Vicious Rumors - Soldiers of the Night (Shrapnel Records) 1986
Vicious Rumors - Digital Dictator (Shrapnel) 1988
Digital Dictator was Vicious Rumors second album that was released some three years after their debut and featured two new members; Mark McGee on guitar and Carl Albert on vocals. This proved to be the favorite line-up by fans of the band. 'Digital Dictator' is a smoking, semi-commercial power metal affair. It's easy to see why Carl Albert was favored by fans as his voice is absolutely amazing. (Sadly, Carl Albert died in 1995.) This album was actually my first exposure to this band, and I cannot believe I have not heard these guys before! Perhaps the name threw me off, as it sounds a bit on the glam/pop metal side. Darn, and wouldn't you know most all their discs are now out of print! Checking eBay, however, their discs sell for a decent price, most under $10.
Vicious Rumors (Atlantic) 1990
1. "Don't Wait For
Vicious Rumor's self titled disc is actually their third album, but their first on a major label. Thankfully, Atlantic/Sony didn't ruin this band, as Vicious Rumors is a vicious power metal assault, sounding a bit like Metal Church or a heavier and more aggressive Queensryche. "Vicious Rumors" starts off heavy and only gets heavier as it goes. There are a few more mellow moments on the disc, but overall, Vicious Rumors is high caliber heavy metal. One thing about this disc though is that it has more immediate hooks than any other VR disc I have owned thus far.
Vicious Rumors - Welcome to the Ball (Atlantic) 1991
I'd be willing to bet that if this band had been named almost anything else, they would have been much more popular. Vicious Rumors just sounds like a LA hair band. Their music, however, is a blend of the best of the 80's Seattle sound, mixing together equal parts early Queensryche and the chunk and vox of Metal Church. What can I say? This is right up my alley but somehow I missed them during this time, assuming that they were just another pop metal band. Darn those stupid stereotypes! Oh well, no time like the present. "Welcome to the Ball" is as excellent a power metal album as anything the above mentioned bands put out, which is saying alot. The disc starts off heavy, and with the exception of a few mellow points, pretty much stays heavy throughout.
Vicious Rumors - Word of Mouth (SPV) 1994
1. "Against the Grain"
"Word of Mouth" is a spectacular heavy metal disc. It's rare to hear an album that is musically this tight and has such stellar vocals that remains inside the parameters of heavy metal without straying into realms of progressive metal. Vocalist Carl Albert has a great voice that actually reminds me of Eric A.K. from Flotsam & Jetsam in their early years at times and at other times of David Wayne of Metal Church/Reverend. As a matter of fact, the entire disc is stylistically within the same mold as Flots' "No Place for Disgrace" or most of the Metal Church albums. I'm sure that this comparison will upset some people, but it really is the sound that I am reminded of when listening to this disc. Actually in my opinion, this is a compliment as I am a huge fan of this style of powerful and passionate heavy metal. I wish there were more bands in the 90's that were playing this style.
Vicious Rumors' first disc after the death of Carl Albert. As such, Geoff Thorpe steers the machine clear of the 80's power metal sound that Vicious Rumors is known for, adding a new, gruff vocalist, grungy guitars and a lusty union of powerful riffs, heavy grooves and downtuned sludge. Probably not their best disc, but it is most certainly is their heaviest. I personally miss the soulful, melodic vocals of Carl Albert, but aside from that, "Something Burns" is a decent modern metal album.
Vicious Rumors - Cyber-Christ (Victor/Japan) 1998
"CyberChrist" is one heavy stinkin' slab of heavy metal, although I must confess right off the bat that this CD is very unlike much of the rest of the band's catalogue. Whereas much of Vicious Rumors' albums can be accurately described as power metal, "CyberChrist" follows in the trends of more modern groove metal bands like Pantera and Down. The guitars are downtuned, the rhythms heavy and predominate. There are lots of those heavy guitar grooves laid on top of even heavier, mid-paced drum work. The vocals on this disc range from a mid-range melodic singing to that macho shouting that has become so popular in modern forms of metal. Of course, what would a Vicious Rumors album be without Geoff Thorpe's smokin' axe-work. Songs like "Buried Alice", "Fear God" and "No Apologies", despite being the most brutal, heavy and modern sounding songs the band has written, still feature some stellar lead work. (However, the Pantera comparisons still apply.) Other tracks like "Kill the Day" and "Downpour" pick up the pace a bit, and can more accurately be described as speed metal. This song also features some excellent guitar work. Unfortunately that cannot be said for many modern metal bands as talent and guitar heroes become unpopular in the late 90's. To be quite frank, I think I prefer the band's power metal discs to this album, however, that doesn't mean I don't like it. One the contrary, had this been the band's first album they probably would still have been a band I followed.
Vicious Rumors - Sadistic Symphony (Parris) 2001
1. "Break" (5:07)
Vicious Rumors get vicious on this disc. The 80's power metal sound is almost gone, but in place we are given a new lease on life, heavy modern power metal riffs, speedy guitar solos and mid-range aggressive vocals. The vocals are aggressive, yet influential and somewhat operatic. Production is outstanding without being overly clean. Songs like the title track and "Born-Again Hard" are mid-paced heavy metal numbers which need no other label. This is pure heavy metal! Other tracks, however, like "Puritan Demons" are fast and heavy touching a style of speed metal that is rarely played by today's power metal and prog metal bands. The overall song structures are well-written and the musicianship is stellar, however, the songs themselves are not overtly (or overly) technical, which add to the appeal, in my opinion. An emphasis on writing good songs over trying to show off how technical you can be is a quality I welcome. I am also glad that Geoff Thorpe got all the alternative bugs out of him and has returned to playing the style of music we all want to hear from Vicious Rumors, balls-to-the-wall heavy metal!
Vicious Rumors - Warball (Mascot Records) 2006
1. "Sonic Rebellion"
I waited anxiously for this CD to come in the mail. Vicious Rumors with the one and only James Rivera (Helstar/Seven Witches) simply had to be great. Once I tore open the box and popped the disc into my deck, I was immediately taken back. This CD freakin' rules!!! This is how heavy metal should sound. Not that I had any doubts at all. Geoff Thorpe is a veteran of the heavy metal wars and James Rivera is simply one of the best classic heavy metal vocalist around. The fact that this man isn't remembered on the same level as guys like Ian Gillan, Rob Halford and Ronnie James Dio just goes to show that there is more to fame than true talent. It may sound trite, but on "Warball" the band successfully manages to meld together classic Helstar and Vicious Rumors. Each and every track on this molten power metaller is penned to complete perfection. If I had to pick a weaker song, I'd probably go with the acoustic, melodic, semi-ballad "Windows Of Memory". If the vocals and songs themselves don't send you into instant fits of headbanging, then the guitar solos are sure to leave your jaw on the floor. None other than Brad Gillis (Night Ranger/Ozzy) performs lead guitars on tracks 1, 2, 3, 4 & 9. Geoff Thorpe and Thaen Rasmussen are not slackers themselves. Both pull out some technical, jaw-dropping solos. "Warball" is a more than worthy successor to the classic Carl Albert years. It is a true feast of true heavy metal.
Vicious Rumors - Razorback Killers (SPV Records) 2011