Album review: VICIOUS RUMORS – Celebration Decay

VICIOUS RUMORS – Celebration Decay

SPV Records [Release date 21.08.20]

Vicious Rumors found a home at Germany’s SPV Records four albums ago. In fact, Europe’s always offered a warm welcome to the band, right from the start, back in 1985.

Now, everything has changed. But nothing has changed. Founder and guitarist, Geoff Thorpe is the only original. He took his newest lineup on the road earlier this year on a tour that was planned to be short but just kept getting extended. That’s how and where bands find their groove, using the sweaty clamour and clang of live performance to merge styles, ambitions, and personalities into one targetted, heavy metal weapon.

They took that into “Celebration Decay”s studio recording process, with celebrated producer, Juan Urteaga bringing the same levels of intensity as he has done to the music of Exodus, Machine Head, Testament and many others.

The ‘new’ band performs with such vigorous, animal intensity that you can‘t fail to be impressed, crafting armour plated metal that skilfully combines a raw, emotional urgency with a cold eyed resignation. Most notably here, ‘Pulse Of The Dead‘ and ‘Arrival Of Desolation’.

Many critics have written the band off as second division Power Metallers. And while it’s true that Vicious Rumors have never become front page headliners, those critics (as music critics often do) have confused class and artistic consistency with fame and celebrity. What the band have done is found their own sound, their own sub genre, if you like.

Thorpe, and recent (2018) recruits, Nick Courtney (vocals) and Gunnar (Rhythm guitar) Dugrey have written a bunch of well crafted songs here. Stories of twisted relationships and grim realism, which are, as usual, full of the blackest of monochrome colouring and alternately, thundering and razoring axework.

Sinuous hooks are buried deep, working their way to the surface on the gritty, menacing ‘Cold Blooded’, and on the pounding Neanderthal metal of ‘Darkness Divine’, a dark and downbeat tale of love and lust.

It’s the sound of Vicious Rumors doing what they do best. And if we’re honest, it’s better than most. ***1/2

Review by Brian McGowan

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