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Vicious Rumors - Electric Punishment

Vicious Rumors
Electric Punishment
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein / Angela "The Hunter" / Michael "MettleAngel" Francisco at 15 April 2013, 6:00 PM

STEINMETAL (8/10)

Probably one of the bands that made my Metal universe whole is VICIOUS RUMORS. Along with IRON MAIDEN and METAL CHURCH, the American Power / Thrash Metal gods complete the full portrait of my musical influences that can be summed up with two words: melody and heaviness. It has been two years since fist of wrath called “Razorback Killers”, which also introduced the band’s new banshee screaming tough guy, Brian Allen, VICIOUS RUMORS are here again to fight, kill and destroy with might and violence, yet also with a bit of charm as a thin casing upon their musical gestures. “Electric Punishment”, and the human race badly needs one of those in order to wake and smell the bad odor stocking its pockets with additional filth, via SPV / Steamhammer Records, is smash mouth Metal, kill at will, paying tribute to the 80s and band’s well reserved antics and attitude as one of the lone remnants of the old US Metal scene. Frankly, I desired for an album that would reaffirm the band’s late 80s and early 90s, surely the band’s classic period. Even though my wish didn’t came true, I was still satisfied as VICIOUS RUMORS never let me down and also their guests, the band’s ex-players, didn’t as well.

In a way, “Electric Punishment” pretty similarly mounts the same levels as his former, “Razorback Killers”, demonstrating VICIOUS RUMORS’ fast track will to return to their golden age. At front end of the band, unlike James Rivera, respectfully, Brian Allen has been much more convincing while augmenting so considerably with his relatively diverse voice (From Tim Owens through Chuck Billy, slight of Dio and even Gene Simmons). It has been a while since VICIOUS RUMORS had a melodic vocalist. What can I say nothing could outlast the fortitude of the deceased Carl Albert (R.I.P), but at least Allen seems to be the nearest of the ones that came before him. As for the rest of the band and the material, I believe that it is best to describe the band’s efforts, led by founder Geoff Thorpe and longstanding skin man Larry Howe, as mere power infused with grace. “Electric Punishment” sure feels like an all-out war, a savaged meeting between titans judging by the likes of hammer smashing igniters such as “D-Block”, “Thirst for a Kill”, “Dime Store Prophet” and “Black X List”. The former nearly ripped my heart out, so much force that left my mouth open and reminded me how much I adore this group. I didn’t crack my skull as early blasters as “Don’t Wait For Me” or “On The Edge”, but it just might be VICIOUS RUMORS profound foundation since “Warball”. “Dime Store Prophet” is sure a fist fight to the death, but for some reason it lacked the spark of the former I mentioned. On the other hand, it is one of this album’s heaviest tunes with such an amazing riffing; trust Thorpe the master riffing machine.

Better still, this album also presents different faces of VICIOUS RUMORS other than the constant onslaught of speed and vigor. The slow tempo chugs of the self-titled, “Electric Punishment”, clogged in the vein of BLACK SABBATH and DIO, itched me with chilling cold of “Heaven And Hell”, “Last In Line” and “Holy Diver”, yet heavier than thou, an anthem among the best of them. “Escape (From Hell)” might be referred as a semi emotive ballad, yet develops into an intense ride, a run for it from the shackles of the down under. Allen showcasing a side of him rarely heard in the ranks of VICIOUS RUMORS. “Together We Unite” is this album’s catchiest tune, an anthem in the name of friendship, unification of band mates against the odds forming a future together for the next win, go team. I could feel the passion behind this one. It might be a simple track, pure JUDAS PRIEST kind of “Living After Midnight”, yet slower, but highly mesmerizing. “I Am The Gun”, placed as the opening track, is sort of a near fusion of this entire album. It takes hold in the alley of TESTAMENT then to METAL CHURCH with whipped BLACK SABBATH and IRON MAIDENish sparks, very diverse epic and topped as the first capture to open the gates to this electric circus.  I didn’t find oddities on this release, which made me perplexed, like “Eternally”, an eerie darkened Hard Rock relish that took me off guard, but it turned out to be repetitive and boring. Also there was the cover for KISS, “Strange Ways”. I like KISS and this cover was pretty nice, and quite heavy, but I don’t know, Allen singing like Gene Simmons isn’t the hottest thing around, but at least he kept KISS’s sexy vibe. Generally, this album is a must, get to know VICIOUS RUMORS, the old US guard must be protected.

ANGELA “THE HUNTER” (9/10)

Hail Templars!! I am in awe of the amount of amazing music that is being released over the next few months. What a great time to be a Metalhead! From BLACK SABBATH’s “13”, SODOM’s “Epitome Of Torture”, to VOLBEAT’s “Outlaw Gentlemen and Shady Ladies”, the Metal love is running wild with excitement. Another grand release to add to the list is VICIOUS RUMORS’ latest release, “Electric Punishment”, the 11th full length album from our American brethren. Another fine addition to an already awesome discography.

