Though they hailed from the Bay Area of California where thrash was king, Vicious Rumors were not at all a thrash band. Nay, they defied their neighbors in favor of a crystalline brand of power metal. Vicious Rumors’ self-titled third album was their first on a major label — Atlantic Records. The first two Vicious Rumors albums came out on the Shrapnel Records label. Like Shrapnel label-mates Fifth Angel, Vicious Rumors were called up to the majors, though success did not greet them upon arrival (the same was unfortunately true for Fifth Angel).
With Vicious Rumors, a band with steel-hearted aspirations and pure metal purpose attempted to carry the power metal torch into the nineties. This was to no avail, but not for a lack of a professional attempt that went against the grain of what was popular in metal at the time — that being thrash and “hair” metal. Vicious Rumors was the follow-up to 1987’s Digital Dictator — an album I hold in quite high regard. Though Vicious Rumors continues in the same vein as its predecessor (think somewhere between late-eighties Metal Church and heavy Queensryche), it lacks the killer hooks that really sunk their teeth into me with Digital Dictator. Strange this is, since all the ingredients are the same, including twin guitar pyrotechnics and vocalist Carl Albert’s flair for the dramatic (ala Halford, Dickinson, and Tate before him), but this one doesn’t grab me by the short hairs quite as much. Fans of Digital Dictator will find that Vicious Rumors traverses the same sonic plane — but I find the latter album to be a step behind in terms of overall song quality. My score: B-