Tag Archives: Vandenberg

Thunder Bay Arena Rocks Top 10 Studio Albums 2020

Thank goodness for music. Here’s what I thought was cool in the year 2020. If anything check out some of my picks as you may find some stuff here that will make you wanna crank it to 11!

Here are my Top 10 Studio Albums/Songs for the year 2020!

Here We Go…

#10-Tbone: Lebrain Train– So my pal Tbone bored out of his noggin at “Castle Del Erickson” one night decided to monkey around with all the gadgets on his iPhone (Garageband) and recorded a theme song for Ladano’s Stream. Safe to say he has managed to do in 2 minutes that bands like “Poison” and “Warrant” have not been able to muster up since 1990 and that’s writing a catchy tune! Click the video above and by the way my favorite part of the video comes in at one minute and thirty-five-second mark.

#9-Trapper: Bye Bye Mon Cowboy/Illegal/Winterlong– Guitarist Sean Kelly continues to show his work ethic as not only does Sean play the 6 string in acts like Coney Hatch, Rough Trade but along with vocalist Emn Gryner and their band Trapper released a mini EP featuring a couple of French cover tunes (Illegal/Bye Bye Mon Cowboy) Not only that but Trapper a few weeks back also released an original tune called “Winterlong” that leaves us wanting a full on-length release of originals! Bring it on Sean!

#8-Ozzy Osbourne: Ordinary Man– People bitch and moan about Ozzy using autotune and doing this and that but want do you want. No Ozzy records? People would complain about that. In saying that “Ordinary Man” is a decent spin. Some rockers, some ballads, and other than the last two songs which are not my deal it’s a good album. Kudos to Andrew Watts for co-writing and playing some good guitar.

#7-Kim Mitchell: The Big Fantasize– Kim well into his 60s has released a cool summertime chill-out record called “The Big Fantasize”. If you’re looking for “Lagar And Ale” type Kim rock keep on walking but if your willing to listen to a dude who has earned his right to do the rock he wants to do you may like what Akimbo is doing here!

#6-Whitesnake: The Rock Album- I’m not big on compilation albums but this one intrigued me as 10 of the 16 tracks featured I had never heard. So for that David Coverdale makes my list and it always helps when an album opens with John Sykes and his musical guitar muscle of “Still of the Night.” Plus the fact that there are zippo ballads on “The Rock Album” also helps the cause!

#5-Big Sugar: Eternity NowGordie Johnson released the long-awaited “Eternity Now” which went straight in at Number 1 on the iTunes sales charts. No mean feat as Big Sugar lays down the law on epic guitar tracks like “The Better It Gets” and Alex Lifeson makes an appearance on the title track. Gordie is one fine guitarist!

#4-Harem Scarem: Change The WorldPete and Harry do what they do best and that is delivering huge hard rock slabs of pure melodic metal. “Change The World” came out right before the world took a dump yet these guys stepped up with a batch of hard rock delight.  “The Death of Me is hands down one of my fav rock tracks of the year. Give this one a spin or a stream and tell Harry and Pete that dEke’s sent ya!

#3-Vandenberg:2020- Holy moly, Adrian Vandenberg enlists a great vocalist in Ronnie Romero, and between the two of them easily have made the list here as Vandenberg has rocked up a batch of great tracks. “Freight Train” is a bonafide winner and Adrian lays down the law on his guitar throughout the 2020 album. I’m glad he has rebooted Vandenberg. 

#2-AC/DC: Power Up– The world needed an AC/DC album and boy did they deliver. I can honestly say I can listen to “Power Up” front to back without skipping tracks. Angus was smart to bring the old crew back and they blasted out an album of what they do best. Power this album Up!

#1-Storm Force: Age of Fear- Patrick, Dennis, Mike, and Greg known as Storm Force put out the magnificent “Age of Fear” this past January, and then the world hit the skids. “Age of Fear” is my Number 1 for the year 2020 as this release is chock full of superb musicianship, soaring vocals, and crafty lyrics along with very solid production(Darius Szczepaniak). A top-notch release that covers all the bases of the Hard Rock spectrum.  If you goggle around on the web all the reviews have been stellar for this band so it’s not just me spouting off.  Check out “Age of Fear”  an appropriately named release if there ever was one in the year 2020!

Check Back Friday for my Top 10 Live Albums of 2020!

 

Impact Albums: Vandenberg(1982)

 

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.

The boys in Vandenberg raided Tbiones closet fort this picture!The boys in Vandenberg raided Tbone’s closet for this picture!

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!

