Vandenberg - 2020

Album Review

From press release:- VANDENBERG are back, back with a new line-up and a new album. They return screaming and shaking down thunderous riffs like they’ve never been away. ‘2020’ will be released on 29th May via Mascot Records, a division of the Mascot Label Group, home to hard rockin’ juggernauts, Black Stone Cherry, Black Country Communion, Monster Truck, Crobot and Shaman’s Harvest.

 
Vandenberg, a name with an illustrious past and led by master guitarist Adrian Vandenberg. The Dutch foursome released three quality albums during the early to mid-'80s, namely, the self-titled 1982 debut, (spawning the US hit single 'Burning Heart') 'Heading For A Storm' ('83) and 'Alibi' ('85). They achieved commercial success and earned much acclaim. The band toured the US, Japan and Europe playing with the likes of Ozzy Osbourne, KISS, Rush, Scorpions, Michael Schenker and more.

The guitarist pulled a master stroke by bringing in Chilean born Ronnie Romero on vocals; who's forged a formidable reputation over the past few years with Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow. "I needed an incredible singer in order to make the use of the Vandenberg name make sense and Ronnie more than fits the bill. We got chatting through Facebook, and I asked him if he'd be interested in being in the band. It turns out he is a big fan, as I am of him, so we met in Madrid, where he lives, to see if we could get along, and we really connected."
 
"As soon as I knew Ronnie was on board, I wrote the songs to suit Ronnie's amazing vocal capabilities. We then met up again in Madrid to demo songs using my iPad, which is the way I do things." Romero himself recalls the importance of Adrian Vandenberg on his career. "The reason why I started singing when I was in my teens is when I heard the live acoustic album 'Starkers In Tokyo' by David Coverdale and Adrian Vandenberg. So you can imagine that I am very excited and honoured to be the vocalist for the band Vandenberg."
 
The rhythm section for the new line-up features bassist Randy Van Der Elsen (of NWOBHM heroes Tank) and drummer Koen Herfst, (Bobby Kimball (Toto), Epica and Doro).  Vandenberg says "Koen has been voted Holland's best hard-rock drummer now for several years. He has the sort of fire in his belly that would make any greats such as John Bonham and Ian Paice smile. Randy was highly recommended to me and has a lot of experience. Like Koen he is a brilliant musician." There are also two celebrated guests on the album, namely bassist Rudy Sarzo (Whitesnake, Ozzy Osbourne, Quiet Riot, Dio, Queensryche) and drummer Brian Tichy (Whitesnake, Ozzy Osbourne, Foreigner, Billy Idol).

We start this album with a track called 'Shadows Of The Night'. Welcome back Adrian Vandenberg, certainly doesn't seem like three decades ago. This is a great way to start, full of riffs and vocally magnificent with Ronnie Romero now on board. Next is 'Freight Train', which is a more driven song with a definite attitude that will take no shit. Aggressive and classic rock at its finest.
 

'2020' is a wonderful and timeless album. If you were ever a fan of old school rock n roll from the likes of Whitesnake, Rainbow etc, then you will no doubt love this new release from Vandenberg.

 

It is just a feel good classic rock album that will take you back to days gone but then bring you right up to date with the modern edge to these tracks.

 

Ronnie Romero's vocals certainly work perfectly alongside Adrian Vandenberg's writing and guitar all kept in check by Koen Herfst and Randy Van Der Elsen.

 

TFM gives '2020' a nostalgic 4.5/5, nothing new but not many can do it better. Please check this out when released on May 29th.

 

'Hell And High Water' changes the pace and takes us on a journey with a dirty bluesy rocking guitar hitting you full on, followed by 'Let It Rain' which is a power ballad in every sense of the word.
 

'Ride Like The Wind' is another strong rock number with a real classic vibe. Soaring vocals and guitar, before 'Shout', which is another rock and roll gem with a sound from decades past brought right up to date. 'Shitstorm' has a definite Rainbow vibe, great vocals matched with great guitar, what more could you want. This is a definite driving tune, windows down and stereo turned up to 11.


'Light Up The Sky', is an adrenaline busting track that is full of energy and again needs to be played loud, before the penultimate track 'Burning Heart', slows the pace for a ballad before we end with 'Skyfall', which builds and builds from a gentle start to a real funky vibe that will get you moving no doubt. Again we are transported along on a classic rock steam train.