Vicious Rumors – Concussion Protocol
Guitarist and founder Geoff Thorpe once again teamed up with his production partner Juan Uteaga to capture the raw essence of the band’s early sound. Guitarist Thaen Rasmussen returns alongside drummer Larry Howe. Concussion Protocol marks the debut for vocalist Nick Holleman and bassist Tilen Hudrap. The album also features guests guitarists Steve Smyth (Testament, Forbidden) and Brad Gillis (Night Ranger) to add to the shredding debauchery.
Concussion Protocol opens up like a lumbering beast on the title track, breaking into a speeding juggernaut of heavy riffs and heavy hitting stick work from Howe. This moves into the propulsive rhythms of “Chemical Slaves” that recalls some of Vicious Rumors trademark classics from the first few records. The plodding pace returns on the monolithic “Victims of a Digital World”. A hail of swirling guitars open “Chasing the Priest” which has something of an early, speed metal Accept vibe. The crunchy and melodic “Last of Our Kind” closes out the album’s first half with its anthemic gang chorus and chugging riffs.
The slamming break-neck tempo picks back up on the double-bass intensity of “1000 Years”. Holleman pushes the envelope vocally on this one. This is followed by the dark and broody roll of “Circle of Secrets”, which is one of the albums slowest yet equally soaring tracks. Hudrap’s rumbling bass opens the march on “Take It or Leave It”, another gang-chant chorus and winding leads embellish the track.
“Bastards” opens with an angry trudging groove which contrasts perfectly against the pummeling speed metal onslaught of “Every Blessing’s a Curse”. The record closes out with the eerie and crushing tank tread assault of “Life for a Life” that simply rolls right over your skull like a sonic war machine hellbent on metal destruction.
Vicious Rumors have remained true to their sound across 12 studio albums and three-plus decades, delivering elite guitar shredding and high-octane, pure kick ass heavy metal. Concussion Protocol is a must have for any headbanger that enjoys in your face, neck-snapping, riff-driven metal.