Vicious Rumors: Digital Dictator-80’s-1988.

Vicious Rumors are an American power metal band, originally formed in 1979 in the San FranciscoCalifornia Bay Area. The band was conceived by founder and guitarist/vocalist Geoff Thorpe, and has been actively recording and touring worldwide since their full-length recording debut in 1985.[1] The band is signed to the Germany-based label SPV/Steamhammer.

Foundation and full-length debut Soldiers of the Night (1979–1986)

Guitarist and composer Thorpe began his musical career as a teenager in Honolulu, Hawaii. Thorpe had set out to start forming the band in the San Francisco Bay Area during the summer of 1979.[2] Other Bay Area-based bands like ExodusAnvil ChorusMetallica(Metallica was originally from L.A, but may be considered by many to be a Bay Area band – they moved to the Bay to play with Cliff Burton), and Death Angel were also starting out during that era. These bands were playing the same local venues and establishing the Bay Area thrash metal scene—which in a few years would become very popular worldwide.[3]

While working towards a stable lineup, early incarnations of Vicious Rumors played live extensively within California’s Bay Area between 1980 and 1985. Their first studio recordings appeared on compilations such as KMEL‘s New Oasis and U.S. Metal vol. III and IV in 1982, 1983 and 1984. These recordings helped the band obtain their first record deal with the legendary Shrapnel Records.[4]

The band’s first full-length album Soldiers of the Night was released in 1985, it featured Geoff Thorpe, Gary St. Pierre, Vinnie Moore, Dave Starr, and Larry Howe. It quickly began to establish VR’s worldwide reputation.[5] This release is classed as a milestone and a classic in power metal.[6] The lineup at that time included a young guitarist named Vinnie Moore. (Vinnie originally lived in Delaware, but was recommended to the band by Shrapnel Records founder Mike Varney).[7]

The classic Vicious Rumors: from Digital Dictator to Word of Mouth (1987–1994)

Late 1986 saw bassist Dave Starr bring in vocalist Carl Albert (Villain, Ruffians) and guitarist Mark McGee (Overdrive, Starcastle, and later with Gregg Allman) to replace St. Pierre and Moore respectively—prior to the recording of the band’s second album, Digital Dictator. This release with Shrapnel Records helped define Vicious Rumors’ classic US power metal sound.[8] Digital Dictator was the year’s No. 1 album in one of Europe’s top metal magazines, RockHard. The album sold well in Japan, the US, and the rest of Europe.[4] Vicious Rumors became an international live act at this point: they were invited to appear at the Dutch Aardschok Festival (alongside Megadeth, Testament, and Nuclear Assault), the Dynamo Open Air Festival (where they played in front of 40,000 people), and at live festivals with Death Angel and Forbidden.

An increase in popularity began to generate interest in the band from major record labels, and in 1989 they signed a deal with the legendary major label Atlantic Records(Led Zeppelin, AC/DC,…). Their first Atlantic release was the self-titled Vicious Rumors in 1990. The band subsequently began their first full US tour—which lasted for over three months[9] and shot their first official video, “Don’t Wait for Me”, directed by Gore Verbinski. This tour was quickly placed in rotation on MTV’s Headbangers Ball.[citation needed]

1991 saw the release of Vicious Rumors’ fourth album, Welcome to the Ball. This recording received Bay Area Music Awards nominations for “Best New Metal Album” and “Outstanding Metal Album” (other nominees included Metallica and Tesla[10]). Their second MTV video, “Children”, went beyond the exposure normally limited to metal bands on Headbangers Ball. It received regular daytime air play. The band finished the year with a one-month European tour—with Savatage—and four months worth of live US performance dates.[11]

After a 1992 tour with label-mates Savatage[12][13] and the release of the live album Plug In and Hang On: Live in Tokyo, guitarist Thorpe was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome. He was forced to undergo surgery.[14] During the year-long hiatus for Vicious Rumors, the band parted company with both Atlantic Records and bassist Dave Starr.[4]

