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Vardis - Vigilante (Reissue)

Vigilante (Reissue)
by Michael "MettleAngel" Franciso at 20 April 2014, 9:02 AM

Formed in the late '70's and championed as one of the NWOBHM acts featured on Lars Ulrich's “New Wave Of British Heavy Metal '79 Revisited Comp.” With the track “If I Were King”, U.K. Favorites VARDIS began their career as QUO VARDIS, paying homage to STATUS QUO. Now for the first time ever on CD, “Vigilante” has been made available thanks to Hoplite Records, and thankfully the band is working on new material, as well.

I must admit I am not too familiar with this act, and I expected some heavier music in the vein of CHROME MOLLY, TYGERS OF PAN TANG, SARACEN, HOLOCAUST, etc. Instead the music is more like MORE, CRYER, and QUARTZ, which is not necessarily a bad thing. This three piece still deliver the goods. They just have more of a Rock edge similar to BTO, BOC, STEVE MILLER BAND, NAZARETH, APRIL WINE, THE GUESS WHO etc. In fact, I also detect a bit of southern influence and a more bluesy vibe similar to the boogie blitz of ZZ TOP or the rough and ready rawness of Molly Hatchet.

The lion share of the songs are not fast or played at 100 M.P.H., but they keep steamin' along with a psychedelic vibe in the vein for which HAWKWIND or KING CRIMSON are most well-known. This re-issue changes the structure and original order of the vinyl released on Raw Power in 1986, and adds one song “Who Loves Ya Baby”, a line often used by the bald-headed lollipop loving Kojak (Telly Savalas). The production is good, and as I listen to my CD I am amazed how some of the music is three decades old.

The opener, “Learn How To Shoot Straight” takes a few rotations before it sinks in, and then things get running smoothly. “Running” races with a MEAT LOAF meets CHUCK BERRY similitude . “I Must Be Mad” has a real Rockabilly tone, but also a touch of early RAVEN. “Don't Mess With The Best” has a recognizable guitar picking, then concludes with a small drum solo. While the gallant “Guitar Hero” is rather engaging, similar to “Jukebox Hero” by FOREIGNER, but not as dramatic or evocative. “Bad Company” has a bit more pump and a tad of AEROSMITH attitude, but ultimately it pays homage to the band of the same name with Paul Rogers, with a  hangover dose of QUEEN, a band Paul would also later front. My favorite track is “All The Worlds Eyes”, this wild song just rocks with a bouncy jubilant sound!

Overall, this is an excellent re-master, and anyone who wants to complete their NWOBHM quota, then be vigilant, for no matter how far this quest may take you, even if this may not be all you will ever need, it will rev you up and get your radio-active heart a pounding and your head rolling.

3 Star Rating

1. Learn How To Shoot Straight
2. Running
3. I Must Be Mad
4. Radio-Active
5. Radio Rockers
6. Don't Mess With The Best
7. Guitar Hero
8. Wild Sound
9. Who Loves Ya Baby
10. Bad Company (The Contract)
11. All The Worlds Eyes
Steve Zodiac –Vocals, Guitars, Backing Vocals
Terry Horbury - Bass
Gary Pearson - Drums & Percussion– Drums
Record Label: Hoplite Records


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Edited 03 February 2023

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