Rating:
9.8
Vicious Rumors - Digital Dictator
1988


01. Replicant
02. Digital Dictator
03. Minute To Kill
04. Towns On Fire
05. Lady Took A Chance
06. Worlds And Machines
07. The Crest
08. R.L.H.
09. Condemned
10. Out Of The Shadows


If "Soldiers Of The Night" was the blueprint, then "Digital Dictator" was the final draft. The same ingredients (which won't be recounted here) that made Vicious Rumors' début good were refined, further improved and added singer Carl Albert and guitarist Mark McGee to replace Gary St. Pierre and Vinnie Moore, respectively, and the result is simply stunning. Though undeniably a great guitarist, Moore never shared the same chemistry with Geoff Thorpe as did McGee. In fact, the band sounds so tight and organic, you'd think they have been playing together for years. No wonder this lineup (later on often dubbed "classic") stayed together for the next 9 years and they probably would have continued if it weren't for the tragic car accident that cost Albert his life.

The most immediate difference, however, are not the vocals (the quality of which even exceeds it's hype) or the guitars, but Vicious Rumors' production. "Digital Dictator" emanates a rich and powerful timbre that would remain somewhat characteristic for all the classic-era albums. And luckily, the top production is not wasted on bad material. Powerful anthems like "Digital Dictator" and "Out Of The Shadows" put almost every other contender to shame while the speediest tracks such as "Condemned" and "Minute To Kill" are still laden with hooks. Even when the band slows the tempo for a bit more crunch on "Towns On Fire" and "R.L.H." (stands for "Rock Like Hell") or takes compositionally more adventurous routes such as in "Lady Took A Chance" (the album's highlight), the band never loses it's focus.

Though normally not regarded as the seminal US power metal album (probably due to unawareness), the consistency and quality of "Digital Dictator" are undeniable. Few bands, if any, were better at what Vicious Rumors were doing here which leaves this album a timeless and endearing classic. Note: Just like "Soldier's Of The Night", "Digital Dictator" has been out of print for quite some time, but old vinyls can still be bought at a reasonable price.


Band profile: Vicious Rumors
Album: Digital Dictator


 


written by DayFly | 09.04.2009


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.



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Ozman - 09.04.2009 at 10:52  
This is a pinnacle of US Power, great classic album although very overlooked and underrated. Listening to this album brings back memories of seeing them live supproting this album at Aardschokdag 1988 together with Nuclear Assault, Sanctuary, Testament, Flotsam & Jetsad and Megadeth.
DayFly - 22.08.2009 at 00:31  
A reissue of Digital Dictator will be released on the 8th of September. Be sure to pick up this little gem.

EDIT: rerelease postponed to 15th September.
Cryzpin - 19.12.2011 at 20:18  
Written by Ozman on 09.04.2009 at 10:52

This is a pinnacle of US Power, ...

Come on, how can this one (even so good) album prevail in the clash for the "US power pinnacle" facing five consecutive Iced Earth diamonds from Night Of The Stormrider onward up until Horror Show?
Ozman - 19.12.2011 at 20:20  
Written by Cryzpin on 19.12.2011 at 20:18

Written by Ozman on 09.04.2009 at 10:52

This is a pinnacle of US Power, ...

Come on, how can this one (even so good) album prevail in the clash for the "US power pinnacle" facing five consecutive Iced Earth diamonds from Night Of The Stormrider onward up until Horror Show?


It is superior to all those albums and especially the mediocre Horror Show. The vocals alone are better than what matt ever mustered up.
Angelic Storm - 27.12.2011 at 22:43  
Written by Ozman on 19.12.2011 at 20:20
The vocals alone are better than what matt ever mustered up.


Even as a huge Matt Barlow fan, I have to agree with this. Carl Albert's vocals are insanely good, and he's definitely one of the most underrated vocalists ever. I certainly have no qualms in placing him alongside the likes of Rob Halford and Ronnie James Dio as one of the finest metal singers there's ever been.

As for this album itself, I think I do agree with Marcel. Sure, there are a good few albums that run it close, including 2 Iced Earth albums, but "Digital Dictator" is the seminal US power metal album to me. It has aggression, grace, precision, huge hooks, and of course, the amazing vocals of Carl Albert.
Ozman - 27.12.2011 at 22:48  
Written by Angelic Storm on 27.12.2011 at 22:43

Written by Ozman on 19.12.2011 at 20:20
The vocals alone are better than what matt ever mustered up.


Even as a huge Matt Barlow fan, I have to agree with this. Carl Albert's vocals are insanely good, and he's definitely one of the most underrated vocalists ever. I certainly have no qualms in placing him alongside the likes of Rob Halford and Ronnie James Dio as one of the finest metal singers there's ever been.

As for this album itself, I think I do agree with Marcel. Sure, there are a good few albums that run it close, including 2 Iced Earth albums, but "Digital Dictator" is the seminal US power metal album to me. It has aggression, grace, precision, huge hooks, and of course, the amazing vocals of Carl Albert.


Thank you
A lady with taste I see
Angelic Storm - 27.12.2011 at 23:12  
Written by Ozman on 27.12.2011 at 22:48
Thank you
A lady with taste I see


Thank you kind sir

If you want an album that puts the "power" in power metal, then this one really is the ultimate ethos of that. An album that drips copious amounts of venom and class in equal measure, and you can't ask for more really, as a power metal fan!

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