Vandenberg

REVIEW: Vandenberg (1982)

VANDENBERG – Vandenberg (Originally 1982, 2011 Rock Candy remaster)

I must the only person in the world who doesn’t care about the first Vandenberg album.

There’s nothing wrong with it. I can’t say anything too critical about it. A track or two aside, it just fails to click.

Of course the standout is “Burning Heart”, the song that Whitesnake rehearsed but never released on Slip of the Tongue as they should have. This hot ballad would have been a hit for the ‘Snake, had Adrian Vandenberg not got hurt and replaced on album by Steve Vai. It’s a truly remarkable song that, honestly, deserved the Coverdale treatment. (Fortunately, you can get a rough version of the song by Whitesnake.) It was good enough to use as an effective side one closer.

On another highlight, Adrian plays some stunning classical acoustic stuff on “Wait”. It transforms into a slow, cool dark rocker but has the unfortunate chorus of “Wait, wait, wait, ’til the shit hits the fan.”

“Your Love Is In Vain” is fine, B-level hard rock, akin to Helix, or Talas, or any band of that nature. Bert Heerink is a somewhat generic singer who doesn’t help elevate the track higher. Kind of a Derek St. Holmes style singer. “Back On My Feet” sounds like a Quiet Riot B-side, right down to the high notes that the bass occasionally hits. “Ready For You” could have been a Van Halen-like speed rocker but lacks the teeth that superior production can bring. “Too Late” has a cool riff and boogie, also recalling Van Halen. Wicked neoclassical, finger-tappin’ solo work too. “Nothing to Lose” is a decent song, with a good chorus that sounds like Talas. “Lost in a City” and “Out in the Streets” are not memorable at all and the production does them no favours.

Let’s say three keepers:

  • “Burning Heart”
  • “Wait”
  • “Nothing to Lose”

Whitesnake should have re-recorded “Burning Heart” properly on the road, when Adrian returned to the band after his injury. They blew a huge opportunity for a timeless hit by not doing so.

The best thing about this album is the guitar work. The songs are secondary.

2.5/5 stars