Vicious Rumors – Electric Punishment (SPV)

Wednesday, 15th May 2013
Rating: 8/10

California power metal act Vicious Rumors has always been critical darlings in major metal media publications across Europe, the Far East, and South America, yet struggled to gain any traction in their home country. Albums like 1988’s Digital Dictatorand, 1991’s Welcome To The Ball contain tight rhythms, high-octane vocals, and a killer rhythm section that straddled traditional and almost thrash edges- painting the band in a tough category against the faster and more aggressive thrash and death bands running roughshod in metal hearts from coast to coast.

Yet guitarist Geoff Thorpe and drummer Larry Howe (the two longest running members) solider on – Electric Punishment their 11th studio record and continuing to drop all the twin-guitar harmonies, powerhouse vocal melodies, and heavy hitting drumming your body can handle. Latest vocalist Brian Allen has a multi-octave tonality that illuminates crunchier, dark tones within “Dime Store Prophet” and employs a sarcastic Jekyll and Hyde nature with some killer screams on “Black X List.”

Geoff’s guitar partner in crime Thaen Rasmussen (Anvil Chorus/ ex-Heathen) keeps the thick riffs going at all paces, almost at a mid-tempo doom level throughout the 6:18 title cut, while the dual lead work the tandem employ for “Thirst for a Kill” brings classic Vicious Rumors ‘can you top this’ shredding to mind. Former axe men like Brad Gillis, Mark McGee and touring guitarist Bob Capka also chime in with special lead and rhythm parts, adding texture to the proven VR formula.

The closing cover of Kiss’ “Strange Ways” is probably the weakest song on the album ( not a bad song per se, just not the ideal track you’d figure the band to tackle), but overall Electric Punishment will appeal to ardent US power metal maniacs…spread however far and wide they may be.

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