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VICIOUS RUMORS Celebration Decay

By Alex Yarborough, Orlando Contributor
Tuesday, August 18, 2020 @ 6:54 AM

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Celebration Decay

2020 SPV/Steamhammer

If you were one of the fans that got out and supported live music in 2018-19, and witnessed the 30th Anniversary Tour for the classic 1988 album Digital Dictator, you saw the new lineup of VICIOUS RUMORS, which features new vocalist Nick Courtney (ex-GLADIUS) and guitar virtuoso Gunnar DüGrey. These two fantastic discoveries were added to the long-standing membership of guitarist Geoff Thorpe and drummer Larry Howe. I recall being blown away (it seems so long ago now!) by the ferocity of this lineup, and I really enjoyed banging my head with the classic VR tunes. Playing all those Digital Dictator songs definitely encouraged VR to write more in that same vein. Adding to the lineup on Celebration Decay is a guest appearance by former TESTAMENT and HAVOCHATE bassist Greg Christian, a long-time friend of the band, and great musician in his own right.

Any band that’s been around for 41+ years (yes, VR has existed since 1979) is going to have its ups and downs, and VICIOUS RUMORS have certainly had some downs. Losing celebrated second vocalist Carl Albert (RIP) in 1995 was a blow for sure. The upside has been the consistently solid albums of thrash melded with power metal. The band persevered, even if they aren’t rightfully appreciated in their own country like they should be. I’ve been following VR for over 30 of those years, and have been a fan of probably 95% of the material the band has ever released, which is a pretty damn good track record of quality music (now 13 studio albums and four live albums). Celebration Decay is arguably the closest the band has flirted with the glory days when Carl Albert fronted the band. If you are a Carl Albert fan, (and you should be) you are going to love Nick Courtney’s unique voice. His performance is absolutely incredible on this album, from his highs, lows and everything in between– he totally nails it.

The first song is the title track, “Celebration Decay”, which barrels down the highway at full tilt after a short intro. The aggressiveness is apparent from this apocalyptic-themed track, and Nick’s vocal prowess is evident as well. Hopefully, you’ve seen the fantastic video for the killer track “Pulse of The Dead” (video on KNAC.COM HERE). The riffs and lyrics on this song really struck a chord for me. “Arrival of Desolation” is another amazing track, reminiscent of “Worlds and Machines” with its galloping drumbeat from Larry. “Any Last Words” became a favorite track early, bristling with menace and packed with killer lead guitar trade-offs and Nick’s soaring vocals. Mid-tempo smasher “Asylum of Blood” gives the whole band a chance to show off, with Greg adding his trademark bass riffs that were so evident on early TESTAMENT albums. Things slow down on the atmospheric and brooding “Darkness Divine” and pick back up a little on “Long Way Home”. Another standout track is the vicious “Cold Blooded”; I love the lyrics on this song. “Death Eternal” is a favorite deep cut, featuring a great theme riff and solos galore. Nick hits some high notes as well. “Collision Course Disaster” is a real kick in the ass, a song that totally destroys all in its path, and exactly what I need from VR. I love the album closer “Masquerade of Good Intentions” which includes the line: “Time will tell if you’re for real, or a masquerade of good intentions”. Celebration Decay features 11 songs and a total time of 47 minutes.

The awesome harmony guitar work on the album is very enjoyable; there are plenty of great riffs, soaring solos with whammy, dives, and allusions to the great albums Digital Dictator (1988), Vicious Rumors (1990) and Welcome To The Ball (1991). I have to say the album sounds crisp and heavy. This is due to the hard work of recording and mastering by Geoff and long-time collaborator Juan Urteaga. Despite being an absolute shitstorm of a year, 2020 has brought us quite a few noteworthy new metal releases. Celebration Decay is definitely one of those releases. Here’s hoping things get back to normal, and concerts return soon. And to Geoff, Larry and all of VR I say: great job, and please come back to Florida again! Celebration Decay will be released by SPV/Steamhammer on August 21st.

5.0 Out Of 5.0

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