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Vice - Vice (Reissue)

Vice (Reissue)
by Mark Machlay at 16 February 2021, 6:45 AM

VICE was a heavy metal band from Corona, California that grew out of a cover band by the name of LIVING SIN. They did primarily European metal such as JUDAS PRIEST, SAMPSON and BLACK SABBATH. LIVING SIN contained the core members that would go on to form VICE – singer Lester Davidson, drummer Ruben Nunez and seemingly the main cheerleader and guitarist Jim Brookshire. Brookshire met Doug Baker, “one of the best players from our local area”, sharing a love of the Irish rock band THIN LIZZY that would soon bring the boys together to create a band of their own. Baker would be the most fortunate member of the group, going on to play with Jeff Scott Soto in a band called KUNI after VICE would break up. Davidson, Nunez and Brookshire would resign from LIVING SIN and form a band with Baker named PRODIGY. The material they were writing was fast and progressive but to fill up a setlist the band would often play covers such as “Emerald” by THIN LIZZY, “Ogre Battle” by QUEEN and “Symptom of the Universe” by BLACK SABBATH. Soon, they met John Guinn who was also writing similar material and they brought it together, changed their name to VICE and got to work recording.

Guinn would then introduce the band to producer Rodney Reil and Kevin Bowman – the latter would go on to become the band’s manager. VICE would write, record and release their one and only self-titled EP in 1984. The EP was able to gain them enough notoriety to get a lot of gigs locally and even out towards Los Angeles. They would play of the same bill with their childhood heroes UFO and PAT TRAVERS as well as GUNS ‘N’ ROSES, POISON, GREAT WHITE, YNGWIE MALMSTEEN, KEEL, KING COBRA, and MALICE. The EP would be a mix of NWOBHM, thrash, and European power metal. Cult Metal Classics has dug up that old EP and released it this past year on CD for new generations to discover and enjoy as well as adding some rough recordings of six others songs. The band did manage to stay together long enough to release the full-length “Under Cover Lover” in 1992 but have since vanished.

Overall, this album should only appeal to the deep completionists that are on the lookout for anything rare or hard to find. Past the first four songs that were first released on the EP, the production dips in quality significantly and it wasn’t the greatest, even for the 1980s to begin with. There are some interesting moments where vocalist Lester Davidson sounds less like an Axl Rose clone and shows off his range in a great KING DIAMOND impression on the DIO-esque “Feel the Fire”. Even the opener “Two Wheel Thunder” has a bit of funky beat behind it that suitably drives the music forward, keeping my interest for a little while. But once you hit “Armies of the Night” it really becomes a bit of a mess, the only saving grace being the drums still have a bit of bunch to them. It was a relic of the mid-80s and personally, I think it should have stayed there.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 5
Production: 5

3 Star Rating

1. Two Wheel Thunder
2. Battlecat
3. Feel the Fire
4. Stalker
5. Armies of the Night
6. Call to the Glory
7. Get a Grip
8. No Law
9. Sword of the King
10. The Slaughter
Doug Baker – Bass
Ruben Nunez – Drums
Jim Brookshire – Guitar
Scott Peck – Guitar
John Guinn – Guitar
Lester Davidson – Vocals
Record Label: Cult Metal Classics


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