It was a brave move by Vardis to start their recorded career in 1980 with the live album ‘100 MPH’ as any following studio albums would have to be measured against it but the brace of ‘The World’s Insane’ and ‘Quo Vardis’ released in 1981 and 1982 respectively rose to the challenge but their 4th and unfortunately final release in 1986 of ‘Vigilante’ was always my favourite. The album really should have given their careers a boost but record company apathy led to Vardis going their seperate ways. The faithful have waited for a reunion and our prayers were answered online in 2013 when Vardis drummer Gary Pearson had finally managed to track down lead guitarist Steve Zodiac and rehearsals had been planned with ‘Vigilante’ era bassist Terry Horbury. Better news was to come with their comeback gig booked for March 1st 2014 at Brofest UK #2 where they raised the roof to a packed out room and that ‘Vigilante’ was to be remastered by Steve.
So here we are now with ‘Vigilante’ available via Hoplite Records on CD with an 8 page booklet and a bonus track called ‘Who Loves Ya Baby?” which was the B side of their cover of ‘Standing In The Road’ produced by the legendary Vic Maile. The CD against vinyl debate will always go on but as the intense catchy riff of ‘Learn How To Shoot Straight’ zips out of the speakers then modern technology has certainly breathed new life into the album. A jackhammer rhythm backing by Gary and Terry lead into a feedback drenched guitar solo as the song ends around the main riff. ‘Following (Beyond The Threshold Of Pain) has a pounding intro similar to Saxon’s ‘Dallas 1pm’ but the similarities end there as it shifts into foot to the floor rock with a scorching guitar solo containing some neat Wilko Johnson type chops midway, the outro being the main riff with a few vocal ad libs left in showing how raw the recordings must have been.
‘I Must Be Mad’ is a feel good toe tapper running along like their 45rpm release from 1980 ‘Too Many People’ and ‘Radio Active (Feel It) has an almost Hawkwind spacey vocal over a bouncing riff with almost Hank Marvin guitar parts in the background as the song gets more guitar heavy in the 2nd half with a raucous solo followed by a heavy rolling riff ending with howls of feedback. ‘Radio Rockers’ is hammered out by the band in a punk rock vibe, raw and in your face with a menacing vocal as Steve’s voice often has a vibrato like Roger Chapman from the band Family. Album favourite of mine is next, the mighty ‘Don’t Mess With The Best (Cos The Best Don’t Mess). Gary’s marching drum beats drive along Steve’s grinding riff full of sustain with Terry’s bass holding it all together. ‘Vigilante’ was Terry’s 1st studio recording with Vardis.
‘Guitar Hero (Just For You)’ has a Slade type stomp with yet another catchy chorus showing they had a lot more strings to their bow as they were lumped in with the genre called NWOBHM at the time. ‘Wild Sound’ is a bass guitar heavy number with an almost garage rock feel to it with yet more searing guitar work throughout. The bonus track ‘Who Loves Ya Baby?’ is next and has almost chiming chords bringing to mind ‘I Feel Fine’ by the Beatles, highlighting Vardis’ influences. ‘Bad Company’ is another bass heavy number hurtling along like early Motorhead and album closer of a breathtaking 40 minutes is ‘All The World’s Eyes’ another catchy little ditty in the vein of early 70’s glam rock.
A new album is currently being written and live shows will be the Keep It True fest in Germany 25/26th April but UK fans can catch Vardis at the Pentrith Rock & Blues fest in Derbyshire on Fri. 26th July and the Hard Rock Hell fest in Pwllheli, North Wales in November……Lets Go!
Vardis band line up :-
Steve Zodiac – Lead guitar/vocals.
Terry Horbury – Bass guitar.
Gary Pearson – Drums.
Vigilante track listing :-
Learn How To Shoot Straight.
Running (Beyond The Threshold Of Pain).
I Must Be Mad.
Radio Active (Feel It).
Don’t Mess With The Best (Cos The Best They Don’t Mess).
Guitar Hero (Just For You).
Who Loves Ya Baby?
All The World’s Eyes.