I remember seeing Vengeance on Headbanger’s Ball somewhere in the early 90’s. They had two songs on there, ”Looks Of A Winner” and ”Rock And Roll Shower”which I remember liking so much that I bought their album Take It Or Leave It and I remember being disappointed. I remember the first time I heard Ayreon and being totally blown away. I remember being totally shocked that Ayreon mastermind Arjen Anthony Lucassen used to be the guitar player for Vengeance. I remember hearing that Vengeance reunited (without Lucassen) in 2006. I remember wondering why. I remember thinking that their reunion album Back In The Ring being quite good. I remember thinking that its follow up Soul Collector from 2009 being quite bad, and when, earlier this year, they released this album I remember wondering if there was any point in me even listening to it.
But my curiosity took the better of me and I decided to give it a go! So is it any good, then? Well, both yes and no. It’s not as good as Back In The Ring and it’s not as bad as Soul Collector. It’s somewhere in between and it still makes me wonder who is gonna buy this. Do huge Vengeance fans really exist?
”Me And You” and ”Bad To The Bone” are two fast songs that open the album, but unfortunately the really doesn’t go anywhere. Feels like a risky thing to open album with two so mediocre songs. ”Barbeque” is lyrically so cheesy that it’s almost ridiculous, but musically it’s actually a really good song. Too bad they didn’t think twice while writing its lyrics. ”Shock Me Now” is pretty good standard hard rock, ”Promise Me” is a decent ballad that doesn’t really go all the way and the title track is a pretty good attempt at writing an epic song. ”Stairway To Heaven” seems to be the model for it. Couldn’t hold a candle to it, though.
”Missing” is a bluesy ballad that works very well. Great song. The album finishes with ”Jan’s End Piece”, the last thing their late guitarist Jan Somers ever recorded. He died in 2011. The album is well produced and even though this review might sound a bit negative, there aren’t any bad songs on it. There just aren’t any great ones either.
I’m sorry, but my guess is that this album will sell by the hundreds, not thousands or millions. The band are good performers, but what they need bad is a killer songwriter to help them out in that department.
Jon Wilmenius (5/10)
01. Me and You
02. Bad to the Bone
04. Shock Me Now
05. Five Knuckle Shuffle
06. Desperate Women
07. Whole Lot of Metal
08. Promise Me
09. Crystal Eye
11. Jan’s End Piece