Upon first listen to Vengeance Creek's new self-titled album, an instant image of tribal tattoos or truly rockin' '80s hair may come to mind. It's common for a metal band in a smallish town to hop on stage and rattle off four to five songs in the vein of a half-baked Metallica or Godsmack imitation. This band, however, is a refreshing facet of the local metal scene. The album resonates the same buzz one gets from listening to Number of the Beast, if only for a short while - it's that overly overindulgent, glorious late-'70s, early '80s metal panache. Electrifying-Randy-Rhodes style guitar riffs and solos accompanied by a distinctive expressive vocal style that suggests Bruce Dickson or Rob Halford.
At times, like most modern metal, the band ventures in a light grunge manner, explicitly redolent of Alice in Chains. "Upon the Battlefield" sets a head-banging rhythm backed by Don Adams's guitar riffs and a heavy Ozzy style vocal arrangement complete with thematic war lyrical content. "Riding the Wind" could have jumped right out of Blizzard of Oz or Number of the Beast in all its true '81, '82 heavy metal glory. Paul Roberts tends to hold steady on the Dickson, Ozzy vocal opulence. Occasionally, as Roberts does on "Midnight Mass," he stylistically laces a Layne Staley tinge in the mix. For those longing for the glory of true invigorating 80s heavy metal but don't want to leave town, this band may be your answer. Any band that can pull this sort of yowling vocals or honest-to-God-head-banging guitar mastery is worth a listen, if not a trip down to a local watering hole to see the band shred it up live. - Tauna Leonardo