the band’s principal songwriter.  Viva’s vocalist was a Swiss/Italian named Marco Paganini, who later formed his own band called Paganini after leaving Viva in the mid-eighties.

My Worthless Opinion:  When I think of German heavy metal in the early eighties, Scorpions and Accept immediately come to mind.  But let us not forget about some of the lesser known contributions from bands such as Trance and Viva.  Here in America, Viva are pretty obscure.  I don’t think the Viva albums ever saw official release in America, so that probably has a lot to do with their obscurity.

There’s a lot to love about What The Hell Is Going On!.  I love the crunchy guitar tones and some of the smooth, quality leads.  (Viva had two guitarists, so I apologize but I’m not sure which guy was responsible for which guitar part.)  Barbara’s keyboard embellishments are pretty cool, too.  (Seriously, I like keyboards with my metal sometimes.  Sue me!)  Marco Paganini sings with a very thick accent, and he has one of those raw, street urchin voices that so many German metal bands seemed to prefer in the ’80s.  He’s not bad.

Killer tracks include What Next (nice melodic guitar lines throughout), Break Out (a very catchy chorus that seems to come out of nowhere) and a fine ballad called Screaming For Your Love.  The album’s last track is an ode to cocaine called White Snow.  This is another fave.  It features a driving beat, some great keyboards, and a some cool percussive riffage.  My score: A-


2 thoughts on “Viva – “What The Hell Is Going On!” (1981)

  1. Thansk for the review. I had this album when it was first out here in the USA and for some unknown reason the band name came into mind, so I found your website as a result. Do you have a source where I can buy this CD? Thanks.

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