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Third album by the energetic Dutch trio Vanderbuyst.

Hard to believe it may be, but energetic Dutch trio Vanderbuyst are already on album number three; with their self-titled debut issued in 2010 and ‘In Dutch’ sneaking out at the tail end of 2011 they’re back in the racks again with ‘Flying Dutchmen’, an album that sees guitarist Willem Verbuyst, drummer Barry Van Esbroek and singer/bassist Jochem Jonkman taking a slightly different approach this time around.

So, what’s changed? Well, with the luxury of time on this album the band have made full use of being in the studio. ‘Flying Dutchmen’ has less of the spontaneity that emanates from ‘In Dutch’ and ‘Vanderbuyst’ and sounds more controlled, more thoughtful, more – dare I say it – polished that its predecessors. As Verbuyst explains: “You don’t want to release the same album twice so we decided to approach ‘Flying Dutchmen’ differently. This time we aimed for a more produced album. On ‘In Dutch’ there’s only one guitar; no overdubs, not even a rhythm guitar backing the solos. Apart from the vocals, we recorded it live. On ‘Flying Dutchmen’ you will find overdubs and rhythm guitars, even twin leads. During the recording sessions we even came up with extra guitar parts and vocal lines. So a part of the creative process was done in the studio. However, the basis was recorded live again on analogue tape in order to guarantee the energy and dynamics we like.”

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So if the NWOBHM-style rawness of those first two albums wasn’t to your liking, the fuller sound should appeal to a wider audience. However, this is still very definitely and very recognisably the work of Vanderbuyst, a band who’ve developed an organic and distinctive sound that sets them aside from the rest of the pack. From the opening burst of ‘Frivolous Franny’ (with its swerve-ball time changes) to the almost swing-time rhythm of ‘Welcome To The Night’ (which like ‘Johnny Got Lucky’ features some guest soloing from Verbuyst’s former bandmate and mainstay of The Devil’s Blood Selim Lemouchi) the eleven songs on offer are short, tight and punchy, written and performed to hook you in and then leave without overstaying their welcome. If you want to draw the distinction – which personally I don’t – Vanderbuyst’s material is more rock than metal, with songs like ‘Lecherous’ being heavy more in a Blue Cheer than a Black Sabbath kind of way; it’s almost as if the band have zipped straight from the early Seventies to the twenty-first century with barely a glance at the intervening years. As ever, the playing is flawless throughout, and after 200-plus gigs Jonkman has grown immensely in his role as vocalist since that first album just two years ago.

I’d love to see this band live – I bet it’s one hell of a show. ‘Flying Dutchmen’ indeed!

John Tucker

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