Vega – Grit Your Teeth

Vega – Grit Your Teeth
Frontiers Music srl
Release Date: 12/06/2020
Running Time: 42:11
Review by Beth Jones
9.5/10

I have an eclectic taste in music. I spent a good part of tonight listening to Mozart (who is incidentally the finest composer to ever grace the face of the earth, in my humble opinion). When I’m not indulging in a bit of classical or jazz, I like to get stuck into the heavier stuff. Anything from industrial and djent to power metal and classic heavy rock cuts it for me, as long as it’s got a bit of vim!

Enter stage left, “Grit Your Teeth”, the new release, and sixth studio album from Vega, the UK’s answer to Bon Jovi and latter era Aerosmith (who incidentally I both love)! I first became aware of these guys at Amplified 2017 and was instantly a fan! Their album release of that year, “Only Human”, is still on my regular playlist, and I’ve been hotly anticipating this new release for some months!

The band bring a certain edge to the classic 80’s AOR sound, which makes it current, and I really enjoy. This album is certainly no exception to their ‘classic with a modern twist’ feel. Every tune has an ‘anthem’ quality about it, and you can picture huge crowds at massive festivals having an absolute ball to it!  This release has been created with the help of “The Graves Brothers” (Asking Alexandria, Funeral for Friend, The Family Ruin), and, for me, the production has stepped up a big level. I’m a stickler for production, as you may have noticed, and it’s superbly done here.

So, what makes Vega’s sound so good? Well there are a number of things. First and foremost, Nick Workman’s vocals. He has the perfect voice for this sort of music and has a brilliant range. He can deliver power and punch right to the top of his range, but also has the control to bring it down when the music requires. Vocal harmonies add an extra layer, and that backed up by the riffs and melodies on multiple guitars. There are some blistering solos throughout this album, but nothing is over-done. The rhythm section don’t over complicate things, instead opting to do solid well! This sits perfectly within their style. And finally, the atmospheric keyboards and synth elements add a variation in colour and depth which tastefully nods back to the classic sounds of the 80’s (also a superb musical era, and anyone who says any different is wrong).

This is an up-tempo album, which has you nodding your head and tapping your toes right from the start. Every track is perfectly positioned within the album, making it ebb and swell in all the right places. Even though every tune is a banger, and we do get a cracking ballad in the shape of ‘Consequence Of Having A Heart’, I think my favourite track on the album is ‘Battles Ain’t A War’, which is slower than the rest, and the most stripped back and deep song on the album. It is in a minor key, which gives it a lamenting feel that is pleasing, in a melancholy kind of way. It also has a great choral backing vocal section towards the end, and the addition of strings, which give it an extra layer.

Another one that sticks in my head is ‘Save Me From Myself’. It has a ridiculously catchy chorus hook, which I was singing along with by the second listen!

But, and you’re going to get sick of me saying this, we have another example of the cardinal sin of music, the fade out, putting in an appearance. It was all going so well, and then the penultimate track goes and does a fade out to finish! Tut tut! For the love of god, please will bands stop doing that and find a way to bloody finish the song instead!! It’s a double shame as there’s an epic little guitar solo in this track too, which is beautifully panned from left to right for effect. It would have been a ten out of ten album for me, but in keeping with my musical morals, half a mark docked for the fade! Sorry chaps!

Apart from that though, stunning album! A huge step forward from their last, and I hope that this is the start of a wider recognition for this immensely talented band, as they thoroughly deserve it! If you like classic AOR, with a Bon Jovi and 80’s/90’s Aerosmith feel, seriously try this album out for size, as you won’t be disappointed!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Blind
02. (I Don’t Need) Perfection
03. Grit Your Teeth
04. Man On A Mission
05. Don’t Fool Yourself
06. Consequence Of Having A Heart
07. This One’s For You
08. Battles Ain’t A War
09. Save Me From Myself
10. How We Live
11. Done With Me

LINE-UP:
Nick Workman – Vocals
Tom Martin – Bass And Guitar
Marcus Thurston – Guitar
James Martin – Keyboards
Mikey Kew – Guitar
Martin Hutchison – Drums

LINKS:
www.vegaofficial.co.uk/
www.facebook.com/OFFICIALVEGA
www.twitter.com/VegaOfficial
www.youtube.com/user/FrontiersRecords/search?query=vega
www.instagram.com/vegaofficialband/
www.open.spotify.com/artist/4fn3t2tBoP4nIOoqXAENIT

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Vega – Only Human

Only Human Cover

Vega – Only Human
Frontiers Music srl
Release Date: 11/05/2018
Running Time: 52:57
Review By Beth Jones
9/10

My first experience of Vega was at Amplified 2017 and I was an instant fan. I love their kind of melodic, American rock – it brings out my girly side. Having been a life – long Bon Jovi fan, they sit very nicely in my tastes, and I was very pleased when I found out that they were releasing a new album this year.

