Album Review: Vendetta - Black As Coal
Reviewed by Richard Oliver
Despite being veteran Teutonic thrashers, Vendetta are one of those bands that have been continually overlooked both in the 80’s thrash heyday and in current times. They have always been considered a bit of a cult act with their two 80’s albums 'Go And Live…Stay And Die' and 'Brain Damage' both rightly considered underground thrash classics. The band folded in 1990 only to resurrect in the thrash resurgence of the 2000’s but their output post-reformation has unfortunately been very patchy though previous album 'The 5th' was definitely a step in the right direction.
'Black As Coal' which is album number six from Vendetta continues to step in the right direction down the path of thrash but doesn’t quite make it being another uneven release with some genuinely good thrashing moments mixed with some fairly mediocre songs and a few moments of questionable songwriting. Songs such as ‘Stranglehold Of Terror’, ‘Death Means Relief’ and ‘Beast In Her Eyes’ are the strongest with some rock solid and high velocity thrash riffing mixed, a tight rhythmic attack and snarling vocals from frontman Marco Vogel but whilst on the whole the songs are some solid thrash metal they simply lack in the memorability department and at times sound a bit flat and uninspired.
The title track is a bit of an oddity with its nods to classic heavy metal and old school punk rock and although good to hear some experimentation it doesn’t quite work whilst ‘For Dear Life’ is the definite low point of the album sounding like the sort of mediocre rubbish that countless thrash bands churned out in the mid 90’s after their record labels turfed them aside for all the grunge and alternative rock bands of the time.
This is a frustrating album as there are moments of genuine thrashing goodness but they are offset by some really dull and boring songs and as a fan of all things old school thrash it should never ever sound boring. Vendetta continue to be overshadowed by their contemporaries from the old school Teutonic thrash scene but unlike in the 80’s when they were unfairly overlooked now it is kind of justified as 'Black As Coal' can’t hold a candle to recent releases by bands such as Sodom, Protector, Tankard and Paradox.