Vengeance - Wings of an arrow - 2000
To start with I should explain that this it is not a progressive rock album, at least in my view. And why does it appear in progVisions? In the same way that "Marillion.com" was reviewed, as there is a nexus with our dear genre. In this case I will review a record originally published in 1990 and reissued in Cd, remastered, with new artwork and new songs, in this 2000. What does Vengeance have to do with progressive rock?. Not more, not less that the guitar and keyboard player of the band is Mr. Arjen Anthony Lucassen and the singer is Ian Parry, who, next to Jan Bijlsma (bass) and John Snells (drums) formed this hard-rock band at the end of the past decade. I also believe that this album should be reviewed in progVisions given that many of our readers listen also to classic hard rock and epic heavy metal of the 80´s, a heavy plagued of cliches but that is in the heart of some of us (I include myself). For this reason "Wings of an arrow" is a CLASSIC of the hard-rock/heavy metal and the followers of bands like Rainbow, the first Dio, will love it.
What can we find of interest in this album? Terribly epic, catchy songs full of good instrumentation. It is also curious, seeing it from the perspective of year 2000, to see how Arjen Lucassen (composer, guitars and keyboards) has evolved until arriving to what is now Ayreon. Moments like the exquisite introduction of "The last of the fallen heroes" (5:17), the arabesque elements and the guitars and keyboards of the intermediate section of "Wings of an arrow" (4:42) and the instrumental moments and arrangements of the rest of the songs, show the quality of this golden Dutch man and what he would provide us in the future. Ten years later, bands like Stratovarius are unable to make songs like these.
There are evidently also moments of good hard rock ("Trouble in town" (3:21) "Edge of time" (3:09), "Outta my head" (3:14), "Hold on tight" (4:18)); as well as the usual ballad of these albums, beautiful in this case ("As the last teardrop falls" (4:20). And, mainly, a big dose of Rainbow (not reminding from any stage of the group especially, maybe to that of Bent out of shape for the similarity in the voice of Joe Lynn Turner and Ian Parry) in songs as "Outta control" (3:11), "Blood money" (3:14), "Funky little lady" (3:29) or "Keepin´ up with the Joneses" (4:07). The extra songs in the CD are "Kissy 109" (4:16), the impressively amusing "Football crazy" (4:08) that is a song title!, and a demo version of "As the last teardrop falls" (5:08) longer than the original one.
Unfortunately for Vengeance this e-zine is called progVisions and it is not dedicated to hard rock-heavy metal, so progressive content of the album doesn't exceed two and a half stars. In any case, if when nobody sees you, you enjoy the hard rock of that magic decade that were the eighties, this album is made for you and the acquisition is compulsory. Five "hard-rock" stars.