After Thorpe recovered, new bass player Tommy Sisco (ex-Villain with Carl Albert) was recruited. The band’s sixth album, 1994’s Word of Mouth, was recorded and released on the Rising Sun label.[15] The CD included the song “Thunder and Rain” (parts 1 and 2), which was dedicated to the memory of Criss Oliva of Savatage.[16]

Sales of “Word of Mouth” were strong, the reception was positive, and the band resumed touring to support the release.[17] Vicious Rumors were now becoming increasingly popular in Europe; they were invited back to the Dynamo Open Air Festival in the Netherlands. They also joined forces with Accept for several summer festival dates.[4] The band returned to Europe later that year for more live shows, this time with Metal ChurchZodiac Mindwarp and the Love Reaction, and Paul Di’Anno‘s Killers.[citation needed]

Death of Carl Albert and subsequent releases (1995–2001)

After returning from the European Ultimate-Power-Force-Tour with Metal Church and Paul Di’Anno’s Killers, singer Carl Albert was killed in a California Bay Area car accident on April 22, 1995.[18][19] Around the same time, Mark McGee left the band. Steve Smyth (future member of NevermoreTestament and Forbidden) was recruited as his replacement.[4]

Upon Albert’s death, the band released A Tribute to Carl Albert (culled from non-soundboard recordings taken from the Word of Mouth European tour), and their first home video The First Ten Years[4]. Additionally Mark McGee composed and recorded the song “Find Your Way Home” for one of his solo projects (currently unpublished) and dedicated it to the memory of Albert.[20]

The band decided not to replace Albert at that time, and Thorpe assumed the role of vocalist for the band’s next album: Something Burning. This album was released in 1996 on the Massacre Records label. The song “Perpetual”, included on the album, was the last track written with Albert. The resulting reviews of the new release were favorable,[8] and VR subsequently undertook a European tour with Accept to support it. Cyberchrist, their next studio album, was recorded and released in 1998 with newcomer Brian O’Connor on vocals. The band was invited by Blind Guardian to join them for 30 tour dates on their highly successful “Nightfall in Middle-Earth” European tour.[4] The band then took some time off from touring and recording primarily to recruit new personnel. They recruited a new bass player, Cornbread, who replaced Tommy Sisco, and Ira Black (ex Heathen—later with Lizzy Borden) filled the spot left by departing guitarist Smyth. Session players Atma Anur, Dan Lawson and Will Carroll (later with Death Angel) briefly sat in for drummer Larry Howe—who at the time wanted to take some time off from touring and recording. The new lineup recorded and released Sadistic Symphony with vocalist Morgan Thorn in 2001, but O’Connor re-joined the band for live dates in the US and Europe in support of the new album.[4]

There were no new releases by Vicious Rumors in 2002 or 2003. During this period, band leader Thorpe was asked by longtime friend Daniel Jones of rock & roll band 7th Order to take part in recording sessions, alongside veteran British guitarist Martin Pugh (of Steamhammerthe first Rod Stewart solo album and Armageddon[21]) and drummer Tim Kelliher (of Randy Hansen‘s Machine Gun[22]), for their The Lake of Memory album (released on the Big Island Sounds label in 2007). Several tracks prominently featured Thorpe, and the album enjoyed a great deal of worldwide radio airplay.[23]

Return to a traditional sound (2004–2012)

In 2004, in order to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the band’s “Word of Mouth” release, there were some reunions (Thorpe, Howe, Sisco, plus McGee and Ira Black alternating on guitar and O’Connor on vocals). 2005 saw the release of the band’s Crushing the World DVD,[24] which featured both current and historical Vicious Rumors lineups,[24] and included several previously unreleased tracks: “Poveglia”, “Broken Wings”, “Fight”, and “Immortal”.[25]

