Dutch hard rock trio VANDERBUYST was launched in 2008 with the self-professed goal of injecting some spontaneous fun back into what the young band members perceived to be a moribund music scene. They proceeded to back up this mission with an EP and two full length LPs released in quick succession, as well as a punishing touring itinerary numbering over two hundred shows across Europe, in support of everyone from SAXON to GRAND MAGUS.
Come December of 2012, the seemingly tireless band was already peddling a third full-length named, very appropriately, "The Flying Dutchmen", in anticipation of its being the first VANDERBUYST product to benefit from world-wide distribution; and, given the band's contagious brand of mainstream hard rock, an album obviously aimed squarely at America's aging but still abundant glam rock audience.
To that end, it's interesting to note that the guitar tone employed across "The Flying Dutchmen" appears to intentionally replicates Steve Vai's sound on DAVID LEE ROTH's 1988 platinum smash "Skyscraper" - down to the very last amplifier and effects pedal setting, not to mention VANDERBUYST guitarist Willem Verbuyst's fleet-fingered attack. Take away the superfluous synthesizer overkill that washed out that album, and you'd have VANDERBUYST offerings like "Frivolous Franny", "Tears Won't Rinse" and "In Dutch" (which, incidentally, is sung in English). Not to be pigeonholed so easily, Verbuyst also shows signs of classical music instruction (you know, Bach, Paganini, Uli Roth and Malmsteen, but thankfully not The Great Kat!) in "Waiting in the Wings" and the Spanish guitar-laced ballad "Give Me One More Shot".
In more general terms, VANDERBUYST evidently subscribe to the 1980s hard rock aesthetic - both in terms of production values (clean, compressed) and composition, as token numbers offset sizzling lead runs with big dumb riffs ("Never be Clever", "Johnny got Lucky", etc.) and even dumber lyrics with hooks you can't help but start singing along to before your motor neurons realize you sound like an absolute moron. Slightly more intelligent constructions like "The Butcher's Knife" and "Flying Dutchman" recall '80s THIN LIZZY or perhaps FASTWAY - i.e. '70s rockers adjusting to the next decade's commercial and recording aesthetics.
Suffice to say that on a one to ten scale of cock rock futility ("Appetite" period GUNS N' ROSES being a ten and BRITNEY FOX a zero!), "The Flying Dutchmen" is imaginative and heavy enough to score as high as a seven or eight, and strike a severe - if not fatal - blow against what those whom VANDERBUYST dismiss as perpetrators of "flaccid rock."
Let's see if listeners outside The Netherlands end up agreeing with them or not.
- Eduardo Rivadavia