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Articles Home » 2016 Articles » Vardis - 2016 Red Eye
Vardis - 2016 Red Eye

ARTIST: Vardis
ALBUM: Red Eye
LABEL: SPV/Steamhammer
YEAR: 2016


LINEUP: Steve Zodiac - guitar, vocals * Joe Clancy - drums * Martin Connolly - bass

TRACK LISTING: 01 Red Eye * 02 Paranoia Strikes * 03 I Need You Now * 04 The Knowledge * 05 Lightning Man * 06 Back To School * 07 Jolly Roger * 08 Head Of The Nail * 09 Hold Me * 10 200 M.P.H.



Well here's a surprise. A throwback to the late great NWOBHM were this powerful trio called Vardis, led by the aptly named Steve Zodiac. When I was a kid, I used to build collages of photos and band logos which I pasted onto large sheets of cardboard, which then promptly ended up on my bedroom wall. Vardis were on there, along with all the perennial favourites of the day. Of course, Vardis were written about in the British music rags of the day: NME, Melody Maker and my all-time fave: Sounds. Once I finished reading them and gleaning all that was possible, pages and photos were cut up and pasted onto my collages. I wish I still had them.. sigh. Anyway back to Vardis, their best known album from that era was '100 m.p.h', which to my ears sounded like a commercial version of Motorhead. Their last official album back then was 1986's 'Vigilante'. So surprise surprise thirty years later that in 2016, Vardis have been picked up by SPV/Steamhammer, that well known supporter of old school metal.

The Songs
'Red Eye' is still very old school, but leaning more towards classic hard rock than NWOBHM. You can also throw in some hard blues influences in there too. After the heavy entrance of the opening title track, Vardis start moving in a groove/blues rock direction with surprising results. 'Paranoia Strikes' and 'I Need You Now' demonstrate this early on in the piece. The trio pick up the pace on 'The Knowledge', and by now, you get the impression this is the sort of stuff you'd like to see played down at your nearest 'local'. Vardis keep their intentions intact for the shout-out-loud rock of 'Lightning Man', while turning up the screws for the excellent 'Back To School', which really is a return to their glory days. With a song-title fit for a Running Wild or Saxon album, 'Jolly Roger' is a fun-filled romp that requires a few ales to wash it down with. 'Hold Me' changes to a slower tempo, while '200 m.p.h' is a new take on their '100 m.p.h' past, a quick and brutal sounding conclusion to the album.

In Summary
There are two bonus tracks onboard, including a new take on 'Out Of The Way' (the lead song from the original '100 m.p.h' LP), and a reprise of '200 m.p.h' heard earlier. For me, this is a very enjoyable album. It's very lo-fi and basic in its approach, and makes for a good change after all the usual glossy fare. It's nice to see Steve Zodiac and cohorts back in the groove, and despite the ravages of time, it goes to show that you really can't put a good band down. Kudos also the SPV/Steamhammer for picking these guys up!

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