When San Francisco Bay Area metallers VICIOUS RUMORS returned from a long, strenuous and immensely successful world tour in autumn 2011, the musicians — least of all band mastermind and main songwriter Geoff Thorpe — couldn't really see themselves mustering the energy to release a new studio album in the foreseeable future.
"2011 was a monster year for VICIOUS RUMORS in the most positive sense of the word," Thorpe says, looking back at that time with surprise and some satisfaction. "We were on the road non-stop for more or less eight months, played countless club shows and performed at some of the most important festivals worldwide. The last show of the tour took place as part of the 70000 Tons Of Metal cruise — what a finale! Then everything was over very suddenly and we started to work on our new album without so much as a break. Perhaps you can imagine how difficult that was and how much concentration we needed to do that kind of work without any loss of friction." Now the doubtlessly successful result of that big challenge is scheduled for release: VICIOUS RUMORS are set to unleash "Electric Punishment" on April 29 in Europe and May 7 in U.S./Canada, sounding more multi-faceted and creative than they have done in a long time.
There definitely is no discernible loss of friction on "Electric Punishment", which is again ruled by what Thorpe refers to as an "impressive double bass thunder, double guitar attacks and haunting vocals the way you only get them with this band." At the same time, the ten new songs are clearly more multi-layered and diverse than the material on its 2011 predecessor, "Razorback Killers".
"While 'Razorback Killers' was heavy all the way through from start to finish, the new material is more in the vein of 'Word Of Mouth'," Thorpe explains. At the same time, the uncompromising toughness that their fans have come to expect of VICIOUS RUMORS is present on "Electric Punishment" as well: the two openers, "I Am The Gun" and "Black X List", are typical as can be of VICIOUS RUMORS. Thorpe refers to those numbers as "classic power metal tracks which would have fitted on every one of our albums. But there's also an unusually atmospheric song called 'Eternally', an anthem to our audience entitled 'Together We Unite' and a deeply black ballad named 'Escape (From Hell)'. I'm sure that our fans will be just as surprised of the whole album as they will be of the final KISS cover, 'Strange Ways'."
Surprised and most likely thrilled, because once again the band has brought all its skills to bear and come up with a real highlight. Thorpe, vocalist Brian Allen, bassist Stephen Goodwin and drummer Larry Howe were supported by guitarist Thean Rasmussen, who returned to the VICIOUS RUMORS fold after "Razorback Killers". In addition, Thorpe & Co. invited a number of former allies to the studio as guest musicians: Brad Gillis features on "D-Block", "Together We Unite" and "Eternally", Marc McGhee on "Escape (From Hell)", and last but not least, tour guitarist Bob Capka helped out at the studio with a number of rhythm guitars and a haunting solo on "D-Block". Thorpe says: "I had a few problems with my fingers; that's why I was glad that Bob was there to help. Otherwise, it probably wouldn't have been possible to stick to our tight production schedule."
So it's done: "Electric Punishment" is VICIOUS RUMORS' eleventh studio album and proves just how much of a force to be reckoned with this band continues to be.
"We have permanently grown, there have been no two identical albums in our career because each album has a new, fresh approach," comments Thorpe, not without pride. "Still we've never strayed from our course — perhaps precisely for this reason. We've remained faithful to our ideals and have always been honest with our fans. I think our loyal followers value that VICIOUS RUMORS have never jumped on any kind of bandwagon. Everything we do comes from the heart, and 'Electric Punishment' documents that no other band on this planet sounds like VICIOUS RUMORS. To us, that's an incentive, a challenge and a quality feature all in one. And it's something our fans can rely on when we set off on our next monster tour in spring 2013."
VICIOUS RUMORS have been scheduled to headline countless clubs and play important festivals (the Headbangers Open Air in Germany and the Alcatraz festival in Belgium having been confirmed already) before going on to Japan and the USA. Thorpe says: "We're facing big challenges again — but that sort of thing has always helped VICIOUS RUMORS to grow!"
"Electric Punishment" track listing:
01. I Am The Gun
02. Black X List
03. Electric Punishment
05. Escape ( From Hell)
06. Dime Store Prophet
07. Together We Unite
09. Thirst For A Kill
10. Strange Ways (KISS cover version)
01. I Am The Gun
02. Black X List
03. Electric Punishment
02. Escape (From Hell)
03. Dime Store Prophet
01. Together We Unite
03. Thirst For A Kill
01. Strange Ways
02. Murderball (live) (bonus track)
03. Abandoned (live) (bonus track)
VICIOUS RUMORS released a new live album, "Live You To Death", on November 27, 2012 (one day earlier internationally) through SPV/Steamhammer. The CD was recorded by Pontus Norgren of HAMMERFALL, mixed by Juan Urteaga and produced by VICIOUS RUMORS guitarist Geoff Thorpe.
2011 was the year VICIOUS RUMORS stormed European stages with their highly acclaimed studio album, "Razorback Killers", playing 92 shows in 12 months.
"Live You To Death" was recorded in December 2011 on the band's European tour as the support act for Swedish metallers HAMMERFALL. It features 11 songs, including two very special studio recordings: cover versions of "Sign Of The Southern Cross" by BLACK SABBATH and "Running Wild" by JUDAS PRIEST.
"Razorback Killers" was released in Europe in March 2011 and in the U.S. in April 2011 via SPV/Steamhammer. The CD was recorded at Trident Studios in Pacheco, California with Urteaga and Thorpe.