Vandenberg – 2020

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Who expected really that after 35 years Adrian Vandenberg would resurrect the “Vandenberg” band name and come up with another studio album? And not only this but he recruited Ronnie Romero (Rainbow) thus setting the foundation for what is now known as “2020”! Back in the 80s, Vandenberg had released three really good, melodic records while they managed to record a smash hit called “Burning Heart” that caught the eye (or ear, to be exact) of David Coverdale but that’s another story whatsoever.

The new Vandenberg album bears little resemblance to the band’s past. And how could it be otherwise after all these years? I’d say that this is a more guitar-oriented and heavier album with a clear focus on Adrian’s influences and roots as there are many Deep Purple (MK III) elements in there while Romero’s sensational voice subconsciously bring in mind the late and great Ronnie James Dio. So, the opening track “Shadows of the Night” bears a similar structure as the classic Purple song “Burn” while “Hell or High Water” has a few traces of “Sail Away” from a compositional standpoint. Of notice is also the song “Shout” that could have easily been a leftover track of Dio’s “Sacred Heart”. Naturally, the melodic rock moments are present especially on the great song “Let It Rain” while Adrian comes up with some of his most inspired guitar solos and passages. It would be a mishap if I didn’t mention that the aforementioned “Burning Heart” had been re-recorded and the final result is absolutely brilliant.

All in all, “2020” is a brilliant hard rock album that bears the stamp of two excellent musicians but also of a talented producer (Bob Marlette). In this framework, “2020” blends wonderfully the old school compositional aesthetic with the modern production. Definitely one of the standout albums of the year.

Highlight: Randy Van Der Elsen (Tank) & Koen Herfst (Bobby Kimball, Doro κτλ.) complete the line-up while Brian Richy & Rudy Sarzo are among the special guests.