Live You to Death by Vicious Rumors is a ferocious, jagged-toothed beast of an album. Unleashed in a live setting, the band is given free reign to fully display its skillful fusion of pummeling aggression with surgically sharp playing. It takes talent to play spot-on melodies, twin guitar leads, and double bass drum pummelings at such breakneck speeds — and Vicious Rumors plays hard and fast, without any loss of precision.
Formed nearly three decades ago, Vicious Rumors has undergone many lineup changes, while retaining skull-rattling intensity and relevance. Founding guitarist Geoff Thorpe and drummer Larry Howe are now joined by the maelstrom of singer Brian Allen, bassist Stephen Goodwin, and guitarist Bob Capka. Recorded in 2011 on the Fall/Winter Hammerfall Tour in Europe by Pontus Norgren of Hammerfall, Live You to Death was produced by Thorpe, outfitting it with clear, blistering bite.
Culled from the band’s 10 studio albums are nine live tracks, plus two studio cover tunes. Replicant/Digital Dictator thunders into action with sweeping, majestic power chords that build and swell into a fast and frantic assault, vocals that easily glide from sandpaper roughness to operatic falsettos, and ominous “cast of thousands” background chants. Minute to Kill screeches in at sound barrier-breaking speed, with snarling vocals that leap into operatic realms, and guitars performing swooping, scorching sonic gymnastics.
Murderball is a newer song that writhes with frenzied guitars and a heavy, punishing bottom end. Another newer tune is Let the Garden Burn, which chugs along with piledriver intensity and formidable vocals resembling a call-to-arms-chant.
Abandoned is also a standout, with mercilessly heavy guitars, ruthless, growling vocals, and a screaming, bullet-fast solo.
Saluting their heroes, Black Sabbath and Judas Priest, the band ends the album with studio versions of Sabbath’s Sign of the Southern Cross and Priest’s Running Wild that perfectly capture the raw power of the originals.
Check out Vicious Rumors on Live You to Death — they’re deadly but definitely not silent.