The power metal band Vicious Rumors have been around a long time, and are a band that just refuses to lay down and die. Formed in 1979 in the San Francisco Bay area, this is a band that has been plagued with lineup changes over the years–there have been over 30 members of this band since it’s inception. That being said, the current members Nick Holleman, Geoff Thorpe (founding member), Bob Capka, Tilen Hudrap and Larry Howe are so tight on their upcoming live album, Live You To Death 2-American Punishment, that gives the impression they have played together since the beginning.
Live albums are nothing new, some are good, some are bad, some aren’t really live. This album, due out June 2014, was recorded during Vicious Rumors 2013 American tour. This is one of those live albums that is truly great and captures the essence and raw energy of Vicious Rumors, something few live albums I’ve listened to have done.
Beginning with the roar of the crowd, the opening to “Digital Dictator” starts slow and methodical, building tension until the band erupts into full song. “World Church” and “I Am The Gun” provide Slayer-ific riffs, something I find very cool as these bands were both formed during the same time period in the Bay Area. “Electric Punishment” is a virtual steam-hammer of a song, more down tuned with a hard, pulsating rhythm. The only song that sounds dated on this album is “Soldiers Of The Night”, but then again this is from the bands first album back in 1985, and Holleman’s pronounced falsetto scream at the end cannot be denied.
Holleman’s vocals are so sharp you have the feeling of teetering on a razor blade. What is impressive about Holleman is that he joined the band for the American leg of the tour (the part recorded for this album). His voice is a natural fit to the music and the Dutch singer gives the band some European flair in the vocal department. The dual guitars of Thorpe and Capka rival that of any guitar duo and are perfectly complimentary to the driving rhythm provided by Hudrap and Howe.
Live You To Death 2-American Punishment provides the full concert experience, song intros were included as well as the end of show outro music, you know, the house music when the lights come up and you realize the show really is over, and everything in between. These are elements that regrettably a lot of times left off a live album. You can almost feel the electricity in the air of these performances and the only thing you aren’t left with is the visual. Just a note to bands that are planning live albums in their future-listen to this album, this is how a live album should always be done.
This is a perfect album for getting introduced to Vicious Rumors. I will sadly admit that I have previous albums from Vicious Rumors that for one reason or another I have not listened to. After listening to this release I will quickly be digging into these past offerings as I now fully understand why Thorpe has kept this machine running all these years. One thing this album makes very clear: Power Metal is alive and well!