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Vardis – Red Eye

Red Eye
by Anton Sanatov at 22 July 2016, 2:32 PM

In our modern times, we are often found longing for aesthetics of the old. This is especially common in the Metal community, where one can always hear some tortured moan that is aching for the return of former trends.

Many a band attempt to fulfil these nostalgic cravings…putting out new records with old tricks like a harlot on a roll. Alas, a drop of anti-freeze in grape juice doesn't make it a vintage red. And although some bands do occasionally to capture that critically acclaimed antiquated essence of older days, a lot of times it takes a truly seasoned band to bring back the full-bodied taste of former harvests; and that is exactly what VARDIS are doing on their latest release "Red Eye".

It has been a while since VARDIS have taken to the studio, and as the fog clears they step out into the spotlight and sink their hooks into the listeners with their splendid blend of early British New Wave Metal and the bluesy, southern steel strutting of Johnny Winter - with a particular nod to latter towards the end on the "Rollin' n' Tumblin" inspired slide jam "Hold On"; but let's take it from the top.

The album opens with the ominous  "Red Eye", a grungy, heavy-handed number that could very well be the grandfather of ALICE IN CHAINS' "A Lesson Learned" (off "Black Gives Way to Blue"). However, things then lighten up and the band hop onto the groove wagon with hop-scotch Blues Rock riffs of "Paranoia Strikes" and "I Need You Know", which demonstrate some very quirky, but nonetheless great, stylistic traits with a mix of British Punk and Texas Blues; just picture ZZ Top popping over to London for a pint.

Yet above all, "Red Eye" is pure Rock 'N' Roll; that on-the-road blood-shot Jack Kerouac meets the Stones and throws a TV off the stage at Donington kind of Rock 'N' Roll. "Lightning Man", "Back To School" and the sleek, solo anchored "The Knowledge" demonstrate pure, honest values of the enduring genre.

The songwriting is simply great. There are no excesses or ostentations, just top-notch songs with consistent instrumentation, solid compositional principles and catchy vocal lines. The production achieves exactly what it sets out to do; and that is to deliver a record that sounds exactly how it would have were the band to release it back in their ‘heyday’. Yes, it makes use of modern technology to give it some depth and range, but it also has that stripped down, vinyl oriented sound of a 70's recording; heavy on the reverb and with an air of a live recording.

Overall - this is a blast from the past. The "old-school" is an institution that gets mentioned a lot in this industry, but "Red Eye" turns it from myth to reality. If you're a fan of classic Heavy Rock, VARDIS invites you to step into the time machine and witness the invention of steel.
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

  1. Red Eye
  2. Paranoia Strikes
  3. I Need You Now
  4. The Knowledge
  5. Lightning Man
  6. Back To School
  7. Jolly Roger
  8. Head Of The Nail
  9. Hold Me
  10. 200 M.P.H.
Steve Zodiac – Guitar/Vocals
Joe Clancy - Drums
Martin Connolly – Bass
Record Label: SPV/Steamhammer


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