Review Summary: Vicious Rumors continue to proudly nod to the old school.
Vicious Rumors, the US power metal veterans from Bay area, San Francisco, California, are a fine example of a metal band that felt the cruel touch of fate in the back, during its course through time. On their way to the top, which was marked by the release of underground US heavy/power metal classics such as Digital Dictator
and Welcome to the Ball
, the band was forced to cope with a terrible tragedy. The band’s singer, and one of the most talented singers to have ever appeared in the heavy/power metal scene in general, Carl Albert, passed away due to a car crash in 1995. Albert’s loss devastated the band, scattered its members across the four point of the horizon, while the 4 albums that followed since, showcased a band marching toward its imminent doom. It was not until 2006 and the release of Warball
, that VR showed vital signs of renaissance. The quality of this record and its commercial success, allowed the band to tour extensively and spread the word. Five years after Warball
, Vicious Rumors come back with Razorback Killers
and continue to nod proudly to the old school.
The sonic impersonation of Vicious Rumors in Razorback Killers
bares infinitesimal differences with respect to their first and most fruitful decade of existence (1985 – 1995). In that light, Vicious Rumors come as close as a metal band can possibly get to the essence of the so-called “US power metal” genre. It’s all about the devastating rhythm section of long-time member Larry Howe and “rookie” Stephen Goodwin that balances equally and expertly between mid and high-paced raids. It’s all about the rhythm guitars of the heart and soul of VR, Geoff Thorpe and new comer Kiyoshi Morgan. Their work stands with one foot on the band’s custom dynamic amalgam that showcases Iron Maiden (an icon band for US power metal in general) as the dominant phase, enriched with small traces of 80’s glam rock. The other (foot) treads confidently on the outer limits of the Bay Area thrash district. As for the lead guitars, words can hardly describe what Geoff Thorpe is doing with his fingers. The outcome reveals an old school shredder (anyone remembers Cacophony’s Speed Metal Symphony
?) that forges intense atmospheres, regardless of the pace that revels within each song. Thorpe goes back in the days when he was bringing the universe down to its knees in Digital Dictator
along with former guitarist Mark McGee, as he aptly suffocates excellent leads within excellent leads, aiming to set the minds of the metalheads in revolt.
Last but not least in the least of all possible sense, comes the great revelation of this record, the new singer Brian Allen, formerly of Malice. Putting it abruptly, Allen is easily as close as it gets in reincarnating the vocal work of the late Carl Albert. His lines, apart from being a tribute from the heart to Albert, are precisely what the band was searching for in order to excel in this regard. In two of the best songs of the album (“All I Want Is You”, “Let the Garden Burn”) the vocals are excellently contributed by Geoff Thorpe. Thorpe had taken over the vocals in rough period for the band (Something Burning
) with questionable results and shows immense progress in that respect.
Baring the aforementioned in mind, it can be implied that Vicious Rumors rehash old patents in their new effort. While this is partially true, the material is executed with such nerve and attitude, that leaves little margin for complains with respect to repetitiveness issues. After all, Vicious Rumors aren’t aiming at reinventing the wheel, as they invented their own years ago. That margin is further narrowed in the light of the sound production which is crisp and clear, although it clearly leans on the digital rather than the analogue bank.
Instead of an epilogue, the refrain from “All I Want Is You” – one of the record’s hightlights – is quoted. There’s no limit
/ There’s no boundary
/ There’s no one who could stop us now
/ You can’t stop a rising sun
. In those verses lies the essence of Razorback Killers
, as well as the will of a company of metal musicians to reclaim their prior status with full force, having luck as their ally this time.