Album review: VICIOUS RUMORS – Electric Punishment

SPV – Out Now.

Thirty three years is a long time for any band, especially one that has survived the death of a frontman and the departure of enough members to fill two whole basketball teams, and then some. In light of this, you could say that nothing can stand in the way of the California-based quintet Vicious Rumors from continuing to deliver their 80s sounding Power Metal to the world – as evidenced by the band’s eleventh studio effort, “Electric Punishment”.

2011’s “Razorback Killers” was an album that was warmly received by the band’s loyal fans, so Geoff Thorpe & Co’s decision to return with a set of ten new similar tracks in terms of approach and vision does not really come as a huge surprise. Predominantly featuring high- register vocals (quite similar to those of the band’s ex member James Rivera – also Helstar, Distant Thunder), Thorpe comes across as the right man to lead this Power Metal combo and commands with much ease the numerous solid riffs that can be found throughout the album.

This means that if 80s sounding Power/Speed Metal with high register vocals is your cup of tea, then “Electric Punishment” is the right album for you. If vocal performances in the vein of Tim “Ripper” Owens is the stuff of nightmares for you, then you might find connecting with this ten track release to be difficult.

“I Am The Gun” is the kind of song that any 80s sounding Power/Metal band would like to have as an album opener. Why? Simply because it has everything: a crunchy rhythmical head banging riff, Thrash style band vocals and outstanding but moderate leads solos of the utmost quality.

Equally up-tempo and focusing on Rivera-styled vocals, “Black X List” is another classic-sounding track and is followed by the much slower, same-titled “Electric Punishment” – a composition whose monolithic riff and simple but addictive refrain is my favourite moment of the album. “D-Block” finds the band going Thrash with fast flamboyant solos, providing an interesting contrast to the slow atmospheric ballad “Escape (From Hell)” – a composition with a fairly unusual structure.

Based on a massive mid-tempo riff, the second stand out track of the album is “Dime Store Prophet”, after which the material on offer becomes average-sounding and predictable. “Together We Unite” is a multi-layered vocal melodic piece that I found too cheesy for my liking, whereas “Eternally” comes across as its darker and more inspired sibling. “Thirst For A Kill” is the band’s last opportunity to go all guns blazing, which they do in style, while “Strange Ways” is a Kiss cover which neither adds nor removes anything from this otherwise fairly well-balanced album.

In conclusion, “Electric Punishment” is another decent effort by a band whose aim and purpose are not to reinvent the wheel, but to continue offering its services to a genre that experienced a short period of commercial success in the late 80s, but which continues to excite the hearts and minds of those still loyal to it.

If you like all-things 80s and fast and you don’t mind vocals with a pitch that can shatter your windows into hundreds of little pieces if you’re not careful with the volume, then look no further!

John Stefanis

Rating: ***1/2 (3.5/5.0)


The latest Facebook Live session from Canadian singer-songwriter Josh Taerk was streamed on Sunday 20 December., imbued with a festive flavour to raise the spirits

More about Josh:

David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 20 December 2020 and announces the results of the Popular Poll for Best of 2020.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 20 December 2020 and includes Pete’s best of the year selections

Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.

Featured Albums w/c 11 January 2021 (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 UNRULY CHILD Our Glass House (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 SERGEANT STEEL Truck Tales (Boyz Tyme Records)
14:00-16:00 DAN REED Liftoff (Zero Entertainment)

Power Plays w/c 11 January 2021 (Mon-Fri)

BLACK SPIDERS – Good Times (Dark Riders Records/Cargo Records)
GRAVITY MACHINE Standing Stones (Zyse Records)
EMPIIRES Love Or Hate (TLG Entertainment/INgrooves)
RAY FENWICK Tam Tam (Singsong Music)
DEAD REYNOLDS Voices (The Fort)
LAYLA ZOE Don’t Wanna Help Anyone (indie)

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