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Vicious Rumors - Warball (CD)

Vicious Rumors
by Grigoris Chronis at 11 November 2006, 12:27 PM

So anxious was I when the promo copy reached my hairy hands, that nothing seemed as crucial as the initial impression from the first notes off Sonic Rebellion. If these US Metal legends' new CD did not blow my speakers now, then slight were the chances for 'em to be put - again - into the Metal 'map'. Thus, the ripping riff from the opening track saved the day and - eventually - stood proud for the whole album.
Vicious Rumors always featured the capability of providing us with Metal music played in a Metal technique an' with a Metal sound. The bad thing(s) was - or were? - that i) they never received a warm label support post-1992, ii) their style was somehow complex/on-the-edge for classic Metal fans whereas Speed/Thrash freaks would judge 'em as 'almost neckbreaking', iii) the band itself - or should we say founding member Gary Thorpe? - showed (post-1992, again) a tendency for - somehow - playing along with the New 'aggresive' Metal rules, consequently letting away many of the die-hard fans, iv) the tragic loss of 'classic' VR singer Carl Albert plus the various lineup changes detuned the camp, leading to a variety of unstable decisions and directions.
Still, the release of Warball crated much anticipation from the very beginning. From one point of view, last year's Crushing The World DVD reminded us of what a 'shaping' band Vicious Rumors have always been while - on the other hand - the announced 2006 lineup was capable of showing its teeth to the starving Metal world. Yeap, with the ecstatic James Rivera (Helstar, Destiny's End, Flotsam & Jetsam(?), Seven Witches, Distant Thunder, Killing Machine) behind the mic plus the recruitment of 'oldie' members Dave Starr and Larry Howe, it eventually was the addition of extraordinaire axeman Brad Gillis (Rubicon, Night Ranger, Ozzy Osbourne) that pumped hard our veins for what the helluva album this lineup would now issue. Phew…
The Santa Rosa, CA band's first four albums - Soldiers Of The Night (1986), Digital Dictator (1988), Vicious Rumors (1990) and Welcome To The Ball (1991) - are essential for the Priest-'influenced' US Metal fans. With a series of 'just good' releases that followed, 2001's Sadistic Symphony did mark the latest studio effort from a majestic band that - however - needed the 'kiss of life' to carry on. And, hell yeah, Warball may it be. No better move would Thorpe make than inviting back some classic members plus finalizing the blend with two 'oldie' Hard & Heavy maniacs.
Form the very beginning of the furious Sonic Rebellion to the ending chords of Oceans Of Rage, this album kicks ass! It really does. Roaring vocals from Rivera, clean yet steely, do put you in the game no questions asked. Leaving behind some 'scareful' technique he tried lately - for those who know - he returns to the 'classic' high-pitched US Metal singing and no merest sample than his performance in e.g. A Ghost Within can we get to be convinced. The bass/drums duo - in respect - seems to remember their typical art - and even harder, I add - with great chemistry and roaring tempos of all types. The 'classic' VR riffing is again present, with Thorpe exposing his clear tranquility now that the lineup is fixed, hence considering what ass-kicking chords he did create in the first Rumors' days. Immortal, Warball and Oceans Of Rage prove so. Last but not least - since he participated as a guest in this album, before joining the squad permanently - see Gillis' lead guitar playing in songs #1,2,3,4,9 and then clarify your impression on his capability with any band/style..
The new album is a 'fresh' set of solid Metal tunes. With the production (not to forget) fitting like a glove, Warball's tracklisting - omitting the mediocre Windows Of Memory - cries out 'here I am, grab me you muthafucka!'. Unless you are continuously interested on who the new singer in Nightwish may be or when Varg 'Count Grishnackh' Vikernes will get outta jail to burn what church's left in the wider Bergen area , you have no excuse to leave this album get off your 'iron' hands. A grand 'strike' by a huge band.

4 Star Rating

Sonic Rebellion
Mr. Miracle
Dying Every Day
Wheels Of Madness
Windows Of Memory
A Ghost Within
Oceans Of Rage
Geoff Thorpe - Lead, Rhythm & Acoustic Guitars, Backing Vocals
James Rivera - Lead Vocals
Larry Howe - Drums, Backing Vocals
Dave Starr - Bass
Brad Gillis - Guest Lead Guitars
Thaen Rasmussen - Guest Lead Guitars
Record Label: Mascot Records


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