VENGEANCE – Crystal Eye (2012)
Dutch rockers Vengeance have been around for thirty years, mostly remembered by their terrific 1989’s album ‘Arabia’.
Having gone through a lot of musical ups and downs, personal issues, the sudden and untimely death of guitarist and friend Jan Somers last year, you might say they have reached an all time low.
Founding member Leon Goewie has never given up hope on his band and that is a testimony to his enduring faith in the music he makes and the genre he loves so much.
With new players, help from some old friends and a new record company, a new era has kicked in for Vengeance with their new album “Crystal Eye”.
“Crystal Eye” sensational all-star cast is just as spectacular as the new material. Alongside original vocalist Leon Goewie, this recording features drummer Chris Slade (ex- AC/DC, Asia, The Firm), guitarist Keri Kelli (ex- Alice Cooper), and bassist Chris Glen (Michael Schenker Group). This line up is also known as Chris Slade’s AC/DC cover band Steel Circle that plays throughout Europe.
The material for “Crystal Eye” was composed by Goewie mostly in collaboration with producer Michael Voss (Mad Max), except for the title track written by former Vengeance guitarist Arjen Lucassen (Ayreon, Star One).
The CD consists of 11 straight forward, kick you in the face Hard Rock tracks.
They all have that quality of being melodic, good sing along songs, with strong choruses while keeping that crunchy edge, do to Kelli’s guitar playing. Kelli is also helped by Michael Voss and Timo Somers (Jan’s son and also ex-Vengeance).
Even after 30 years, Goewie is still exploring and developing his vocal abilities as he already has a very unique recognizable voice.
As he sings in a lower register on parts of “Back To The Bone” and also the beautiful ballad “Missing”, Gary Barden (MSG) comes to mind.
You have to strap on the seat belts for “Whole Lotta Metal”, a number which Tony Martin (ex- Black Sabbath, Mollo/Martin) contributed tailor-made for Goewie and Vengeance, rocks you socks off. The soulful bluesy ballad “Promise Me” brings out the pain and more serious side of Vengeance.
The album closes with the instrumental, “Jan’s End Piece”, which features the last solo recordings of Jan Somers as a tribute to him. Jan will not be forgotten as the band use the old Vengeance logo as an arch between the past and the future.
Vengeance is back with a more than solid Hard Rock album that sometimes goes for edged Hard ‘n Heavy.
The Goewie / Michael Voss songwriting team hit it off big time on “Crystal Eye”, as the tracklist is varied and always interesting.
Voss, who currently performs in the Michael Schenker Band with bass player Chris Glen, also produced the album, creating a sharp clear sound from which these songs really punch home.
The biting guitar work, hammering drums and pounding bass lines shows clearly the power and precision that Vengeance have captured on this new recording.
Being able to combine hooks plus accessibility with hard hitting riffs and powerhouse vocals, with “Crystal Eye” Vengeance have released an album that really is as impactful as it is surprising.
Very impressive indeed.
01 – Me And You
02 – Bad To The Bone
03 – Barbeque
04 – Shock Me Now
05 – Five Knuckle Shuffle
06 – Desperate Women
07 – Whole Lotta Metal
08 – Promise Me
09 – Crystal Eye
10 – Missing
11 – Jan’s End Piece
Leon Goewie – Vocals
Keri Kelli – Guitars (ex- Alice Cooper, L.A. Guns)
Chris Glen – Bass (Michael Schenker Group)
Chris Slade – Drums (ex- AC/DC, Asia, The Firm)
Michael Voss – Guitar, Vocals
Timo Somers (Delain) – Guitar
Jan Somers – Guitar
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