"Red Eye"

By Colonel Angus

It has been 30 years since these guys released “Vigilante” and I have to admit that I did not really follow the band early on.  Sure, I saw the ads and articles in Kerrang! Magazine but I did not go out of my way to purchase their records.  For whatever reason (probably due to my increased age), I have gone back and started listening/purchasing/collecting a lot of the music that was part of the NWOBHM.  Listening to earlier releases like “100 M.P.H.” and “The World’s Insane” had me wondering why I overlooked these gems first time around, especially since I was a Motorhead fan right away.  Better late than never I guess. 
This latest album, “Red Eye”, is a bit different than the earlier releases in that I don’t quite hear the early speed/thrash elements that were found all over tracks like “If I Were King” or “Let’s Go”.  That’s not to say that I am disappointed in “Red Eye”, just surprised with the tunes.  They have a more of a 70s hard rock vibe and less NHWOHM touches.  Tracks like “Red Eye”, “I Need You Now”, and “The Knowledge” sound like they could have been released at the tail end of the 70s.  Even the production lends itself to having the vintage hard rock sound.  The only song that has the earlier Vardis vibe is “200 M.P.H.” which is probably an homage to where it all started.
The only original member on “Red Eye” is Steve Zodiac who, like always, provides all the guitars and vocals.  Joining him on drums and bass respectively are Joe Clancy and Martin Connolly.  Even though Zodiac is the star of the show, the band plays like a well-oiled machine.  Being a three piece, there is no room for error or dead space so Vardis continue the tradition of true power trios.  As mentioned earlier, Zodiac is the star on Red Eye” and riffing and lead work is great throughout the disk.  I especially like his playing on bonus track “200 M.P.H.(Reprise)” so make sure you get that version of the CD.  It is well worth it for that tune alone.

Vardis are a little different of a beast than they were back in the early 80s so if you are looking to revisit old glories, then you might not find them here.  But, if you are looking for some quality hard rock played with style and passion, then I suggest getting a copy of “Red Eye”.  Just remember to get the version with the bonus track mentioned above.  You’ll thank me.