LIVE YOU TO DEATH 2: AMERICAN PUNISHMENT
There are some bands that just seem to live on and on. Like cockroaches, nothing can really kill them. Vicious Rumors is one such band. With a roster that now lists 34 current and past players in their history, there's just something that does not allow this band to die. That something is guitarist Geoff Thorpe. One of the most underrated in the thrash/power metal genre from back in the day, Thorpe has long kept Vicious Rumors not only alive, but creating killer releases that their small but loyal fanbase continues to crave. Last year's ELECTRIC PUNISHMENT was about as good a release as the band had ever done, and yet, even with that, the lineup was turned over by the time they got out on the road and began touring for it. Still, the band soldiers on and presents the most current lineup in the surprisingly crisp and biting new live release, LIVE YOU TO DEATH 2: AMERICAN PUNISHMENT.
Without question, the interest in this release comes in the form of young Dutch vocalist Nick Holleman. Literally from out of nowhere, Holleman just appeared on the last tour and made Vicious Rumors his own. While this is a band that has long boasted great vocalists (James Rivera, Carl Albert, Ronnie Stixx, Brian Allen), few have come in and morphed the sound to them like Holleman has. Listening to material like "You Only Live Twice", it's clear that Holleman feels perfectly at home belting out these songs. Nothing against the other guys that have held the microphone in this band, but Holleman is the first in a while that has fit the band instead of the band fitting him. While James Rivera is one of my favorite singers ever, every band he sings in sounds like James Rivera. That just didn't work as well as this does for Vicious Rumors. Holleman just brings it strong, and you can feel his excitement presenting songs like "Mastermind". He's solid.
As for the rest of the band, they are tight, strong and powerful as always. The rhythm section of drummer Larry Howe and bassist Tilen Hudrap may have been teaming for the first time on this tour, but they created a killer thump for each song. They bring it strong on tracks like "Electric Punishment". That is only bettered by the guitar tandem of Geoff Thorpe and Bob Capka. Thorpe has long been a favorite of mine, and he is blistering on songs like "I Am The Gun" and the fan favorite, "Don't Wait For Me". All in all, LIVE YOU TO DEATH 2 is a true metal release that I would think most fans of stuff on the "Metal Church/Anthrax/Exodus" level of heavy will love.
PITRIFF RATING - 88/100 - They may never have been a part of the "Big Four", but Vicious Rumors was always one of those bands that deserved better. Their lineup inconsistency is probably what bit them back in the day, but that never stopped them from writing great material and delivering it better than just about anyone out there. LIVE YOU TO DEATH 2 is solid, and features an incredible new vocalist who I can't wait to hear more from personally. Fans of live metal will dig this.