Kofi Kingston emerged as a bright up and coming talent in WWE through the mid to late 00’s, and though while a solid worker, he never truly reached the heady heights of being WWE Champion and never attained main event level status…that was until 2019 when he was finally given a well-deserved push and a fantastic WrestleMania ‘Moment’ on April 7th.
Forever Vendetta have (Albeit on a smaller scale) mirrored that to a degree. From as far back as 2008 you may have seen them share the stage with the likes of HARDCORE SUPERSTAR and LA GUNS, though while promising upstarts, the Swansea based quartet (Now consisting of guitarist Leigh Fuge, bassist Liam Alonzi, vocalist/guitarist Chris Tippett and drummer Gareth Hunt) always remained in that lower to mid-card status in the South Wales music scene. Recently however the Welsh rockers have returned after a brief hiatus with their long-awaited debut album “New Day Rising”…and all of a sudden my analogy makes sense. Will this give Forever Vendetta the push they need to hit the big time? Let’s find out…
The album opens up with “Unbreakable” and what we have is essentially a drawn out introductory piece. Purely instrumental; it flows through your speakers with a subtle mixture of emotions, blending a sense of sadness and, almost apathy…however that’s juxtaposed with a reassuring feeling of hope and defiance in the face of struggle. In just two minutes of soulful guitar playing they’ve already managed to convey a message of redemption; they’re back and shits about to go down. It’s wonderfully structured this, a strong start.
First track proper then, “Come Alive” immediately transitions into a deep, bass-heavy rumbling, before the band kick into gear with their blend of hard southern-inspired blues rock. The chorus carries with it a decent melody and the influence of bands such as BLACK STONE CHERRY is fairly clear here. The riffs are solid and the solo is both slick and impassioned…credit to them they’ve absolutely nailed the sound in regards to this genre. “Takin’ It Back” initially gives of a subtle nod to the likes of VELVET REVOLVER before falling into a similar song structure, though the solo is, again, enjoyable and the track overall is a touch grittier.
Elsewhere the likes of “Snake Oil Saviour” and “Not Your Hero” provide more of the same, enjoyable blues-based hard rock, with the band primarily sticking to their formula and knowing their strengths in delivering riff after riff, with well executed guitar play…but here we have to sadly point out the albums only real flaw; the vocals. Chris is clearly passionate about his craft, there’s no denying that and credit to him he’s giving this 110%, but there are too many occasions throughout this record where despite his efforts, he comes across as simply not capable of delivering the notes he’s aiming for. On “Easy Way Out” for example, his voice really isn’t powerful enough to stamp authority on the tracks chorus, as he comes across as strained, almost forced and it sadly sounds off…there’s something that just doesn’t click and it makes you wince truthfully. “Roll It On Back” gives off the impression it’s more of a demo with raw vocal recording, while “Don’t” comes across as a scrapped BON JOVI B-Side track.
Overall, instrumentally this album is undeniably superb, and kudos to the guys for their efforts here; this is some top-notch blues rock ‘n’ roll…it’s just a shame vocally things aren’t quite on par. They haven’t quite emulated Kofi Kingston's trajectory just yet, but there’s a lot of potential for them to do so. It’s a new day, yes it is…but it’s more of a Monday morning than a Saturday morning if you catch my drift.