The long awaited new Virgil and the Accelerators album “Army of three” finally landed on my doormat earlier this week, and I couldn’t wait to review it, but first I had a date in London with a certain Kate Bush.
Army of Three is the band’s second studio album and is produced by the legendary Chris Tsangarides (Gary Moore, Thin Lizzy, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest). The new album follows 2011’s critically acclaimed debut album “The Radium” which claimed a Best Of Year spot in Classic Rock magazine’s year round-up.
The album was penciled in for a May release however bassist Jack Alexander Timmis recalls when everything was cut short just before the LP was completed. Says Timmis, “Towards the end of production, the album was suddenly put on an unexpected hold as Chris Tsangarides was diagnosed with Legionnaires disease. He was in intensive care for 3 months. He was lucky to come out of it alive.”
However ‘Good things come to those who wait’ as the saying goes, and in this case, it is true as VATA deliver a mighty fine slab of blues rock.
Kicking off with ‘Take Me Higher’ an epic six minute blues rocker that just flies by, followed by the current single ‘Blow To The Head’ this album oozes quality, Chris Tsangarides has done an amazing production job on this. Both these opening tracks have some series riffage going on, add a different vocalist and this could easily be heading into BLS territory, however the rich vocals steer the track in a more bluesy direction.
‘All Night Long’, I feel is the strongest of the opening tracks; it certainly has the catchiest chorus.
‘Love Aggression’ is a ballad of sorts, the song seems a little confused to me, as if it’s missing its own identity, its own raison d’etre. It starts off as a hard rock ballad, before turning into a pop-power-rock track that Nickelback do so very well, and then get hated for it, a lot.
However we are soon back on the straight and narrow as the lively ‘Give It Up’, a sure fire future single reminding me of early Rolling Stones, complemented with some good harmonica playing. My album highlight is ‘It Burns’, this one bring the blues swagger back.
The rest of the album is a bit slower paced, but still equally as good, with the final track ‘Free’ a touching ballad, far better than the pop inspired radio friendly effort of ‘Love Aggression’. However I can forgive them for that little mishap, as the rest of the album is so strong. “Army of Three” may not be the most original blues/rock album of the year in terms of content, but I think it is one of the best modern blues/hard rock releases of the year so far, and it is up against some serious competition, namely from California Breed and Rival Sons.
This album should get the band really noticed, bluesy enough for the blues fans, yet also churning out some serious heavy riffs will certainly win them new fans from the hard rock camp.
“ARMY OF THREE”- ALBUM TRACK LISTING
01. TAKE ME HIGHER
02. BLOW TO THE HEAD
03. ALL NIGHT LONG
04. LOVE AGGRESSION
05. GIVE IT UP
06. THROUGH THE NIGHT
07. IT BURNS
08. STAND UP
“Blow To The Head” taken from “Virgil & The Accelerators’ new studio album “Army OF Three”.
The album is released on Monday 6th October 2014 by Mystic Records UK.