Published on February 4th, 2020 | by Justin G.
Vengeance: Power Of The Rock – Anthology 1983-1998 (Pseudonym, 2019)The Pseudonym label closed out 2019 by showing some love to the long out of print back catalogs of two classic Dutch hard rock bands: Bodine and Vengeance. Both bands coincidentally featured the talents of guitarist (and future Ayreon mastermind) Arjen Anthony Lucassen, and both bands got career-spanning box sets. Vengeance, which Lucassen joined following his stint in Bodine, started as something of a straightforward heavy metal band with a NWOBHM vibe, but soon created their own quirky style of hard rock that brings to mind a Dutch version of Krokus. The new Vengeance box set is titled Power Of The Rock – Anthology 1983-1998, and it’s a hefty, 9-disc offering. It covers the band’s first six studio albums and includes a whole host of bonus material, all of which has been newly remastered. Here’s what you get: Disc 1: Vengeance – The band’s 1986 self-titled debut kicks things off. This is the one real heavy metal album in the set, and it has a harder edge than the rest of the Vengeance material. We get the full album here. Bonus material from the era (including almost all of the material from the 2019 Bad Reputation reissue of Vengeance) is included on the Power Of The Rock 1 disc. Disc 2: We Have Ways To Make You Rock – The band’s 1986 sophomore album is featured here. It’s just the standard album. The bonus tracks from the original CD version and the later reissue can be found later in the set on the Power Of The Rock 1 disc. Disc 3: Take It Or Leave It – The band’s quirky 1987 party rocker is presented here in its entirety. No bonus tracks, but several bonus tracks from this era are included later on the Power Of The Rock 2 disc. Disc 4: Arabia – The band’s 1989 album is presented in full, along with the two bonus tracks previously exclusive to the Japanese edition of Arabia. Disc 5: Last Of The Fallen Heroes – The band’s 1994 album is the last to feature Lucassen, and the only Vengeance album with Ian Parry (Elegy) on vocals. We get the full album plus three bonus tracks from the era. Disc 6: Back From Flight 19 – The band’s 1997 full-length album is presented in full. The Japanese-exclusive bonus track “Big Fat Car” is included later on Power Of The Rock 3. Original vocalist Leon Goewie is back for this one, but it’s hard to overlook the absence of Lucassen. Disc 7: Power Of The Rock 1 – This is the first of three discs that are jam-packed with demos, live recordings and other rarities. It has 18 tracks, including 14 early demos, three b-sides and one live track, all circa 1983-1986. The demo recordings that pre-date the Vengeance debut are the most interesting, but there are a lot of rough diamonds on this disc. Disc 8: Power Of The Rock 2 – This collection of 20 rarities features a pair of live tracks from the Only The Wind single, 16 demo versions and a pair of b-sides, all circa 1986-1988. Disc 9: Power Of The Rock 3 – This collection of 18 songs features eight demo recordings from 1988, four live recordings from 1989, and another six b-sides/alternate versions from their late ‘90s singles. All of the albums in this set have been newly remastered, which is a plus. The sonic upgrade isn’t anything drastic, but it does clean things up a bit and puts all of the albums on the same level. The packaging on Power Of The Rock is similar to what Pseudonym used for their Helloise box set a few years ago: a fairly sturdy clamshell box with each disc in its own cardboard sleeve. There’s also a very thick booklet with a Rock Candy-style band history, detailed individual liner notes and lots of vintage photos. All told it’s a nicely put-together set. The price tag for this set is in the $50-60 range at the moment, which is entirely reasonable considering just how much you get here (and when you price compare the individual out-of-print Vengeance releases. You get a huge amount of material for your money here. This massive set is not for casual fans or those looking to discover Vengeance for the first time. Fortunately there’s a nice 2-disc anthology called The Ultimate Vengeance for that. Power Of The Rock is for the serious fans and collectors, and if that’s you you’re going to love this brick of a box set. It has all the vintage Vengeance material you could hope for, it all sounds fantastic, and the packaging is really nice. It’s a limited run though, so don’t sleep on this one.
Summary: All the Vengeance you could ever hope for.