The album Warball (co-produced by Juan Urteaga) was recorded and released on the Mascot Records label in early 2006. Members Cornbread and O’Connor left the band prior to its recording, but original members Dave Starr (bass) and Larry Howe (drums) returned. Vocalist James Rivera (Helstar) and guitarists Brad Gillis (Night RangerOzzy Osbourne) and Thaen Rasmussen (Heathen, Anvil Chorus) contributed to the recordings of the new album. Worldwide sales were excellent and reviewers universally saw the Warball album as a genuine “return to form” of a more traditional Vicious Rumors sound after the more experimental releases of the post-Carl Albert incarnations of the band.[26] Stephen Goodwin stepped in to serve as Vicious Rumors’s touring bassist,[27] and the band played several dates in Europe, including shows with Agent SteelHammerFallGirlschoolNazareth, and Heaven & Hell.[28]

Upon the band’s return to the US, Ronnie Stixx (Divine Ruins, Blood Redskies, Shadowkeep) took over as an interim replacement for the a departing Rivera.[29] Rasmussen was replaced by Kiyoshi Morgan as second guitarist.[30] Stixx was eventually replaced by Brian Allen (Last Empire, Wild Dogs).[31]

In 2009, Thorpe and Howe (alongside Allen, Goodwin and Morgan) acknowledged the 30th Anniversary of the inception of Vicious Rumors, by performing songs from their debut album, Soldiers of the Night, with former singer Gary St. Pierre.[32] at the Headbangers Open Air Festival.[33] In 2011, Mark McGee, Tommy Sisco and Kevin Albert (the son of late vocalist Carl Albert) sat in with the band for their performance at the Keep It True Festival, also in Germany.[4]

The band signed to SPV Records, and their tenth album Razorback Killers was released on March 28, 2011. Several guests joined them for the sessions: Mark McGee, Brad Gillis, and Testament guitarist Eric Peterson. The album also marked the recording debuts of Goodwin, Morgan and Allen.[4] The band then departed for an extensive European summer tour, headlining 60 shows and supporting HammerFall on 30 shows. In early 2012, the band took part in the first heavy metal sea cruise, 70000 Tons of Metal.

In late 2012, after a series of summer festival performances in Europe with new entry Bob Capka on second guitar, the band released a live album, recorded on tour with HammerFall in 2011 – engineered by Pontus Norgren (HammerFall guitarist and FOH engineer for King Diamond, Candlemass) – titled Live You to Death in November 2012.[34][35]

Recent events (2013–present)

A new studio album, Electric Punishment,[36] was recorded and released on the SPV label in 2013. For their subsequent European tour, James Rivera returned temporarily to replace vocalist Allen. The Slovenian instrumentalist Tilen Hudrap took over for the departing Stephen Goodwin on bass and became the first European member of Vicious Rumors.[4] Thaen Rasmussen and Bob Capka will alternate in those years the second guitar role. The band had played more than 70 shows in 2013, including several metal festivals (Alcatraz festival, Metaldays, Stonehenge festival, Bang Your Head festival, Headbanger’s Open Air, Turock Summerfest), and a pre-show performance for the Bang Your Head!!! event in Germany, which again featured a special guest appearance by Kevin Albert. For the band’s American tour, Dutch singer Nick Holleman took over as vocalist.[37] The band continued touring into 2014: again playing the 70000 Tons of Metal cruise (playing their Digital Dictator album in its entirety for the first time); as well as several big European summer festivals (headlining in Belgium, Croatia, Holland, Slovenia, Hungary, Germany, Italy, Czech Republic) and numerous live club dates.[4] A live album titled “Live You to Death 2: American Punishment[38] was released in June 2014, the first official release by the new VR lineup with European members Hudrap and Holleman. According to the band’s web site,[39] their first live dates in South America took place in December 2014. The band played in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Rio Negrinho, Buenos Aires, and Curitiba.[40] The band embarked in new American and European Tours. In Germany, at Keep It True Festival, Vicious Rumors are once again joined onstage by Keven Albert. Pre-production for the 12th VR studio album, Concussion Protocol, began in late 2014. The CD was released August 2016 on SPV/Steamhammer, followed by the singles “Chasing the Priest” and “Take It or Leave It”, and a full-scale tour of Europe in November[39]

In May 2017 the band announced a new line up with the return of vocalist Brian Allen and guitarist Gunnar DüGrey replacing Holleman and Rasmussen respectively.[41] This lineup of Vicious Rumors performed several live dates in Europe, as well as the US (California) in the summer of 2017.[42]