“Electric Punishment” is a solid Heavy Metal album, combining elements of Thrash and Power Metal to produce a sound that is both expansive yet deep. Brian Allen’s vocal range is really incredible, staying strong and unrestrained throughout the entire album, with the exception of “Together We Unite”, a somewhat throwback ode to the 80s style Rock anthems, with a VICIOUS RUMORS touch. The vocals are almost struggling to maintain the more subdued tone. The guitars are a damn smart match with great riffing and blistering solos galore. Some standout tracks are “I Am The Gun”,
“Escape (From Hell)”, and “Thirst For A Kill”. Last, but surely never least, Howe and Goodwin’s foundation of drums and bass certainly provides a standout framework of musical mastery from which the rest of the music can build upon. Excellent work in every aspect of this release. As a rating I would say a 9 out of 10. Until next time, stay well, and live free!

METTLEANGEL (8/10)

Those razorback killers continue crushing and blitzing the world with three releases in three years! Now they are soon to deliver the “Electric Punishment”. This is another excellent sadistic symphony of delights, and as digital word of mouth is quite favorable, given the Internet dictates, I am confident that this review will corroborate the accolades.

Brian Allen has returned as the voice burning and bleeding, imbued with a true thirst to kill something. Guitar guardian Thaen Rasumussen is restored to former glory - a win for those who hold the memory of his oceans of raging licks, and waves of vindictive solos on “Murderball”, as well as his performance on last year's “Live You To Death”. Here he continues to shred with reckless abandon. Meanwhile, mainstay member Geoff Thorpe is always ever present to raise hell, eternally.

Fans of CHARRED WALL OF THE DAMNED, MALICE, HELSTAR, BALLISTIC, etc, will together unite with the masterminds of these strange wayward, ballistic behaviors. Each song delivers the thunder and reigns supreme. But please, don't wait for me to convince you of this sonic rebellion. Raise your hands for the thrill of the hunt, while living on the edge of rumored vice.

Let us head down to the sonic Temple of the World Church of Heavy Metal where the music awaits. “Electric Punishment” begins with the axe and smash angst and attitude of “Razorback Killers”, while at times paying homage to early LAAZ ROCKIT. The menacing “Black X List” may seduce you to put your head on the chopping block, detaching you from the windows of memory, but the much heavier title track is rampantly running wild with the rite of devastation. This song has so many layers, and Geoff's harmony vocals are faithfully sanctioned with poise and passion. Here his professional skills, musical knowledge, and way around the studio are made evident by the crisp production. Although, my digital promo does sound a bit lower than I expect of the actual CD will sound, as has been the case on previous Steamhammer samplers.

The abuse meant to pack a punishing punch with the fight or flight of “D-Block” heads right into the concrete jungle - a violent playground of mayhem and madness - as the downpour of searing solos suggest. “Escape (From Hell)” is one of the best tracks and truly emphasizes the over keel / dual vocal approach of both Brian and Geoff, with a new high in lows. Brian embraces the Tim “Ripper” Owens effect, while Geoff maintains the mid-range. I am definitely reminded of WINTER'S BANE debut “Heart Of A Killer”.

With the immortal anthem “Together We Unite”, Geoff wholeheartedly intends this to be quite memorable and a future fan favorite. I feel it will truly seal the crest of the “Mascotball”. If you are more open-minded, then welcome to the ballad: “Endlessly”. This song redefines the definition, by breaking your concentration with its slow, dark, pervasive plan to save you from anger. Geoff and Brian's broodingly fiendish choral enhancements replicate with a caustic cerebral sense of malice that is out of the shadows.

As you begin to recover from this merciless fated onslaught of the soul, just then, the blistering winds of “Thirst For A Kill” attempt to liquefy your skull, and forcefully strive to drive a thorn into your killer metal heart. As the dictators of digital ascension are fond of doing covers by PRIEST and SABBATH, it is only fitting that they should honor KISS, as well.

Congratulations to the soldiers of the night, as the ball keeps rolling. Clearly these hard asses are born again with another axe to grind, against the grain. Even in the land of the dead, VICIOUS RUMORS honor the memory of Carl Albert and his lasting legacy. For over three decades, with no break, Geoff and his band of shipshape fools know how to make it real through their words and machines. With balls out excitement, living high on the hog, here is to receiving the “Electric Punishment” we all deserve!

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. I Am The Gun
2. Black X List
3. Electric Punishment
4. D-Block
5. Escape (From Hell)
6. Dime Store Prophet
7. Together We Unite
8. Eternally
9. Thirst for a Kill
10. Strange Ways (KISS cover)
Lineup:
Geoff Thorpe – Guitars / Vocals
Larry Howe - Drums
Stephen Goodwin - Bass
Brian Allen – Vocals
Thaen Rasumussen - Guitars
Record Label: SPV / Steamhammer Records
     


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