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The Arkanes
Label: SPV Recordings
Release: 25.04.2014
Release date may vary per country.

Buckle Up and Shove It
Peter Pan Speedrock
Label: Steamhammer
Release: 30.05.2014
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There’s never been cause to worry about an alleged lack of artistic standards when it comes to new releases by Dutch rock act Vengeance. The experienced band with its excellent line-up has always delivered highly accomplished music, rightfully earning the respect of fans and media all over the world. So with their latest album, Piece Of Cake, the question is not about quality or value but about the material’s stylistic direction. Because despite the eleven albums which Vengeance have brought out since 1984, each album by this band is absolutely unique and has its own, unmistakable direction.

“The goal was to combine the old-school Vengeance spirit with a more contemporary sound and style,” explains Timo Somers, 21-year-old son of legendary Vengeance guitarist Jan Somers, who died of a heart attack in January 2011 and has been replaced by a worthy successor in his own son. “I wanted catchy contemporary choruses, blended with good traditional instrumentalism. I also wanted my own songs to be a little funky and soulful. People can look forward to what to my ears is the best Vengeance album to date. This time the instrumental side of the band is really outspoken, it features a lot of nice intros, solos and instrumental pieces. And to top it off, Leon sounds better than ever.” To Timo Somers, Leon Goewie is without question “the best rock vocalist in Europe”.

The album was produced in June and July at the KidPool Studios in Greven, Germany, by Michael Voss and Vengeance (“We were in the room the entire time, so we kind of co-produced it.”). The band recorded ten numbers plus one intro, drawing from a huge range of different influences, combined under the protective shield of the typical Vengeance style. Somers: “‘Raintime’ is the fastest song on the album. It kind of sounds like a Malmsteen number with Leon on vocals. Double bass, big chorus and a fast guitar solo are the keywords.”

The most typical song is the title track ‘Piece Of Cake’. Somers: “We needed a party song for the album and wrote this together in about an hour in the studio. It’s this typical AC/DC thing with Leon going nuts, plus some Van Halen-like guitars.” The most unusual track is ‘Back To Square One’, a blues rock ballad in the vein of Gary Moore. “I don’t think a lot of people know this side of Vengeance,” Somers suggests, “but it showcases our more soulful side.”

Their new material presents Vengeance not only in a highly topical and dynamic style, it also sees the band pay tribute to their own long tradition, as the programmatic album title proves: “Piece Of Cake is a kind of ironic title,” explains Somers, who penned five of the ten new songs. “This year is Vengeance’s 30th anniversary and it has been quite a rough ride. Line-up changes, the passing away of band members, etc. So we called the album Piece of Cake because even though Vengeance have been through all this shit, we’ve still come up with a kick-ass album. It was a piece of cake, so to speak.”

The new release is rounded off by its expressive cover artwork courtesy of Dutch artist Florentijn Bruning, who photographed Leon Goewie against fascinating lighting. Somers, for one, likes the tasteful picture of his charismatic frontman: “I think it’s a really moody picture and sets the atmosphere of the album. We wanted it to be a bit in the vein of the artwork of Back From Flight 19.” As mentioned earlier: tradition and contemporary style form a homogeneous whole on Piece Of Cake!
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