One can only assume that it is through sheer determination and/or stubbornness on the part of guitar maestro Geoff Thorpe that the US Metal powerhouse Vicious Rumors is still with us three and a half decades after its very inception.
While record labels constantly refuse to fight the band’s corner and their line-up is in constant flux (ex band members are, at the moment, thirty one in number), Vicious Rumors always manage to deliver the goods, as suggested by eleven studio albums which are currently under their collective belts.
“Live You To Death 2 – American Punishment” is the band’s fourth ever live recording which captures one of the band’s most impressive reincarnations on the road promoting one of Vicious Rumors’ most impressive albums to date, last year’s “Electric Punishment”.
Recorded during the band’s 80-date North American trek, “Live You To Death 2- American Punishment” has, unusually for a live release, been graced with what can only be described as a top quality production.
With every single instrument given enough breathing room and equal opportunities for artistic expression, the performances on offer are very confident bordering flamboyant and that has truly benefited some of the most dynamic material on offer.
While Geoff Thorpe’s massive sounding riffs continue to be the leading force behind this band, it is the newly-acquired singer Nick Holleman’s personal performances which literally steal the show and that is not a bad thing at all, as the Dutch front man’s powerful pipes that add a lot to this album’s overall value.
Dynamic in tempo and featuring one of the best guitar themes ever recorded in a Vicious Rumors record, “Digital Dictator” is the ideal song to start a show and the reaction of the fans to this all-time-classic suggest that they and I are in total agreement.
It is actually the whole first side of the said album which the band has chose to open its set by, with songs like “Lady Took A Chance” receiving the warmest of reactions while menacing heavy riffs of “I Am The Gun” and “Electric Punishment” ensure that the party continues long after the band’s visit of its glorious second album has been completed.
Filled with flamboyant leads and featuring an impressive guitar solo “You Only Live Twice” stands out as a celebration of all things Judas Priest while Nick Holleman uses his full/impressive vocal range in a sensational rendition of “Don’t Wait For Me”.
While both “World Church” and “Hellraiser” received a good reaction it was the band’s flagship anthem “Soldiers Of The Night” that got the best out of the band’s crowd and thus was justifiably chosen as the closing theme for this truly enjoyable, high energy live release.
Live albums hardly even capture my interest these days as, in their vast majority; all they tend to be are either means for the label acquiring a quick buck or a way for a band to complete its by that stage undesirable contractual responsibilities without compromising its artistic integrity in the process.
Well, rather than adding value to the above-mentioned rule, “Live You To Death 2 – American Punishment” is a thoroughly enjoyable exception – the kind of album that’s capable of reigniting the passion and commitment of the old-school fans towards the band but also one that could well help win some new willing listeners for them in the process.