Your Friggin Rights this is an Impact album in my world! Vandenberg dropped in my lap back in 1982 and here we are 36 years later and it once again dropped into my lap in 2018 and proves to me not that I didn’t need proving that the self titled debut album is indeed a pure form of brilliance in Rock Philosophy that a fella named Adrian Vandenberg could single handly write/perform/design the front cover even and craft a masterpiece of epic proportions
Decipher I shall!
Vandenberg put out such a stellar album all 9 tracks kick into a whole other level that basically with this album became a determent to the other Vandenberg releases which followed.( I shall explain later)
You gotta first of all love the wacky names of these Dutch guys. Along with Adrian you got Bert Heerink on vocals. Jos Zoomer on drums and the Greatest Bass Player name of all time…. Dick Kemper.
Yeah so when the needle hits the opening track Your Love Is In Vain the boys Vandenberg within the first 20 seconds flex their musical muscle and once Bert grabs that mic he’s taking charge telling the lady friend back off literally. Adrian torches and scorches the fretboard and Bam instant fan in moi…
From there its a display in fine workmanship as tracks like Back On My Feet Again/Ready For You/Too Late/Lost In The City deliver the hard rock in spades. All these cats in this band can play. That’s the thing that set Vandenberg apart from other new bands in the early 80s is that they all were strong players. No weak links at all…..
One of the best Vandenberg tunes on this record is Wait(Til The Shit Hits The Fan) which best exemplifies this band. After a quick crash course in what sounds like an ending of the song but at the beginning Adrian rips into a classical guitar piece that than morphs into a full-out electric binge. Than ramps it up on the mid tempo pace that is so good even after all these years.
Course in 1982 the term Power Ballad was trying to rear its ugly head and while bands that came down the pike in the late 80’s like Poison would basically suck the syrup out of anything remotely ballad like Vandenberg had the tune Burning Heart which I think many acts followed by starting off slow than notching it up during the chorus and then relaxing a little only to ramp it up again towards the end. Perhaps Adrian and the boys perhaps as well followed someones pattern but to me they have to be one of the first ones to actually chart pretty high with the term Power Ballad!
This album top to bottom/front to back is a GEM! No Duds whatsoever.
Course how do you top it? Well in Vandenberg’s case you have a helluva time in doing so! In late 1983 the followup to the debut Heading For A Storm (cover drawing done once again by Adrian) failed to achieve in my eyes the greatness of the debut! The task of the followup fell on Adrian who once again composed all 9 songs on Heading For A Storm. This album followed the exact same formula as the debut. Side 1 with 4 songs with the fourth track being the ballad (Different Worlds) like Burning Heart was on the debut. 5 tracks on Side 2 all rockers. Same producer(Stuart Epps). Same sound it’s just that even though some of the album was great. Some spots were patchy.
Late 1985 came the third album Alibi which I never even purchased. Why? I have no idea but if I come across it cheap on vinyl I may take the plunge. But back at that time the band parted ways with Bert Heerink and they never recovered. There are Vandenberg videos on YouTube that featured their new singer but I had a hard time getting through the one track as it sounded like a bad REO Speedwagon song mashed up with a Loverboy tune.
Course that old Geezer named David Coverdale caught wind of Adrian and tried recruiting him back in 1983 for Whitesnake but Vandenberg turned Cov down as Adrian wanted his band to succeed but after 1985 with the failed singer and no record deal Adrian joined Whitenake and yada yada.
To my ears this album does not sound dated as it could have come out last year. So it was a real pleasant surprise when I went Record shopping and was able to score this album for $7 Bucks!