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Vardis > 100 M.P.H. > Reviews > CHAIRTHROWER
Vardis - 100 M.P.H.

Attention! Calling All Marty McFly Emulators... - 96%

CHAIRTHROWER, February 4th, 2018
Written based on this version: 1980, 12" vinyl, Logo

Although Wretchedspirit's swell review duly nailed NWOBHM old-timers Vardis' core essence and crazed, free-for-all styled vintage rock n' roll sound, am also compelled to throw my two cents in (you can keep the change) regarding the trio's largely unheralded, classic debut, 100 MPH; oddly, it entails 3/4 hour live show featuring ten revved to the max, crowd pleasing humdingers imbued with singular, 1950s rock n' roll dynamism evocative of Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future (namely, his jaw-dropping, knockabout performance at his parents' school dance).

Hell, alongside Thin Lizzy's Live And Dangerous and Pentagram's A Keg Full of Dynamite, 100 MPH stands tall as one of all-time favorite live acts. Doubtless, such novelty never wears off.

Fronted by still active, charismatic front man/guitarist, Steve Zodiac, while thrust along in most bedazzling manner by bassist Alan Selway and drummer Gary Pearson, Vardis integrates very best elements of timeless heavy rock worthies Tank, Raven and The Who, at the same time imbuing its own uniquely festive character to the mix, thus launching the listener - and crowd, as attested by its roaring cheers and whistles throughout - into a right kinetic and spry, unflagging frenzy thanks to super drawn out and seemingly endless guitar riffs/solos, dynamic, tangent traveling bass lines and unabated, happy-go-lucky albeit durable drum beats and fills which would make Keith Moon and John Bonham blush (were they still alive - may they respectfully rest in peace). Seriously! While most will initially be taken aback by the band's unexpected but swiftly endearing sashaying rhythms, will, in short order, sprawl in the dust as they merrily chant along to Zodiac's bold vocal antics from another time. Unbelievably, this weathered but unrelenting powerhouse hasn't let up, as full-length number four slid through the door in 2016, courtesy of Steamhammer records...(Watch 'em play well beyond 100!)

Vardis' neurotic knack for timely repetition fuels every song. or rather, continuously amplifies its bodacious, enduring flair. Case in point: the manner rhythms hook and snag on a particular riff before revolving into whirlwind of extensive blues soloing, is simply irresistible (though not quite a la Robert Palmer). As inferred earlier, the bass relentlessly grooves and shuffles this way and that, at times digitally thumping Ian Hill (JP) style or caroming about like a hellion possessed on a day pass, as it does on the footloose, hand-clapping shuffler which is "Let's Go" while the song's momentum furiously builds up in impetus right up to the harried, stand alone introductory solo paving the way for the speed limit breaking title track. Effectively, excitable instances abound, whether it's the insanely melodic - and somewhat Hawaiian sounding - sweep picking dissecting "Move Along", or jolly fret runs and haranguing stomp of "Lion's Share". Zodiac also has quite a knack for stalwart string bends - on both riffs and leads, mind - which further lend a fun and bouncy air to the proceedings. Furthermore, expect loads of Sabbath-y trills and oh-so prominent and ingenious Budgie-evoking bass lines sure to tickle your fancy until you're rolling on the floor joyfully crying "Uncle!"...Have I mention how crisply strident, albeit comfy and conducive, the guitar tone sounds?

Although the humorous and jocosely self-deprecating "The Loser" is sure to paste virginal Vardis revelers with an ear-to-ear shit-eating grin, the finishing flourish to this high brow albeit innocuous gem, "If I Were King (I'd Rock & Roll!)" pretty much sums up everything I love about these guys. Suffice to say, it's no surprise the crowd tirelessly clamors for more of the good stuff as it draws to a close. All I can say at this juncture is "GLEAN VARDIS' 100 MPH ASAP!".

However, you might have to rely on brew-tube, since the original vinyl, which includes a life-size poster, is rarer than a contemporary Hollywood film which eschews gun play.