Vicious Rumors
Welcome to the Ball


4.0
excellent

Review

by Trey Spencer STAFF
August 22nd, 2008 | 19 replies | 7,198 views


Release Date: 1991 | Tracklist

Review Summary: 90s Power Metal that gives a slight nod to 80s rock.

I’m not the biggest fan of power metal; in fact I’m not a fan at all. I can count the number of power metal albums I like on one hand because I honestly find a lot of those bands annoying. I’m sure there are exceptions that I just haven’t heard, but in my experience the abundance of cheesy keyboards, horrible fantasy lyrics and general lack of dynamics are just more than I can deal with. One exception that I am already familiar with, though, is this album by Vicious Rumors. Welcome to the Ball manages to avoid the clichés that are commonly associated with the genre and not only does that make it easier to listen to, but it is also very good anyway.

One of the main appeals that this album has is that it doesn’t just bludgeon the listener with a steady barrage of double bass and speedy riffs for the entire album. The actual truth of the matter is that 90% of this album sticks with a mid-paced, groove-oriented, power metal sound with enough variation to provide a diverse collection of songs. Album opener, “Abandoned” is a good example of what to expect from this album as it showcases the powerful and aggressive, Halford-ish, vocals of Carl Albert over chugging power chords and melodic leads. This song is a great showcase of the more aggressive side of the band, but they are also able to inject a lot of melody into their songs without losing any of the power.

The track, “Dust to Dust”, begins with a clean guitar melody before the power chords come in and introduce what turns out to be a very good, groove-oriented metal song. As it continues on, the powerful vocals of Carl Albert carry it forward with additional melodies and a catchy chorus interspersed with classy dual-guitar harmonies and a melodic solo. Even the two ballads manage to retain the power of the album with “Children” doing the better job simply because “When Love Comes Down” does give a slight nod to those big 80s ballads with its sappy, exaggerated theme of love and cheese. Even though the focus has been on the mid-paced rockers and ballads, the band does know how to pick up the pace when they want to.

“You Only Live Twice” comes out at a gallop and while it never reaches Dragonforce speeds it is still plenty fast. The cool thing is that even when the band does reach these higher speeds the drummer never simply delivers a monotonous pounding. Instead he varies his playing to suit the song allowing it to never sound as if you’re hearing the same looped beat and drum rolls through the entire song. The solo on this song is also worth mentioning as it displays the guitarist’s ability to do more than just shred as it is actually well played with a melodic edge. On the other hand, those wanting at least one song that is just high-speed power metal complete with a solid wall of double bass need look no further than “Six Stepsisters”. This song about sleeping with a woman that has six different sexually-deviant alter-egos is a fun, fast and catchy experience.

Keeping in mind that this album was originally released in 1991, there are some issues that the modern listener is going to run into. The choruses on a few of these songs do take a page from 80s rock as does the occasional riff which sporadically makes it sound very dated (even for power metal). Another issue was already hinted at earlier when I mentioned that this album is by no means “unrelenting” and no song is going to break any speed records. While this album is definitely power metal, the band does seem to lean more towards the metal and less to the “power” part on occasion. That lack of continuous speed and aggression combined with a slight nod towards 80s rock in the occasional riff or chorus may be enough to put some people off, but those people are missing out.

It was a surprise to me to find in the over-saturated genre of power metal a band that doesn’t adhere to all the stereotypes and doesn’t sound vaguely similar to everyone else. I was even more surprised to find that this album had already been around for seventeen years before I found it. While I’m not a fan of the power metal genre, I have heard enough of it to know that this album should be held near the top of the genre, even if it’s partially due to how long it has been around and how well it has aged. Obviously, there are some elements that immediately make it sound dated, but overall this is a good solid power metal album that just happens to lean a little bit towards the metal.



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user ratings (17)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Willie
Moderator
August 22nd 2008



15915 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I had no real intention of reviewing this until I reccomended it on Hawks' list.



