VICIOUS RUMORS – LIVE YOU TO DEATH

Released 26th November 2012 on SPV/Steamhammer

Vicious Rumors hit the ground running with their debut album “Soldiers Of The Night”.  Follow up “Digital Dictator” received high critical praise as well, but somehow the band never connected with the masses.  Then the nineties hit and, like so many, Vicious Rumors were consigned to the underground.  Several albums followed with an ever changing lineup, some quite good, some rather mediocre.

“Live You To Death” demonstrates where Vicious Rumors stand today. Tight, professional and driven the band delivers a set of old school power metal (not the fairy variety of the 21st century), larded with blistering twin guitars and vocal histrionics. With a focus on the earlier material, the band takes no prisoners

The scorching rendition of opening tracks “Digital Dictator” and “Minute To Kill” puts most bands to shame.  Newer tracks like “Murderball” or “Let The Garden Burn” fit seamlessly though, testifying that the band doesn’t need to rely on former glories.

The inclusion of “Soldiers Of The Night” was a pleasant surprise, as this album seems to be somewhat overlooked in the Vicious Rumors discography, not helped by Vinnie Moore’s criticism no doubt.

Current singer Brian Allen is a perfect foil for the material, and a welcome step up after the almost obligatory James Rivera years.

Production is excellent, edgy and crisp, even if the guitar tones sound a bit over processed.

The album ends with studio recordings of a couple of covers : Sabbath’s “Sign Of The Southern Cross” and Priest’s “Running Wild”. While both are fine takes on the material, I would have preferred some more original live material.  Unavoidably, tackling these tracks will expose any limitations your singer has…

Support real metal, buy this album!

Rating – 90%
Review by Sancho

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KIX – LIVE IN BALTIMORE

Out now on Frontiers

Kix were a blip on the radar of the 80s metal scene. They scored some minor successes in the States but went largely unnoticed in Europe.

This live registration of the reunited Kix goes a long way to demonstrate why Kix never made it really big. While everything is adequately performed, most of the songs don’t surpass the pedestrian. Like a mix of Aerosmith and AC/DC (they should pay the Young brothers for the riff to “Midnite Dynamite”) rejects.

“Atomic Bombs” is a nice exception. A rare point of light in the suffocating darkness.  “Blow My Fuse” and “Kix Are For Kids”, the two “hits” of the band, stand out as well and do a lot toward saving this album from a failing grade.

“Lie Like A Rug”, “Girl Money”, …are they fucking kidding me? Belgian bar bands would be ashamed of trite shit like this… And WTF is “Yeah Yeah Yeah”???

Obligatory big ballad “Don’t Close Your Eyes” achieves nothing, other than prove what a lousy singer Steve Whiteman is.

Production could have been a lot better. The keyboards sit awkward in the mix, the guitars sound brittle.

If you were a fan back in the day, this might be an enjoyable live album. But for the rest of us, it just confirms why Kix were, in the end, also rans.

Rating – 50%
Review by Sancho

BONRUD – SAVE TOMORROW

Out now on Escape Music

Bonrud’s debut album was, to put it mildly, influenced by Journey. From the cover illustration to the polished tunes, everything breathed the spirit of those suave Californian gentlemen.

This follow up is cut from roughly the same cloth. There’s a harder edge to the music though, combined with some Bon Jovi-esque pop sensibility. I’m reminded at times of Fifth Angel (“American Dream” for instance), partly because of singer Rick Forsgren’s voice.

Title track “Save Tomorrow” wouldn’t have been out of place on the debut, the Journey is very strong in this one. If there was any justice in the world, “I’d Do Anything” would be a massive hit.

Paul Bonrud is an excellent guitar player, who manages to seamlessly incorporate his flashy leads into the songs.

Keith Olsen took care of production duties; this album’s flawless sound is a relief in this world of home-produced demo quality CDs. The guitar tone in particular benefits.

A refreshing album.

Rating – 93%
Review by Sancho