 

 

SONIC WAVES…Vandenberg/Vandenberg

1982 and it musta been Hit Parader magazine and they had an add for Vandenbergs debut album called ……..wait for it….Vandenberg!

I was sold on the add I mean you had 4 long-haired dudes from Holland and with song titles like Your Love Is In Vain,Wait (til the shit hits the fan) Ready For You and Too Late I knew this would be a rocker of a record plus they were supporting Kiss on there Lick It Up Tour(1983)so I figured Vandenberg would have some rock balls so to speak….

Vandenberg was named after its founder Adrian he of later day Whitesnake fame! Adrian the dude whose solo is on Here I Go Again single on the Whitesnake 87 record after OL David Coverdale gave John Sykes(guitarist)the boot! Adrian was the guy who cowrote the Slip Of The Tongue record as well for Whitesnake than Adrian mangles up his wrist and Ol Coverdale replaces Adrian on record with Steve Vai!

Got it? The rest of Vandenberg is Bert Herrink(vocals) Dick Kemper(bass and great name) and drummer dude Jos Zoomer!

Vandenberg releases an absolute gem of a debut and here’s the proof in da pudding!

YOUR LOVE IS IN VAIN- drums,bass and hot-shot guitar action start this tune! Bert bellows ‘ you better go your own way” yeah man I’m sure she will and Vandenberg drops a classic track opener and Adrian puts me into the realm of realizing that his playing is more Micheal Schenker like than Eddie Van Halen like and for me it s ok there’s only one EVH in my book! You know why Coverdale was sniffing around Vandenbergs back yard before he recruited Sykes! (Vandenberg said no) by the guitar picking of this fellow!

BACK ON MY FEET- Zoomer the drummer kicks it in with a count in and Adrian slips into guitar hero mode playing neat little licks and here’s some double bass drumming during the chorus! Great song as well! 2 for 2 folks!

WAIT (TIL THE SHIT HITS THE FAN)-hahaha great marketing ploy I had never seen anyone up to that point(1982) that had a song title with SHIT in it so I had to get it! Hahaha…..Adrian opens with a nice classical guitar piece and soon drums/Dicks bass(ha),electric guitar and Bert drive this song past the 6 minute mark! I still can listen to this record nowadays but the only thing is the drums do sound dated but everything else! Top Notch!

BURNING HEART- Ummm, a case could be made that this may be the first power ballad I ever heard back in 82! This ain’t no Journey  ballady stuff this is power ballad done right! More classical guitar and when the chorus hits its big time power riffs! Bizarro that in my kooky world here at Arena Rock that this is the first time I have written that a power ballad like  Burning  Heart didn’t want me to puke upon first listen! Braaaaaaavo!

READY FOR YOU-opens side 2…guitar rolls into drums and bass and man were off this had to have been the tour opener! This Vandenberg boys can play and the backing vocals as well are top-notch! Cool solo in this tune as well!

TOO LATE- this song kicks off right out of the gate. It’s like the Vandenberg Xpress Bullet Train is about to derail off the tracks as it just slams along at break neck speed and hey let’s drop some double bass drums in the chorus! More great guitaring from Adrian and hey if you’re keeping score not only did he write all these tunes on here he did the artwork for the cover of the album as well! Talented fella!

NOTHING TO LOSE- this song drives along as well! Man this album is a showing no signs of slowing down whatsoever! Woo-hoo and  no ballads on side 2!

LOST IN THE CITY- Bert the singer tells us he’s lost ….Lost In The City! This could have been a single as well. Drums start off and Adrian and Dick(ha) join in and this song is another great corker of a track and follows protocol here at Arena Rock that there’s hidden gems on the end of the album! This is one of Em!

OUT IN THE STREETS- bam,bam,bam double bass drums going 120 mph and crazy riffing lead the charge to the end and man Jos the drummer and Adrian just rock this track big time especially at the solo intersection! Head on crash between these two guys for sure,musically that is! What a great end to a great debut!

IN CONCLUSION- I think Tbone was wondering when I would get around to reviewing Vandenberg! Hahaha….well buddy here it is! Vandenberg for me blew my ears out with this debut and two others that followed I never really wrapped my ears around. The second album Heading For A Storm had some good tracks and I may review it someday but it lacked something,perhaps it was the fact that to me it sounded like sides 3&4 of the debut….who knows. Vandenbergs third release Alibi I just totally passed on,dunno why but just did!

Saying that though these 4 guys…Bert/Adrian/Jos and (the )Dick slammed a super-duper classic debut upon my Sonic Senses back in 1982! Yes!! Is the answer if you’re wondering if I have this on my iPod!

Like why wouldn’t I?!