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Vicious Rumors: Razorback Killers

Once and for all, I'd like to know what's in the kool-aid that some of these veteran thrash bands from the 80's are drinking from these days. OK, so technically Vicious Rumors are more of a classic metal/power metal band than pure thrash, but damn if most of their latest release Razorback Killers isn't kick ass, high adrenaline, 80's styled thrash of the highest caliber. Think the best of Testament, Megadeth, Accept, and Primal Fear, toss it into a blender, and out comes this lethal metal brew that is Razorback Killers.

Founding member, guitarist, and leader Geoff Thorpe is joined here by vocalist Brian Allen, guitarist Kiyoshi Morgan, bassist Stephen Goodwin, and drummer Larry Howe. Together they form a merciless speed metal machine, ripping through mashers such as "Black", the relentless title track, the shred-erific "Pearl of Wisdom", and the crushing Bay Area styled thrasher "Axe to Grind", which will remind you of vintage Exodus, Testament, or Heathen. In fact, Testament guitar slinger Eric Peterson contributes some lead & harmony lines to the killer cut "Murderball". From a guitar standpoint, this is an incredible display from Thorpe & Morgan, as the two churn out an endless supply of blistering leads, tasty, melodic harmony lines, and crushing, often times technical riffs. Allen's vocals perfectly fit the music, as his aggressive delivery straddles that fine line between Udo and Zetro. Closing number "Deal with the Devil" is a 7-minute crusher, complete with bombastic crunch-o-rama, snarling vocals, and a wicked guest lead guitar solo from none other than Night Ranger legend Brad Gillis.

To be honest, as solid as much of the Vicious Rumors back catalog is, Razorback Killers surprised the hell out of me. This is some seriously kick ass thrash, speed, and power metal, with some of the TASTIEST guitar work I've heard in a while. If you are in the mood for a neck snappin', air guitarin' good time, you need to hear this one.

Track Listing

  1. 'Murderball'
  2. 'Razorback Blade'
  3. 'Black'
  4. 'Blood Stained Sunday'
  5. 'Pearl Of Wisdom'
  6. 'All I Want Is You'
  7. 'Axe To Grind'
  8. 'Let The Garden Burn'
  9. 'Rite Of Devastation'
  10. 'Deal With The Devil'

Added: April 16th 2011
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 3918
Language: english

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Vicious Rumors: Razorback Killers
Posted by Jeff B, SoT Staff Writer on 2011-04-16 12:56:26
My Score:

Vicious Rumors is a band who never really "hit it big" in terms of commercial sales, but is one of most consistent U.S. power metal bands out there. Since their inception in 1979, the band has been regularly churning out high-quality heavy metal albums to their dedicated fanbase. Razorback Killers, the band's tenth full-length album and first in nearly five years, is yet another impressive chapter in their already noteworthy discography. Vicious Rumors may not be the most revolutionary band anymore, but these veterans do still know how to deliver kick ass heavy metal in 2011 - and, in the end, that's all that really matters!

Razorback Killers is a hard-hitting album in a lot of ways. I'd consider it "power metal with balls", if you will. The music is really heavy and relentless; I hear a lot of influence from the Bay Area-thrash metal scene on Razorback Killers. Songs like "Razorback Blade" could barely be considered traditional/power metal in my opinion. My favorite track is probably the opening cut, "Murderball" - Brian Allen's vocals are just spectacular there. One of the best things about Vicious Rumors is the top-notch musicianship, and that certainly applies here. The blinding guitar work from Geoff Thorpe and Kiyoshi Morgan (as well as Mark McGee, Brad Gillis and Eric Peterson as guests) is excellent - if you're a guitar player of any sort, this is the type of album that you simply cannot resist. One of my only major gripes about this release is the production. Razorback Killers simply sounds far too polished and sterile for these ears. It's really a shame; the music has a decidedly raw heavy metal approach, but the over-stressed production values only diminish one of the album's finest assets. A rawer sound would've enhanced my enjoyment significantly.

Despite my gripes with the production, Razorback Killers really is an excellent album from Vicious Rumors. These American veterans show no signs of slowing down, and Razorback Killers is definitive proof of this. People who enjoy old school power metal with a modern production should love this one. Of course, albums like this have existed for the last 30 years, but when the music this good, it's hard to consider that a major setback. 3.5 stars and a solid recommendation are deserved for Razorback Killers.

Vicious Rumors: Razorback Killers
Posted by Steven Reid, SoT Staff Writer on 2011-03-27 18:35:26
My Score:

Razorback Killers is the first album for six years from veteran American Power Metallers Vicious Rumors, which also sees the band introduce a new singer in the shape of Brian Allen (Malice). Back in the day guitarist and founding member Geoff Thorpe was seen as a real trailblazer in the power metal shredfest stakes, however even though the band did receive strong support from the media, it never really happened for Vicious Rumors, with them somehow always remaining on the peripheries of the buying public's radar. That in itself was a real travesty with the trio of album that were released between 1988 and 1991 Digital Dictators, Vicious Rumors and Welcome To The Ball containing some of the most tyrannical, in your face, technical power metal of the time.

So what of comeback album Razorback Killers? Well it has taken a while (longer than I'd hoped), but slowly but surely this album has grown on me. Personally Allen's vocal style has been something that I've had to get over, rather than being immediately impressed with it. His more aggressive snarl adds a far tougher element to the music than I had anticipated from VR, but it does have to be said that he does posses a huge amount of power in his delivery. The songs themselves are harder in attack and a little more modern in their outlook than that which Vicious Rumors has had before, but they do it well and Thorpe is still a six string master. Possibly my expectation levels were too high for this album, but I had really hoped to have been completely blown away by what it contained. In truth however the results, while hard hitting and played with conviction are just a little too run of the mill to really make a lasting impression.

Razorback Killers is still a welcome return from a hugely under rated and influential band, but lacks enough real killer moments to make Vicious Rumors stand out from a crowd they helped bring together.

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