Vengeance - Back to Flight 19

Vengeance - Back to Flight 19 - 3/5

From the opening riff, it's obvious that this album is a bit of a throwback. Nothing wrong with that, thats for sure, but does it hold it's own in a climate full of successful harks back to the so-called Golden Age of Metal (the 80's)?

Well, opener "Planet Ziltch" works the snarly, sleazy Trad charm very well. Flashes of Alice Cooper and the like makes it difficult to stop tapping that toe. Following this, "Follow a Trend" turns up the sleaze, with plenty of unnecessary (but fun) E-string bending, making sure you know that this is Trad to the very core. The little music box interludes are certainly bizarre, and they catch your attention. By this point, I was still yet to be sucked in, but was ready to be blown away by a killer track. Unfortunately, it never came.

The album stomps along very nicely, with lots of mid-tempo riffing (including the obligatory wah-wah use), competant vocals and drumming that keeps you subconsiously swaying/tapping/nodding to the beat. This is all great, but there are no musical protagonists in this. Nothing takes it to that next level beyond being great music to have in the background. It strikes me as being music that would be more enjoyable with a joint. It is by no means an assault on the senses, it simply carresses your ears with a manageable tempo and chuggy/bendy riff work.

Now, the vocals. For me, vocals are more often than not the most important factor in Trad/Power metal. The vocalist doesn't generally move out of his middling range, but what he does in his own register is (as was said before) competant. The times he does attempt a scream of some kind (the intro to Right to the Core), well, the production saves him. Think Axl Rose with laryngitis.

In all, a good album. Nothing spectacular, nothing ball-grabbingly euphoric, just a Trad album that ticks all the boxes. Definitely one for the older metalheads who never lost right of the glorious 80's. Serve with doobies.

By C. Bidwell