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American Power Metal at it's fuckin' best! That's just what this piece of art here is. Tight, heavy and crunchy with the "in your face" attitude that hits you right from the beginning, this baby simply grabs you by the balls. This was the very first thing I heard from the brilliance that is (or better - was) Vicious Rumors and believe me, I am one happy camper for not letting this piece of history pass me by.
To those who aren't familiar with this Bay Area act, Vicious Rumors are a band formed right at the start of the 80's scene, they recorded demos in the early days but they've only managed to record their first album - "Soldiers Of the Night" in 1986 with Garry St. Pierre of Marty Friedman's "Hawaii" fame on vocals. They, however, still weren't able to completely develop their potential until the arrival of the late Carl "The Voice" Albert. The guy, genius as he was, brought the sound and the term "to sing" to a whole new level and from that point on, the era of VR's greatest achievements began.
Welcome to the Ball is the peak of VR's achievements in my opinion.
The album is, as said before, tight right from the start with the first track "Abandoned" setting the tone for the rest of the album. Riffs are there, solos really deserve to be called by that name, rhythm section more than just keeps the high pace and the vocal performance of Carl Albert is still somehow unmatched, unpaired to this day. The album continues to deliver piece by piece, song by song. We have here faster, heavier songs like "You only live twice", "Savior from anger", "Raise your hands", "Six Stepsisters" and "Ends of the earth", insanely tight songs bordering a bit on thrash, but this ain't no thrash, this is just pure POWER man, fucking power metal. Now don't confuse this term with your European sugar-soaked German and Italian bands like Gamma Ra or similar. This is metal with balls, fast, crunchy but still melodic thanks to the vocal presence of "The Voice" Albert that really keeps the ball rolling here.
On the other hand we have here the MTV aired "Children", a power ballad that once again does not fail to deliver. This stuff is straight from the heart and one cannot fail to hear it, no cheesy bullshit here. Same goes for "Love comes down", this is fuckin' beautiful high rate stuff, and these things don't come often so well executed as they are here. All the credit of course goes to the magnificent singer, Carl Albert. Sure, riffs and solos are the absolute solid backbone here, guitars shred and the really super executed soloing cannot be denied but the thing that really brings it to another level is "The Voice". A top notch performance from an overall one of the, if not THE best singer in the scene. And you gotta know that it ain't an easy task to deserve a title like this. Just check out the first song to understand what I mean.
Why this album doesn't receive as much praise as it should is simply beyond me. The production is great, songs are brilliantly structured and the whole picture just builds up by the minute. A metal fan of 80's thrash, heavy stuff should be obliged to check this out. An absolute winner.