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Vanderbuyst - 'Vanderbuyst' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/76/87/c4/1584_vanderbuystvanderbuyst_1316033861.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     September 14, 2011    
 
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The debut album from this Dutch power trio is well worth investigating.

The debut album from this Dutch power trio is well worth investigating. Vanderbuyst's roots go back to Powervice, a relatively well-known act who split up during the recording of their first album. The two guitarists went their separate ways, with Selim Lemouchi forming The Devil's Blood and Willem Verbuyst hooking up with bassist/vocalist Jochem Jonkman and drummer Barry van Esbroek in Vanderbuyst in 2008. (The Devil's Blood also ended up on Ván Records, with a new album to come later in the year, and Lemouchi himself puts in a couple of appearances on Vanderbuyst's debut.) The line-up photo of the band, wearing Priest, Rainbow and Crüe shirts, gives you an idea what to expect, and once you press play the album wears its traditional metal roots firmly on its sleeve. The six originals Jonkman, Verbuyst and van Esbroek serve up on 'Vanderbuyst' are all in the vein of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal and revel in the earthy, organic freedom of young musicians writing and playing for themselves, first and foremost, rather than trying to please an audience or fit in with a fad.

Of the originals, opener 'To Last Forever' with its Lizzy-esque opening and overtly melodic chorus – and check out that guitar solo! – and 'Tiger' with its nifty and unexpected time-change midway through are the two cuts which make the most immediate impression. 'New Orleans' has a wonderfully laid-back vibe, punctuated by some more impressive work from Verbuyst, and if 'Traci Lords' is a bit throwaway, it probably goes down well live.

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The album's centrepiece though is a monstrous eleven-minute live-in-the-studio workout of 'Rock Bottom' (which dominates side two if you pick this one up on vinyl). The trouble with covers is that there's always that element of comparison, and as good a singer as he is on the band's own compositions, 'Rock Bottom' proves that Jonkman is no Phil Mogg. He's not even Gary Barden. But 'Rock Bottom' is all about guitars, not voices, and Verbuyst solos like a man possessed while Jonkman's bass runs carry the song and van Esbroek thunders away behind his kit, even turning those few unaccompanied bars into a full-on drum solo. The album plays out with another live cut, the equally impressive – and unquestionable vitriolic – 'Pillar To Post' which not only redeems Jonkman's vocals but also shows how well Vanderbuyst's own material stands up without overdubs and second-takes. 

The band have been on the road in Europe with Saxon where they've picked up some rave reviews, and are returning to the studio later in the year to work on a new album. Personally, on the strength of this debut I can't wait to see what the guys come out with second time around.

John Tucker

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