Vicious Rumors - Razorback Killers (SPV/Riot)

US power metal is alive and well thanks to Geoff Thorpe and company
Release Date: 
4 Apr 2011 - 11:30pm

For some reason, US metal bands like Vicious Rumors never seem to have gotten the credit they've deserved over the years. This is inexplicable to me, because, whilst the genre we love so much has lurched stylistically about in the last twenty years like a sailor straight off the boat on his first night ashore in six months, this style of metal - what used to be called power metal in the late eighties before the term was half inched by Blind Guardian, HammerFall et al – has never wavered from the true path. Since VR released their debut in 1985, many have been called to the cause (amongst them great names like Crimson Glory, Leatherwolf, Riot etc etc) of true metal, but few have stood the test of time or remained as true to their original vocation as Geoff Thorpe’s band of brothers. True, they did wobble a bit in the early nineties, experimenting with ‘modern’ styles, but every artist has got to explore a little, right?

Anyways back to today. As it goes, Razorback Killers could easily have been released in about 1988, such is its commitment to delivering ‘proper’ heavy metal of the old school; it’s not just a nostalgic throwback however, with every song here having something to commend it to even the most casual headbanger of any vintage. Anthemic choruses, thundering verses, surgically precise solos and soaring vocals – these are the order of the day, and if those four elements aren’t metal’s own version of earth, air, fire and water then I don’t know nearly as much about this shit as I thought I did. Stars of the show are Thorpe (of course), and newish vocalist Brian Allen, both of whom combine throughout to consistently provide memorable, air guitar-worthy singalongarumors moments. Picking out standouts is futile – everything here is top notch- though your reviewer has a particular penchant for the thunderous strut of All I Want is You, the sort of melodic chest beater that Iced Earth seems to have cornered the market in lately, whilst opener Murderball (featuring lead embellishments from Testament’s Eric Peterson) also screams for attention from the get-go.
But enough of my hyperbole. The best thing you can do now, is get out and down to your local record n’tape emporium and invest in a copy of Razorback Killers now. It’s the best starightahead metal album of the year to date.