Vamp - The Rich Don't Rock (Tribunal Records Reissue)

Another long-lost gem comes to light thanks to Tribunal Records!
Release Date: 
8 Jan 2013 (All day)


Despite sounding like a much HEAVIER version of hard rockers Tyketto, Vamp aren't American. They were actually from Germany and came close to greatness in the mid to late eighties before those ever-present record company problems finally did for them…

In fact, in the cold light of day Vamp’s legacy to rock HISTORY will be that drummer Dicki Fliszar ended up thumping the tubs for Bruce Dickinson and UK pop rockers Skin, but that, as they say, is another story for another time.

It’s a good job Tribunal Records have picked this up for the reissue treatment, though, because The Rich Don’t Rock is something of a LOST hair metal classic. Led from the front by the superb vocals of US national Tom Bellini (who really is a sonic deadringer for Tyketto’s Danny Vaughan a lot of the time),  the album is choc full of great Sunset Strip anthems and some fantastically pyrotechnic guitar playing from Ricolf Cross, who adds something utterly smashtastic to every song.

The album opens with the heavy as buggery Heartbreak, Heartache before slipping into more radio friendly territory with Like I Want, which really reminds these ol’ ears of CANUCK hair metal warriors Helix – no bad thing that – and as I listen I’m kicking myself for missing out on this lot first time round… still discovering a new classic nearly thirty years after it came out is pretty cool though, no?

The title track is up next, a powerful semi-balladic ANTHEM, and then it’s time for the exquisite Love Games,  another power packed rocker that can’t help but showcase Bellini’s staggering pipes again… really the man is an utter powerhouse… and the chorus on this will stick with you once your ears have digested it just the once.

You’ll be needing a rest after all that, so luckily Renegade drops the pace a little – though not the INTENSITY – giving you time to catch your breath and gather your wits for what probably would have been side two back in the day…

All Nite kicks in the doors with Fliszar’s double kick drum ASSAULT and some more string-mangling solo mayhem from Cross, but if truth be told it’s a little more filler than killer as far as song quality goes – it even stops midway for Dicki to throw in a drum solo – but Lonely Nights, withits shimmering keyboard line and massive chorus is pure eighties hard rock gold,  as is Stand By Me. In fact, despite being tucked away in the second half of the record, Stand by Me is probably TRDR’s best track. An absolutely titanic hard rock song in the mould of Lillian Axe, it’s absolutely epic, and if the album finished at this point you wouldn’t  be surprised – the song is untoppable, unstoppable – just the dogs bollocks really…

But continue they do, with a nasty little rocker called Bleeding. Propelled by some nice Kilmister-styled four string work from bassist Oliver Scholz, Bleeding THRILLS with yet more blaze from Cross – the man simply doesn’t give in, never ever – and a crunching climax that sends every needle into the red.

Talk is Cheap fills up four and a half minutes without really making you stop what you are doing – there’s another incendiary solo though – and then we’re closing the album out with the RAZOR sharp riffage of Shout and then the battering ram aural hurricane of Why finally draws things to an end in chaotic style – a great way to end a monstrous, and monstrously overlooked – slab of blazing hard rock glory.