Vicious Rumors
"Celebration Decay"

(Steamhammer)

01. Celebration Decay
02. Pulse Of The Dead
03. Arrival Of Desolation
04. Any Last Words
05. Asylum Of Blood
06. Darkness Divine
07. Long Way Home
08. Cold Blooded
09. Death Eternal
10. Collision Course Disaster
11. Masquerade Of Good Intentions

RATING: 8.5/10

A lot has happened over the last four years. Most of it, let's be brutally honest, is probably best forgotten, including most of 2020. But one recent event that has obviously been extremely positive for all concerned is that VICIOUS RUMORS have found themselves a new singer and he's an absolute beast. Even ignoring the thrillingly gung-ho performance that new boy Nick Courtney puts in across these 11 newly minted metal anthems, "Celebration Decay" would be an outright triumph. VICIOUS RUMORS have never been the flavor of the month or a band that most mainstream metal media would even acknowledge, but the truth is that these New Yorkers have long been one of the most consistent pure heavy metal bands around. "Concussion Protocol" (2016) was a strong effort, too, but their 13th full-length is streets ahead on every level, Courtney's towering presence included.

As ever, founding guitarist Geoff Thorpe has provided a dazzling barrage of steroidal mid-paced trad and thrash riffing as this album's sonic bedrock. There is nothing remotely old-fashioned about VICIOUS RUMORS' sound at this point, but the band's dedication to elegantly constructed songs and huge hooks remains unwavering. As a result, the blend showcased on "Celebration Decay" has an air of "Jugulator"-era JUDAS PRIEST, but dragged into the post-digital present day with evangelical zeal.

The opening title track nails its creators' colors to the mast with venom: muscular, momentous and (not surprisingly) vicious, it's the kind of brutal but melodic metal that deserves a much bigger audience than it usually gets. "Pulse Of The Damned" is an instant crowd-pleasing monster, with a monstrous, mid-paced gait and a gripping, dark undertow; "Any Last Words" is a near-perfect heavy metal song, with Courtney veering from abyssal bellows to retina-popping screams, audibly very much at home in his new environs. In fact, while VICIOUS RUMORS have had several phenomenal vocalists over the years, they haven't sounded this singular and cohesive since the late, great Carl Albert led the charge on classics like "Digital Dictator" and "Welcome to the Ball". There's palpable passion and excitement driving everything here, from the atmospheric churn of "Asylum Of Blood" and the stirring pomp of "Death Eternal" to the hard rock stomp of "Long Way Home" and the all-out aggro of "Collision Course Disaster". The melodies are uniformly memorable, the riffs likewise, and a sweet balance has been struck between speaker-threatening bottom end and '80s-friendly clarity. All told, "Celebration Decay" is VICIOUS RUMORS' strongest album in more than 20 years, and Nick Courtney (check out his old band GLADIUS on Bandcamp!) could be the find of the decade.

COMMENTS

To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@)gmail.com with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).