VANDENBERG - VANDENBERG (Wounded Bird Records)


Nowadays Arjen Lucassen is a hype in our scene but twenty five years ago Holland enclosed another guitar phenomenon, Adrian Vandenberg. The first album of his band, easily called Vandenberg had an eye catching band logo and was the perfect Hard Rock export product for our neighbors. Looking back to the pictures of these guys I still can't believe time has flown so fast... Extreme forms of Metal were still lying in their cradle and back then we had the choice between the darker and heavier Metal bands or the more melodic Hard Rock bands like UFO, Gary Moore, Van Halen or let's say MSG. Vandenberg was a good example for the more harmonious kind of Metal, remarkable was the fact these guys received their status from out of a very little country.


I loved Adrian Vandenberg's shredding, virtuosic, even neo-classical, guitar plays since I discovered his first notes. With emotional songs like 'Your Love Is In Vain' and 'Back On My Feet' this Dutch genius and his band knew perfectly how to touch my soul, even more, they stole it... Nowadays I would give it away for free if I had one more chance to see Vandenberg on stage, something I regretfully missed in the eighties.


I have always been a fan of acoustic fast guitars and the intro of 'Wait' is sensational and beautiful. Also the tempo of the song, along with the vocal lines, makes this track an everlasting one. The clear, emotional voice of Bert Heerink is outstanding! Often people said there were a lot of similarities between Vandenberg and Van Halen, which is true for several reasons. Fans of Van Halen in the Samy Hagar era must surely adore Bert Heerink's timbre and talent!


The most famous song Vandenberg ever wrote was the ballad 'Burning Heart. This striking love song made the band immortal in the lowlands and Vandenberg was invited in several Pop music programs on TV and they were every day on the radio. The song took them to high positions on the music charts and as far as I can remember even an advertisement TV clip was made with on particular song. It proves what the impact was of the song and even all Metal haters were touched because of the beauty of the song. I believe Vandenberg made Heavy Rock music more respectful with it. The entire LP contained strong melodic and original songs, good song writing and brilliant performances.


Vandenberg's follow up album ''Heading For A Storm'' was another fine album. Once again a ballad, 'Different Worlds', became a commercial success along with the 'Poppy' song 'Friday Night'. With the third album ''Alibi'' the last notes were written and Vandenberg disbanded soon after. The fairytale was done, I still regret it.


Of course I need to spend words about the mastermind Adrian Vandenberg, a fascinating guitarist. In my opinion he's still the best guitar player of the lowlands and he belongs to the World's top. His exciting way of pulling the strings astonished a lot of people, especially in the Metal scene. All guitar riffs and solos are from the highest quality because of the particular mix of skills and emotions. Also Whitesnake discovered the handiness of this maestro and just after the release of their '1987' album Adrian Vandenberg moved to the US to join Whitesnake. It was in a time this band was immense popular, selling millions of albums and Adrian Vandenberg tasted the success and became a rock star.


Due to wrist injuries Adrian Vandenberg was forced to retire for a period but he stayed in the neighborhood of Whitesnake. Unfortunately he didn't come back to restart Vandenberg, I heard he wrote some stuff later but he left the path of instrumental melodic Hard Rock. As far as I see a reunion is impossible although I have seen a performance with the original line-up a few years ago on the Dutch TV, playing 'Burning Heart'. Twenty five years later the song is still not forgotten!


Allow me to be ignorant about Adrian Vandenberg's future. I keep on hoping Vandenberg to reunite because this was one of the best Hard Rock bands Europe ever contained.


My Points: 100 / 100