Genre: Heavy/Power Metal
Country: U.S.A.
Label: Steamhammer/SPV
Year: 2014

U.S. power metal veterans Vicious Rumors are releasing their third live album, a sequel to 2012’s excellent “Live You to Death”, titled “Live You To Death II – American Punishment”(“American Punishment” could also be the title of a ridiculous blockbuster action film with Russians/Koreans as the villains). This time recorded during their Electric Punishment Tour of the United States, the album succeeds in showing us the raw energy and power of a Vicious Rumors concert while at the same time introducing us to the new line-up in the best way possible.

The familiar razor-sharp, catchy-as-hell riffs and beautiful solos, courtesy of leader Geoff Thorpe and Bob Capka are here, and supported by a tight rhythm section the songs are performed flawlessly. Nick Holleman, the 21-year-old new vocalist does an excellent job in delivering the golden era classics as well as songs from the (impressive) last three albums, filling the huge gap left by great singers like Carl Albert(R.I.P.) and Brian Allen. The new, updated line-up proves more than adequate; they are in fact full of energy and passion, a well-oiled machine sweeping us away and supporting a genre sadly ignored by most audiences today(only the RIGHTEOUS remain).

The opening five songs are taken straight from the legendary “Digital Dictator” album and right from the start you can feel the power, the nostalgia, the reason why they are one of the genre’s most important bands. After taking us back to US power’s roots, they unleash two killer tracks from their latest studio album “Electric Punishment”, proving they remain very relevant and worthy of their glorious past. Next we are taken back in time again, with impeccably executed songs like Mastermind, Don’t wait for me & Hellraiser from the terrific “Welcome to the Ball” and “Vicious Rumors” albums. As expected, the final track is “Soldiers of the Night”, the epic anthem from their 1985 debut.

For the uninitiated, “Live You To Death II – American Punishment” is a great introduction to the back catalog of a band that helped shape U.S. power, and enriched it with some terrific records. For the rest of us, it’s exactly what we need until their next live show. The new line-up is definitely working for them and I for one cannot wait for their next studio effort.

5/6