In 2018 and 2019, the band celebrated the 30th anniversary of Digital Dictator with a world tour and a new line up. Nick Courtney was announced as replacement for the again departing Brian Allen on vocals, and Cody Green stepped in on bass for Tilen Hudrap. The touring is intense in US and Europe.[43][44] In spring 2019, again at Keep It True Festival, Vicious Rumors held a special set with guest Kevin Albert on vocals. In 2020, a new album, Celebration Decay, was released which saw the studio debut of both DuGrey and Courtney. Guests on the record are Greg Christian on bass and Cody Green on guitars, while the band’s new live bassist was the Swedish Robin Utbult.[45]

Geoff Thorpe
Guitars (electric, 12-string acoustic), Vocals (backing, second lead)
Mark McGee
Guitars (electric, 12-string acoustic), Mandolin, Vocals (backing)
Carl Albert (R.I.P. 1995)
Vocals (lead, backing)
Dave Starr
Bass, Vocals (backing)
Larry Howe
Drums, Vocals (backing)

Discography:

Demo IDemo1982 
Demo IIDemo1983 
Soldiers of the NightFull-length1985
Digital DictatorSingle1987 
Digital DictatorFull-length1988
Vicious RumorsFull-length1990
Welcome to the BallFull-length1991
Plug In and Hang On – Live in TokyoLive album1992 
The VoiceEP1994 
Word of MouthFull-length1994
A Tribute to Carl AlbertLive album1995 
Something BurningFull-length1996
The First Ten YearsVideo1996 
CyberchristFull-length1998
Sadistic SymphonyFull-length2000
ImmortalDemo2004 
Crushing the WorldVideo2005 
WarballFull-length2006
Razorback KillersFull-length2011
Live You to DeathLive album2012 
Electric PunishmentSingle2013 
Electric PunishmentFull-length2013
Live You to Death 2 – American PunishmentLive album2014 
Take It or Leave ItSingle2016 
Concussion ProtocolFull-length2016
40th Anniversary Live in GermanyVideo2018 
Death EternalSingle2020 
Pulse of the DeadSingle2020 
Celebration DecayFull-length2020
Celebration DecaySingle2020 
Asylum of BloodSingle2020 
Geoff Thorpe
Guitars (1979-present), Vocals (lead) (1995-1997), Vocals (additional) (1997-present)
Larry Howe
Drums (1985-1999, 2005-present)
See also: Aaron Pearson, ex-Chastain, ex-Relayer
Gunnar DüGrey
Guitars (2017-present)
See also: Chronological Injustice
Nick Courtney
Vocals (2018-present)
See also: ex-Gladius

Past Members:

