Review Summary: Vicious Rumors step up in intensity and call for a spin within a violent mosh pit, at a venue near you.
Seeing what Vicious Rumors have accomplished since the release of Razorback Killers
album in 2011, one would assume that the music industry got a tad fairer. The high merit of that album allowed the band to tour at venues or open air festivals around the globe and solidified the (then) newly found line-up, as it seems that the all-star crew assembled in Warball
(2006) was more of a solid band kick-start. At some point, the exhausting tours ended and Vicious Rumors had to regroup and translate the momentum built for them into new material of equal (if not better) quality. The wait is finally over and the new album Electric Punishment
, sees Vicious Rumors meeting the aforementioned challenge in full, as the record revolves around everything the band stands for and then some.
For the third time in a row since Warball
, the Bay Area, San Francisco based US power metal veterans arrange and reproduce their trademark sound with the focus lying upon the glorious days of old and albums such as Welcome To The Ball
and Word Of Mouth
. Being way heavier than its direct predecessor, the album constitutes a devastating US power/thrash beat-down fest, whereas this is probably the closest Vicious Rumors have ever got to speed/ Bay Area thrash metal, with acts such as Metallica or Testament coming to mind in certain occasions. Axemen Geoff Thorpe and Thean Rasmussen (with guest appearances from former band members Brad Gillis, Mark McGhee and tour guitarist Bob Capka) are ripping skulls, as their rhythm/lead guitars are balancing aptly between sheer heaviness and melody. The same apply for the rock-solid rhythm section of Larry Howe and Stephen Goodwin. On the other hand, the vocals of Brian Allen have been vastly improved since Razorback Killers
, as his Halford-meets-Dio, high-pitch wailing is fully unleashed and further complemented with a coarser, almost punk attitude (for example, listen to “Dime Store Prophet”).
Apart from the traditional metal icons of Judas Priest and Iron Maiden and the obvious interplay with Bay Area speed/thrash metal, Vicious Rumors had also had a soft spot for hard rock and the blues and Electric Punishment
is decorated accordingly. The blues are evident in traces in the album’s dynamic material (check out the solo shifting the time signatures in “D Block”), while they dominate in tracks such as the more subdued “Eternally”. As for hard rock, while it appears to be moulded with traditional metal raids in power ballads such as “Escape (From Hell)”, it revels in the excellent cover for Kiss’s “Strange Ways” and the arena rock anthem “Together We Unite”, a sincere and heartfelt Thank You from the band to the fans. The previously mentioned songs give a different note on the album, yet Vicious Rumors save one last pack of dynamite just one turn before the end with “Thirst For A Kill”, a heavy/thrash head-banger, destined to be a crowd pleaser.
In their eleventh full length observation, Vicious Rumors step up in intensity and call for a spin within a violent mosh pit, at a venue near you. If anything, Electric Punishment
is yet another example of how a band can be prolifically inspired by its prior legacy, while exploiting the much needed, fan based momentum during live concerts.