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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

The V-Rats

Intelligent Design

Review by Gary Hill

The V-Rats are the same band as The Vaseline Rats – they just made a bit of a change to their name. This band consistently delivers a blend of hard rock, punk and metal that is top notch. With this latest CD they continue that tradition. It’s another smoking album that has no weak points. If these guys keep it up like this you should expect big things from them. They are a powerhouse outfit and deserve to be near the top of the heavy metal pile.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Unlisted Track
This is a short piece – less than a minute. The rhythm section provides the only music while what sounds like a little girl recites something in another language.

No Good For Me
The musical motif that makes up this track reminds me a bit of classic rock goes Sex Pistols. It’s a smoker for sure. The vocals seem to bring us rather into the mode of Montrose. We get some killer guitar work on this and a great retro rock grind of an instrumental section.
Dirty Little Secret
With a killer grind, this one is pretty much all metal. It’s a fairly slow moving tune, but very tasty. The instrumental segment on this is a scorching retro rock thrill ride.

Know Definition
Another scorching metallic cut, this again reminds me at times of Montrose, but I can also hear some Ted Nugent on this. While all the guitar solos on this album are awesome, the one that takes this one to its close is especially noteworthy.
'et al'
Bass guitar leads this off. As the rest of the band pound in I tend to think of the Black Crowes – but with a bit more edge.

'Lisa'
A telephone being dialed gives way to another retro rocker. In some ways this is one of the most melodic tunes on show here. It’s got a bit of punk sneer on the verses. I actually hear early Rush at times on the music here. The instrumental section on this one is just plain killer.

Point Of No Return
They pound in with a more metallic approach here. The vocals, though seem much more in line with punk rock. I can almost make out The Dead Boys at times in the music here, too. We get some Eastern tones on the guitar solo here – but not as much as you often find in neo-classical epic metal. There is a section later where they drop it back to a stripped down, nearly acoustic take on itself and then fire it back out into the powered up version. That’s really a move that’s just about trademarked old school punk. The outro on this is feedback laden and has what seems to be the same voice we heard on the first track of the disc.
So Over You
A serious metal sound (extremely heavy) makes up the intro here and part of the song seems to have a 1980’s Judas Priest texture with a chugging sort of presence. The chorus, though is very much punk rock. It’s a great combination of sounds.
All The Ones You Want
A frantic bass line (assisted by percussion) brings us in. The track combines that Montrose hard rock with metal and punk rock textures to create another screamer. Some conversation, like a tape recorder running in a room, serves to take this out.
South Of My Heart
The crunchy fast paced riff that starts this out reminds me a lot Rob Halford’s Fight. This is one of the most purely metal tunes on show here and is another scorcher.
Devil To Pay
Another from the “considerably metal” department, this scorcher has some Scorpions like guitar work at times. There is also a somewhat reggae-inspired break later in the piece. It’s got a catchy chorus and is one of the highlights of the disc.
Blood Demons & Whiskey
This powerhouse is just plain mean – reminding me a bit of Virgin Killer era Scorpions – at least in terms of the guitar sound. The vocals have more of a wall of sound feel to them. This is definitely the best track on the disc. As so it makes it an extremely good choice for closer.
 
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