Bryan HurtDrums (1979-1980)
(R.I.P. 2016) See also: ex-Blynd Curve
Walt PerkinsDrums (1980-1983)
Chuck MoomeyGuitars (1981-1985)
See also: Delany, Vain, ex-Road Crew
Jeff BarnacleBass (1982-1984)
Jim CasseroGuitars (1982-1983)
See also: ex-Scanner
Mark TateVocals (1982-1983)
Don SelzerDrums (1983-1985)
See also: ex-Mala Suerte (live)
Jim LangDrums (1983)
See also: ex-Steele
Gary St. PierreVocals (1983-1986)
See also: ex-Hawaii, ex-Roxx, ex-St. Pierre
Dave StarrBass (1985-1993, 2005-2007)
See also: WildeStarr, ex-Chastain, ex-Lȧȧz Rockit, ex-Black Leather, ex-The Hell Patrol
Terry MontanaGuitars (1985-1986)
See also: ex-D’Angelo
Vinnie MooreGuitars (1985-1986)
See also: Vinnie Moore, Red Zone Rider, UFO, ex-Alice Cooper
Mark McGeeGuitars (1986-1995)
See also: ex-Now, ex-Repulsa, Luvplanet, ex-Starcastle, ex-VR
Carl AlbertVocals (1986-1995)
(R.I.P. 1995) See also: ex-Scratch, ex-Ruffians, ex-Villain
Tommy SiscoBass (1994-1999)
See also: Luvplanet, ex-Ruffians, ex-Villain
Steve SmythGuitars (1995-1999)
See also: From HellOne MachineThe Esseness Project, Sweet Leaf, ex-Dragonlord, ex-Testament, ex-Forbidden, ex-Nevermore, ex-Ariah, ex-Firehead
Brian O’ConnorVocals (1997-1999, 2001-2005)
See also: Deadlands, ex-Spectre, ex-Consfearacy, ex-Prophesy, Burning Ground, Deepwell
CornbreadBass (1999-2004)
See also: The Watchers, ex-White Witch Canyon, Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers, Wiser Time, ex-Bizarro, ex-SpiralArms
Atma AnurDrums (2000-2001)
See also: The Esseness Project, ex-Scavenger, Ramos / Anur Project, ex-Jason Becker, ex-Cacophony, ex-Bernd Steidl, ex-Doppler, Inc., ex-Greg Howe, ex-Hardline, ex-La Famiglia Superstar, ex-Ramos, ex-Richie Kotzen, ex-Trick Whitey
Ira BlackGuitars (2000-2005)
See also: Dark Sky ChoirOf Gods & MonstersBralalalala (live), ex-Pornucopia, ex-U-Teris, ex-Consfearacy, ex-Doom Society, ex-Prophesy, Attika7, Death Division, ex-Heathen, ex-Lizzy Borden, ex-Chris Caffery (live), ex-Dokken (live), ex-Mercenary (live), ex-Metal Church (live), ex-I Am Morbid
Morgan ThornVocals (2000-2001)
See also: ex-High Treason, ex-Megaton Blonde
Dan LawsonDrums (2001-2004)
See also: ex-Spitkiss
Thaen RasmussenGuitars (2005-2007, 2013, 2016-2017)
See also: ex-Control, ex-Anvil Chorus, ex-Heathen, ex-Vyking
Brad GillisGuitars (2005-2007)
See also: ex-Hear ‘n Aid, Night Ranger, ex-Ozzy Osbourne, ex-Fiona, ex-Next, ex-Rubicon
James RiveraVocals (2005-2007)
See also: HelstarSeven WitchesShadowKeepDistant Thunder, ex-Destiny’s End, ex-Malice, ex-Thrasher, ex-Vigilante, Sabbath Judas Sabbath, ex-Killing Machine, ex-New Eden, ex-Agent Steel (live), ex-Flotsam and Jetsam (live), ex-Bad Heaven, ex-Chaotic Order, ex-Daggers Edge, ex-Masters of Metal (live), ex-Malakis Reign, ex-Children of the Grave, ex-Denim and Leather
Stephen GoodwinBass (2007-2013)
See also: Aaron PearsonFrom Hell, The 01Experience
Kiyoshi MorganGuitars (2007-2012)
See also: Space Vacation
Ronnie StixxVocals (2007-2009)
See also: ex-Divine Ruins, ex-Project Terror, ex-ShadowKeep
Brian AllenVocals (2009-2013, 2017-2018)
See also: Dark ArenaDark Sky ChoirLast EmpireTwo Headed Beast, ex-Father Mary
Bob CapkaGuitars (2012-2016)
See also: ex-Gargoyle, ex-Otovoid, Black’n Blue
Tilen HudrapBass (2013-2018)
See also: ThrawU.D.O.KellerWartune, Scepsis, James Rivera’s SJS (live), ex-Paradox, ex-Pestilence, ex-Testament (live)
Nick HollemanVocals (2013-2017)
See also: MethusalemPowerizedSinbreedTrance, ex-Induction
Cody GreenBass (2018-2020)
See also: Chronological Injustice
Bryan HurtDrums (1979-1980)
(R.I.P. 2016) See also: ex-Blynd Curve
Walt PerkinsDrums (1980-1983)
Chuck MoomeyGuitars (1981-1985)
See also: Delany, Vain, ex-Road Crew
