Vice – ‘Veni Vidi Vice’ (Pride and Joy Music) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Phil Cooper   
Wednesday, 15 November 2017 04:20

Vice artworkReturning after almost 30 years, German hard rockers Vice are set to deliver their new album. Much has changed within the world of rock since the band’s inception in the 80s and since the last release from them in 1990. Their early releases saw Vice attain chart status and widespread television and radio airtime as well as a substantial and loyal fan base. Throughout their career there has been a number of line-up changes and ‘Veni Vidi Vice’ represents a fresh new look endeavouring to build on the already established sound.


‘Hot Summer Night Party’ kicks off the album and following a brief build up introduction a chunky distorted guitar riff starts in accompanied by the bass and drums, the vocals chime in with a high pitched ‘All riiight!’ to round out the texture. From the moment the catchy riff begins, it’s clear that this is a party track and Vice are out to continue with their established hard rock sound. ‘Dirty Mind’ introduces the listener to a heavier side of the band with a crunching overdriven guitar taking the lead with staccato stabs and pinched harmonics. The drums complement the heavy mix with aggressive snare punches and the vocals have more of a growl to them than the album opener. There’s a call and response vibe to the lyrics that combined with a wash of reverb over the whole mix creates an anthemic feel towards the end of the track.


The album progresses along at a fair pace containing all the elements that would be expected of a late 80s hard rock band. Layered acoustic guitars and cowbell are the order of the day for ‘Where Do I Belong’, well placed use of panning and phasing keeps the sonic interest in a track that could have the potential to lose the listeners attention. ‘Only Love Can Heal the World’ offers up a hefty dose of rock cliché and cheese. Woodwind samples provide the intro and soft acoustic guitars pick up the verse. The drums are dialled right back in terms of the aggression shown previously yet are quite high in the mix so the snare punches right through. The chorus is exactly what you’d predict with this sort of title, massive stadium sounding mix with the lighter in the air lyrics telling of all nations coming together with peace and harmony winning the day. Now singing about people being nice to each other is no bad thing, however, it’s the delivery that has the listener reaching for the skip button (and possibly the sick bag).


A hyped up, distorted version of the Steve Miller Band number ‘Joker’ provides an unexpected addition to the album. It offers a great twist to the sound that has been showcased thus far, cementing that this is a talented group of musicians who are willing to take a chance. There is an issue with ‘Veni Vidi Vice’ that becomes apparent as the album draws to a close, filler tracks that have been bolted on become quite evident. ‘Turn It Up’ has a lot of potential with sleazy guitar riff and bass groove, however there is an over indulgence of synthesisers that jars with what has come before and it appears to be a mash of different ideas put together with crowd samples to create 3:37 minutes of stodge. The same could be said of a Jungle Mix? of ‘Where Do I Belong’. This is jungle in the rainforest sense. Clearly the band is having a laugh and joke, complete with stripped down guitars, bongo drum percussion and wildlife noises. Yet the listener is left wondering about its inclusion on the track listing.


Overall, Vice have delivered a half decent rock album with ‘Veni Vidi Vice’, there’s definite talent within the band and much of the track list is good party rock music. The issue is, is that for a band that has not released anything in nearly 30 years, this should be their make a statement album. The loud cry that proclaims ‘here we are!’ - yet it falls short. There’s too much filler in place that detracts from all the best bits. This is a shame because it could lead to tracks like ‘Dirty Mind’, the excellent groove laden ‘Open Eyes’ and album opener ‘Hot Summer Night Party’ being overlooked. Hopefully there’s still something more to come from Vice, perhaps a leaner looking album that focusses on the better bits next time though.


‘Veni Vidi Vice’ is released on Friday (17 November).


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