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Back In The Ring
MTM Music
Hard Rock
9/8/2006 - Review by: Eric Compton
Vengeance - Back In The Ring - 2006 - MTM Music

Track Listing
1. Back In The Ring
2. No Mercy
3. Mind Over Matter
4. Captain Moonlight
5. Holy Water
6. Bad Attitude
7. Had Enough
8. Now And Then
9. Cowboy Song
10. Rip It Off
11. Evelyn
It is about damn time! One of the best rock and roll bands of all time has returned to the building. Vengeance returns with a vengeance on their new reunion album "Back In The Ring". I haven't been this excited and this stoked about a record since the boys of Victory got together for their reunion album "Instinct". Many of you will recall my "Where Are You" column on Vengeance a few years back. Tons and tons of emails poured in on the whereabouts of singer Leon Goewie, with such strange solutions as Goewie was doing drywall, construction, recording in an underground band, and of course, Goewie may be dead. Well folks....the band is back together! The boys get "Back In The Ring" with their new album of the same name. Have they lost any of their drive? Hell no. Have they lost their Van Halen character and persona? Hell no. Are they as good as they once were. Hell YES! Crank it up, light it up, and bring back the rock baby! Vengeance is back in the ring with both fists swinging!

This new Vengeance line-up consists of the famous Leon Goewie on vocals, possibly landing his best vocal performance to date. Joining him is Barend Courbois on bass, who stepped in to play for the band back on their '97 album "Back From Flight 19". Courbois has also played for Demon Drive, Maxima, and most recently BISS in the past. On drums is Hans in 't Zandt, who has played skins for Chinawhite, Terra Nova, and Angel Dust in the past. Guitarist Peter Bourbon weighs in with the group this go around as well, previously playing in bands like Heartbeat and Tightrope. With that band firmly in place and kicking ass, this album also gets a few surprises thrown in. Bassist/vocalist Matt Sinner throws in a few backing vocals, Mad Max/Biss guitarist Michael Voss steps in to lend a solo here and there, and original Vengeance member Arjen Lucassen even slides in a guest appearance.

The band kicks things off with the AC/DC styled "Back In The Ring", a rowdy barn stormer that could have been lifted from any party rock album of the early '80s. "No Mercy" is a quick rock and roll salute that garnishes a hefty chorus bit and some of Goewie's best vocal work. The band steps it up with "Mind Over Matter", "Holy Water", and "Bad Attitude", each of which are stellar hard rock anthems that should be played over and over on any NFL Sunday highlight show. Goewie and the boys experiment a bit with "Captain Moonlight" and its trance-like chorus parts. "Had Enough" offers more rock while "Cowboy Style" is the perfect single and radio friendly affair that would knock Bon Jovi's "Have A Nice Day" right off of the charts. Highlights for me are the rock solid affairs "Rip It Off" and "Holy Water".

Bottom Line - Although a bit retro in delivery, this is still the top of the heap when it comes to powerful, party friendly, rock and roll. The Darkness and White Stripes....take a damn lesson from these boys! "Back In The Ring" lays down a challenge to everyone. Rock it or drop it baby!

--EC 8.25.06


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Eric Compton9/8/2006
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