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5 for a Return with a Vengeance - 84%

bayern, June 18th, 2017

Vendetta’s spell with the metal scene was very short back in the 80’s although they did produce two pretty good albums that should have shot them into the spotlight. Well, they didn’t, and the guys disappeared from the public eye before making any impression at all to anyone. A fairly familiar story, if you ask me, as the band spent the uncertain 90’s hibernating, deciding to give themselves another chance in the new millennium with the old school resurrection campaign and all. However, for some mysterious reason, they have decided to pay tribute to the decade they spent in a dormant state, and their first two instalments were messy, not very coherent mixtures of their style from the past and the groovy/post-thrashy vogues from some ten years ago.

Not the most successful comeback on the scene by any stretch, the band were obviously destined to remain just an underground phenomenon regardless of the time and the occasion. It was sad, though, this reformation spell as it was simply way inferior to their old exploits. Well, 5th time’s the charm for them apparently as this new offering sees them finally pulling themselves together, bringing back some of the old vigour from the past in an admirable way as the opening “Fragile” nicely recalls the band’s debut with the vigorous speed/thrashing crescendos and the more technical dashes. “Let’er Rip” is a smashing headbanger going way over any of their previous aggressive feats, and “Deadly Sin” carries on in the same direction with fierce gallops and a few less orthodox decisions.

“Agency of Liberty” raises the level even higher with the fast-paced vortexes and the smart intricate arrangements, before “The Search” offers some balladic, “idyllic” pauses. Comes “The Prophecy”, and the fans will rejoice all over as this piece is an awesome progressive speed/thrasher that would find a place on “Brain Damage” any time with the complex rifforamas and the delectable melodic variations which create a really nice meandering symbiosis. “Shame on You” is the sole reminder of the band’s more recent post-thrashy “flirtations”, but expect more dynamic “skirmishes” and dramatic stomps to make it a less ordinary nod to the groovy 90’s. “Religion is a Killer” is a more laid-back speed metal anthem the accumulated inertia hitting the 80’s parametres before the final “Nevermind” puts an end to everything with a nice balladic touch the heavy tranquillity lasting for nearly 6-min.

The last track kind of doesn’t match the vigour of the preceding material, but doesn’t ruin the final impression at all since there are plenty of interesting moments for the listener to feel that the band finally mean business here, and have finally remembered what they used to play some thirty years ago. To talk about a total return to the roots would be too far-fetched, of course, but at least the guys have managed to wash away the shame from the last two showings, and it seems as though they have set on “a journey” of self-discovery that may even take them to heights they’ve never reached before. Back in the 80’s they were circling around the progressive/technical thrash cohorts, and remained in the outskirts of the movement not feeling brave enough to enter this particular arena the way Mekong Delta, Sieges Even, Deathrow, Realm, and others did. They didn’t have the courage for this although they by all means had the requisite skills. With all the gimmicks of the old school restored to their former glories in the new millennium, the band should feel more courageous now; people say that the 6th time charms keep coming in heaps… and with a vengeance.