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Vicious Rumors - 'Razorback Killers' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/20/62/47/1376_viciousrumoursrazorbackkillers_1309384289.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     June 29, 2011    
 
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A very good US metal album from a great US metal band.

It's amazing to think that the seminal Bay Area metal band Vicious Rumors have been around since 1979, long before Metallica and Exodus put the location on the metal map. Thirty-two years and almost as many members later, founding guitarist Geoff Thorpe and drummer Larry Howe have steadfastly refused to give up the fight, bringing in bassist Stephen Goodwin, lead guitarist Kiyoshi Morgan and their latest singer, Brian Allen, to release their first album since the impressive 'Warball' in 2006. To be honest I lost interest in the band after the great Carl Albert died in 1995, having made a string of good records from 1988's 'Digital Dictator' to 1994's 'Word Of Mouth' with a line-up that included Thorpe, Howe and ex-Starcastle guitarist Mark McGee. I had a bit of a renaissance with 'Warball', due in no small part to the guest appearance of Night Ranger's Brad Gillis on five tracks, but I have to say that 'Razorback Killers' is another step forward to regaining the ground lost by the death of their finest singer.

Without being overtly thrashy, the scything guitar work of Thorpe and Morgan has definitely entered the modern age, the intricate harmonies and riffs as heavy and abrasive as ever and the songs hardly ever following the trad-metal path. 'Black', for instance, is slow and doomy and wouldn't have sounded out of place on Heaven & Hell's sole studio album, with both 'Razorback Blade' and 'Axe To Grind' boasting diamond-hard speed metal riffs and Allen's screechiest vocal. To be fair the new singer seems to be able to handle a few different styles, like the melodic 'All I Want Is You' and the mid-paced chant of 'Let The Garden Burn'. However, he does screech very well on the galloping power metal anthem 'Rite Of Devastation' and the album's title track, which also features a manic guest solo from Testament's Eric Peterson.

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The highpoints of the album also feature special guests, and former member Mark McGee weaves his magic in and out of the several different riffs and tempos of the moody 'Blood Stained Sunday' and the menacing 'Pearl Of Wisdom', which has a pretty slow pace but speeds up greatly towards the end. The album ends in a melodic metal frenzy with the great, hook laden 'Deal With The Devil', with a guest appearance from Brad Gillis that Thorpe calls "a classic tremolo guitar solo".

'Razorback Killers' is a very good US metal album from a great US metal band, and whilst their best albums and best chances of success are probably well behind them, 2011 finds them in better shape than most of their contemporaries. Let us raise our glasses to the next thirty-two years because Geoff Thorpe certainly isn't going to give this band up.

Phil Ashcroft

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