Digging: Nero Di Marte - Derivae

BallsToTheWall
August 22nd 2008



44197 Comments


Great review willie, I used to be semi big into power metal then it pretty much went away. I'm on the prowl for good p.m, i'll try to get this and Lost Horizon.]

WILLIE FOR STAFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Digging: My Chemical Romance - Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge

Bleak123
August 22nd 2008



1902 Comments


^^ agreed, willie should be staff

Poet
August 22nd 2008



5923 Comments


good review. I have kind of burned myself out of listening to more power metal honestly. I hardly listen to Kamelot or Blind Guardian anymore, as Lost Horizon is the only main one (never listen to pre Century Child Nightwish much either.)

rasputin
August 22nd 2008



14540 Comments


Great review. However, not a huge love of power metal can be found in cold, dark rasputin.

Willie
Moderator
August 22nd 2008



15915 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

good review. I have kind of burned myself out of listening to more power metal honestly.
Than this might be an album you might like since it doesn't come off sounding the same as every other power metal band.
However, not a huge love of power metal can be found in cold, dark rasputin.
My love for power metal is more like mutual disrespect, but this isn't bad (I still don't think you'd like it though).

rasputin
August 22nd 2008



14540 Comments


yeah, probably not. I only have some Kamelot and Blind Guardian, and tbh that's more than enough.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
July 30th 2010



6011 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cool review.

the first and last two paragraphs say it all about the album's (high) quality.

Trey (and all sputnikers) try to listen to Digital Dictator as well.

That album is a straight 5/5.

Digging: Troldhaugen - Obzkure Anekdotez For Maniakal Massez

Willie
Moderator
September 10th 2010



15915 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Does Digital Dictator have the same vocalist? I know that these guys have burned through a few.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
September 10th 2010



6011 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yes.

Carl Albert sung in Digital Dictator and up to Word of Mouth.

In Digital Dictator, he is exceptional.

DD is easily their best work.

The first two VR albums were recently re-issued.




I'm planning to review all the VR albums with Carl Albert in the near future, except, of course, this, as you already did justice to the album.

Willie
Moderator
September 10th 2010



15915 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cool. This is the only VR album I've ever heard. It was used for 99 cents, so I just bought it because it looked like it could be interesting.

This could always use a second review since this review never really got a lot of attention anyway.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
September 10th 2010



6011 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

99 cents

such a low price for such a high quality album.

This was out of print for ages in Europe and the rare Shrapnel edition copies of it were sold for like 40-50 dollars.

It was re-issued a couple of years ago, for a reasonable price like 10 euros or something.

As for a second review that might drive more attention that yours did, i'm not so optimistic about this...

However, i will make an effort, if i have time :-D.

TheNotrap
March 13th 2012



8042 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Very enjoyable album.
"Children" is my favourite song here.

Digging: Accept - Blind Rage

Willie
Moderator
March 16th 2012



15915 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I love this entire album. It's a staple of my childhood.

coneren
March 16th 2012



11111 Comments


Hi Willie, how are you? Can you make me staff next???Thanks!

TheNotrap
March 16th 2012



8042 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Indeed Willie, the entire album is really good.

Digital Dictator is my favourite though, however I need to check all their work, specially their self titled and Soldiers Of The Night.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
March 16th 2012



6011 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The self titled is not as good as this one or Digital Dictator, but it is great nevertheless.

Word Of Mouth is fantastic, better than the self-titled, but a few (just a few tho) steps behind this and Digital Dictator.

As for Soldiers Of The Night, the band had another vocalist, who was not as good as Carl Albert. Furthermore and imho, the album is plagued by the solo guitar wanking of Vinnie Moore, who left the band after this album.

I hope i find some free time to review some VR albums in the future.

TheNotrap
March 16th 2012



8042 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I trust your word, I will check Word of Mouth.

I already heard Soldiers Of The Night's first 2 or 3 songs and to be honest the first impression wasn't great, however I need to check it properly.

bloc
May 2nd 2013



34780 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Not liking this as much as the average rating would indicate. The guitar solos are awesome but nothing really catching my ear.

I like the self titled album way more than this.

Digging: Interpol - El Pintor



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