Tuesday, November 13, 2012

VICIOUS RUMORS: "Live You To Death"

Rating: Live
Label: SPV/Steamhammer 2012
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom

The only minor/major problem with "Live You To Death"?? There's merely nine (9) live tracks on the album and that's a shame really since we're talking about one of the very original sources of Bay Area Metal. Vicious Rumors' founder/guitarist Geoff Thorpe moved away from Hawaii and his band Berlin (not the pop act) to San Francisco in 1979. The new monicker followed shortly and after a number of line-up changes between the years of 1980 to 1983, plenty of gigs, plus the odd song on various compilation albums, the band signed their first record deal in late 1984.

Back to present date. The lack of songs could (to some extend) be explained by the fact that VR toured Europe as opening act for Hammerfall?? Blimey, what kind of sick and twisted world are we living in? Surely it should be the other way around? These guys are highly technical musicians with razor-sharp melodies. Hammerfall on the other hand, so-so? Nah, at least Hammerfall' guitarist Pontus Norgren (also ex. Talisman, Great King Rat, Jekyll & Hyde, etc.) did good when he recording the concert in Passau/Germany, December 2011. The overdubbed performance? Perhaps... but, the sound experience is overall of great joy and brutality.

Produced by Thorpe, the short set-list was based around the two cult albums, "Digital Dictator" (Replicant/Digital Dictator, Minute To Kill) and their self-titled 1990 album (Down To the Temple, Hellraiser, Don't Wait For Me). One song each from their debut (the title track: Soldiers Of The Night) and "Welcome To The Ball", and merely two songs post-1991. Thorpe and Rasmussen are extracting killer licks and tricks of the old school technique, ("shred 'em til' ya' bleed"), and they come across as the tight, efficient, live unit with soaring metal vocals in the tradition of Priest (Brian Allen). No doubt one of those sadly forgotten live acts. Always true - always metal.

Bonus tracks are studio recordings as well as covers of "The Sign Of The Southern Cross" (Black Sabbath) and "Running Wild" (Judas Priest). I suppose they needed to include them all considering. Do I prefer the originals? -always.

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