Jeff BarnacleBass (1982-1984)
Jim CasseroGuitars (1982-1983)
See also: ex-Scanner
Mark TateVocals (1982-1983)
Don SelzerDrums (1983-1985)
See also: ex-Mala Suerte (live)
Jim LangDrums (1983)
See also: ex-Steele
Gary St. PierreVocals (1983-1986)
See also: ex-Hawaii, ex-Roxx, ex-St. Pierre
Dave StarrBass (1985-1993, 2005-2007)
See also: WildeStarr, ex-Chastain, ex-Lȧȧz Rockit, ex-Black Leather, ex-The Hell Patrol
Terry MontanaGuitars (1985-1986)
See also: ex-D’Angelo
Vinnie MooreGuitars (1985-1986)
See also: Vinnie Moore, Red Zone Rider, UFO, ex-Alice Cooper
Mark McGeeGuitars (1986-1995)
See also: ex-Now, ex-Repulsa, Luvplanet, ex-Starcastle, ex-VR
Carl AlbertVocals (1986-1995)
(R.I.P. 1995) See also: ex-Scratch, ex-Ruffians, ex-Villain
Tommy SiscoBass (1994-1999)
See also: Luvplanet, ex-Ruffians, ex-Villain
Steve SmythGuitars (1995-1999)
See also: From HellOne MachineThe Esseness Project, Sweet Leaf, ex-Dragonlord, ex-Testament, ex-Forbidden, ex-Nevermore, ex-Ariah, ex-Firehead
Brian O’ConnorVocals (1997-1999, 2001-2005)
See also: Deadlands, ex-Spectre, ex-Consfearacy, ex-Prophesy, Burning Ground, Deepwell
CornbreadBass (1999-2004)
See also: The Watchers, ex-White Witch Canyon, Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers, Wiser Time, ex-Bizarro, ex-SpiralArms
Atma AnurDrums (2000-2001)
See also: The Esseness Project, ex-Scavenger, Ramos / Anur Project, ex-Jason Becker, ex-Cacophony, ex-Bernd Steidl, ex-Doppler, Inc., ex-Greg Howe, ex-Hardline, ex-La Famiglia Superstar, ex-Ramos, ex-Richie Kotzen, ex-Trick Whitey
Ira BlackGuitars (2000-2005)
See also: Dark Sky ChoirOf Gods & MonstersBralalalala (live), ex-Pornucopia, ex-U-Teris, ex-Consfearacy, ex-Doom Society, ex-Prophesy, Attika7, Death Division, ex-Heathen, ex-Lizzy Borden, ex-Chris Caffery (live), ex-Dokken (live), ex-Mercenary (live), ex-Metal Church (live), ex-I Am Morbid
Morgan ThornVocals (2000-2001)
See also: ex-High Treason, ex-Megaton Blonde
Dan LawsonDrums (2001-2004)
See also: ex-Spitkiss
Thaen RasmussenGuitars (2005-2007, 2013, 2016-2017)
See also: ex-Control, ex-Anvil Chorus, ex-Heathen, ex-Vyking
Brad GillisGuitars (2005-2007)
See also: ex-Hear ‘n Aid, Night Ranger, ex-Ozzy Osbourne, ex-Fiona, ex-Next, ex-Rubicon
James RiveraVocals (2005-2007)
See also: HelstarSeven WitchesShadowKeepDistant Thunder, ex-Destiny’s End, ex-Malice, ex-Thrasher, ex-Vigilante, Sabbath Judas Sabbath, ex-Killing Machine, ex-New Eden, ex-Agent Steel (live), ex-Flotsam and Jetsam (live), ex-Bad Heaven, ex-Chaotic Order, ex-Daggers Edge, ex-Masters of Metal (live), ex-Malakis Reign, ex-Children of the Grave, ex-Denim and Leather
Stephen GoodwinBass (2007-2013)
See also: Aaron PearsonFrom Hell, The 01Experience
Kiyoshi MorganGuitars (2007-2012)
See also: Space Vacation
Ronnie StixxVocals (2007-2009)
See also: ex-Divine Ruins, ex-Project Terror, ex-ShadowKeep
Brian AllenVocals (2009-2013, 2017-2018)
See also: Dark ArenaDark Sky ChoirLast EmpireTwo Headed Beast, ex-Father Mary
Bob CapkaGuitars (2012-2016)
See also: ex-Gargoyle, ex-Otovoid, Black’n Blue
Tilen HudrapBass (2013-2018)
See also: ThrawU.D.O.KellerWartune, Scepsis, James Rivera’s SJS (live), ex-Paradox, ex-Pestilence, ex-Testament (live)
Nick HollemanVocals (2013-2017)
See also: MethusalemPowerizedSinbreedTrance, ex-Induction
Cody GreenBass (2018-2020)
See also: Chronological Injustice
Songs
1.Replicant01:04  instrumental
2.Digital Dictator03:17  Show lyrics
3.Minute to Kill03:34  Show lyrics
4.Towns on Fire04:23  Show lyrics
5.Lady Took a Chance06:11  Show lyrics
6.Worlds and Machines05:30  Show lyrics
7.The Crest02:56  Show lyrics
8.R.L.H.04:00  Show lyrics
9.Condemned03:53  Show lyrics
10.Out of the Shadows04:09  Show lyrics
 38:57 

