Three years after blasting back with the fantastic 2020 album, Vandenberg return with a louder bang and sporting a new line-up.
Vandenberg – Sin (Mascot Records)
Release Date: 25 August 2023
Words: Brian Boyle
No disrespect to Joel Hoekstra and Reb Beach, but Adrian Vandenberg could and should be in Whitesnake, and in a perfect rock ‘n’ roll paradise, he would be doing it alongside another departed snake in Doug Aldrich.
Add the fact that in an exclusive interview with MetalTalk, Adrian said he could picture David Coverdale singing any of the tracks off this album, and it does hit you with a bit of light frustration. But the chances of that actually becoming a reality are probably best left to wishful thinking.
But if you bought, borrowed or stole the last album, you will know the Vandenberg gig is a more than worthy vehicle for the Dutch maestro at this moment in time.
This latest album sees the debut of singer Mats Leven, who wastes no time introducing himself. The Scandinavian powerhouse who bears a strong vocal resemblance to the great Ronnie James Dio tears into opener Thunder And Lighting (no, not the revered Thin Lizzy classic) and ’80s Glam Metal throwback House On Fire like a man with a point to prove, especially after the fine performance of Ronnie Romero on the 2020 album.
Although he pranced around self-indulgently in those famous Whitesnake videos, as a guitarist, Adrian Vandenberg is no show-off. We all know his prowess with a six-string, and you won’t hear nerdy guitar tech waffle off a strummer like myself.
This album is all about the songs more so than a platform for his fretboard wizardry. Title track Sin and Light It Up are, of course, guitar-friendly, but the big boisterous hooks are what fill you up the most.
Although it’s a gleaming new product, the bloodline of this album undoubtedly stretches back to the late ’70s/’80s period of good, authentic rock music. Listening to Burning Skies and Hit The Ground Running, I could have been sitting in my parent’s back room, gatefold sleeve opened wide and blaring my battered old Waltham stereo.
Adrian Vandenberg is clearly not chasing mainstream kudos with this release, and the music has benefited majestically as a result. Some who simply don’t know any better may still view this fine musician as the poser who pretended his guitar was a cello in the video for Still Of The Night, but hey, didn’t he do it well?
The frontage of this record may sport a high-profile name, but this is very much a band album. There’s not a Yngwie Malmsteen vibe about it at all.
Sin is well worth losing weight in your wallet for. Do it the traditional way: hop on a bus, go to the record shop, pay cash, open the album on the bus ride home, bypass your parents and turn it up to twelve.
1. Thunder And Lightning
2. House On Fire
4. Light It Up
5. Walking On Water
6. Burning Skies
7. Hit The Ground Running
8. Baby You’ve Changed
9. Out Of The Shadows