Released: 2011, SPV/Steamhammer
After over thirty years in the trenches and innumerable line-up changes, founding guitarist Geoff Thorpe continues to soldier on. Vicious Rumors’s style of American power metal was briefly hailed as the next big thing along with Armored Saint back around 1984. Then a band called Metallica sort of blew less heavy bands out of the water, and groups caught in between hair metal and thrash were mostly forgotten, leaving a small core of cult fans to pick up the pieces. So to this day, Vicious Rumors has a small but passionate fan base and as the band gets older, improbably they are getting heavier, as new album RAZORBACK KILLERS reveals.
Contained within are ten powerful tunes, characterized by the band’s penchant for Accept-like riffs and aggression combined with almost gothic melodies. Lead track “Murderball”, “All I Want Is You”, and the sinister sounding “Pearls of Wisdom” all display the bands unflagging commitment to passionate metal. Personal fave, “Let The Garden Burn” is so quintessentially metal, it gives me goose bumps. Couple this with the fact that the production is nearly flawless and you have, as I stated, an improbable album from a band that has not lost their dedication in 30 plus years of relative obscurity. Despite the excellent effort, RAZORBACK KILLERs is not a perfect album. For better or worse, depending on your perspective, the bands formula is mostly unchanged and some songs remind me of Lizzy Borden right down to the duplicate track title “Deal With The Devil” and the reminiscent “Axe To Grind”. Speaking of song titles, they are kind of cheesy, perhaps the band forgetting most of their fans are beyond the juvenile years where titles like “Blood Stained” along with the above mentioned would have garnered the enthusiasm of rebellious youth.
All things considered, the flaws are far outweighed by the mammoth sound and passion of a band that plays uncompromising traditional metal. I am floored that Thorpe continues to put out albums of such high caliber this late in the game. Fans of Accept, Lizzy Borden and traditional metal will absolutely enjoy this, and RAZORBACK KILLERS will serve as a fine introduction to the band for new fans. Raise a tasty brew and toast to the glory years of metal. I am sure Vicious Rumors will continue to do the same.