1 Comment

  1. Xeogred, March 14th, 2007.
    With their sound and style completely defined on their previous and nearly perfect album, Soldiers of the Night, Vicious Rumors continue on with yet another outstanding sequel that could go hand in hand with their debut. This is pretty much power metal with actual riffs, and some technical and mindblowing riffs at that with Geoff Thorpe’s tremendous skill and incredible songwriting. Moody, upbeat, happy, technical, aggressive, emotional, powerful, everything is here with this release.

    The standout here is hands down vocalist Carl Albert (RIP). Although Gary St. Pierre was top notch as well and easily sounds more like Carl than any other vocalist out there, Carl is just something else. Nothing but energy sparks from his every lyric spoken. His wails, shrieks ,and screams move the music more than anything. His aggressive and energetic mid-range performance can easily be matched to Bruce Dickinson and others, if not better. Vicious Rumors were truly out of this world when Carl was with them, this being the flawless beginning of that legacy.

    The only other lineup change you’ll notice here is the replacement of guitarist Vinnie Moore with Mark McGhee. Regardless, Geoff Thorpe has always been their main guitar monster, and McGhee manages to be an incredible partner for this release. Their leads, once again are completely off the wall and unique. The solo’s speak of nothing but virtuosis skill, yet never drag the music away from its substance. Obviously expect some mindblowing shredding. On top of that we see the return of the excellent bassist of Laaz Rockit fame, Dave Star, and the adept drummer Larry Howe who has also stuck with the band for the majority of their career. Each member are all always at the top of their game here.

    Musically, this album is very similar to their previous album Soldiers of the Night more than anything else. Its a little more straight forward compared to their later releases such as Welcome to the Ball, or whatnot. But still very diverse and dynamic, and really something of its own kind. Its nearly impossible to pinpoint Vicious Rumors exact sound and style and just throw them in one genre, because you really can’t. There’s a few speed metal numbers here, a few power, few hints of progessive structures, and even some thrashy parts from time to time. They are their own entity. Standout tracks for me would probably be the self title track, “Minute to Kill”, “R.L.H (Run Like Hell)”, and “Towns of Fire”. The last really being a good example of Carl stealing the show until Thorpe’s mesmerizing solo comes into play, while the previous three being their faster and catchy as heck tracks. Then again, this whole album is just great with no real low points at all.

    In the end, this is an essential Vicious Rumors album, and often hailed as their finest release. This would easily be a great entry into the band if you haven’t heard any of their stuff yet. Its a shame this band doesn’t seem to get very much recognition around these parts at MA, as of now (huge lack of reviews). They’re such a great band, and there just isn’t much at there quite like them at all. If you’re a fan of just about any kind of metal, especially the early power metal scene, this album is a hands down must own. Very highly recommended.

    Liked by 1 person

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