Only Human is Vega’s fifth album. The band have produced it themselves, and have teamed up with legendary Canadian musician and producer, Harry Hess of Harem Scarem, to mix and master the final product, and what a pretty damn fine final product it is! Since it’s release date on 11th May 2018, I have had it on in my car as my ‘cheer me up on the drive to work’ music and it really does the trick!

Whilst Vega do sound very much like Bon Jovi, Nick Workman sounding very similar to JBJ in particular on this album, they do definitely have their own sound. That being said, they do fit very neatly into that style, it is very 80s, very American and very easy to get on with. With the quality of the songs on this album, this could quite easily be an album from a multinational chart topping band of that genre. It is 12 tracks of thumping American style melodic rock, with a good mix of upbeat anthems and ballads, all of which have catchy hooks, great melodies, and a finesse in the production quality that shows not only the skill, but the passion and craftsmanship of those involved.

It is really hard to pick out a favourite track from the album as they are all so good, however I think I do have two favourites; the title track, ‘Only Human’, and ‘Last Man Standing’. These were the two tracks that instantly caught my attention on first listen, and are definitely the tracks that I now sing along with.

Only Human, appearing about half way through the album, has the feel of a classic stadium anthem, starting off quietly, just vocals, keys and drums. I can imagine the staging for it – packed stadium, low lighting, the whole crowd cheering, spotlight on Nick for the verse, smoke machine, then BAM! Lights up! More Smoke! Drums! Guitars! Keys! Crowd going wild! Bouncing! WE ARE ONLY HUMAAAAAN…… Then I stop getting lost in the song and focus on the road because I am driving! But that is what that song does to you, and that for me is the mark of a good song and the whole point of music – the fact that it takes you somewhere else and makes you feel good. It has a more modern feel, whilst still hanging on to its classic roots. It is one of those songs that will stay ageless.

Last Man Standing, positioned in slot 3 on the album, is a different kettle of fish! More upbeat, but very 80’s American Rock. Good solid chunky rhythms underpin the whole song, with bass and rhythm guitar providing good riffs that echo each other in the chorus, along with a very catchy melody line, with classic harmonies in 3rds on the title line, which give the track a very nice lift. This is a track that you can really move to, and even if you are too cool to have a bop, I can guarantee you that you will not be able to resist some sort of movement to this song, whether that be a slight toe tap, or a very aloof nod of the head in time. IT WILL MAKE YOU DO IT – IT IS INFECTIOUSLY GOOD!! This track is my ear worm at the moment. I can be stood in the kitchen at work making a brew, and then all of a sudden, there it is!!! So goddamn catchy!!

The vibe of the whole album is pretty much encapsulated by these two songs. This is 12 tracks of really solid, really catchy ear worms that wouldn’t be out of place at any ‘mainstream’ event, but fit perfectly into the world of rock too, and it is for this reason that I am pretty sure the Vega boys are some kind of sorcerers, and their songs are their spells!! They certainly have me hooked!

If I had one criticism, and believe me it is incredibly hard to find one on this album, this is just because I am properly fussy, it would be that the vocals on track 11 (Fade Away) seem to be slightly out of sync with the rest of the track – just by a tiny bit – in the chorus, so it feels like the vocals are rushing. Whether this was an issue in mixing, or it is meant to be like that, I’m not sure, but it just doesn’t hit the level of brilliance the other tracks do. For this reason, it is my least favourite track on the album and, depending what mood I am in, I do sometimes skip it as my brain can’t cope with it being not quite in sync!

Other than that, this is an absolutely stonking album. OK, it’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but it most certainly is mine, and judging by some of the other reviews it has picked up so far, I am not the only one who thinks so. If you are a connoisseur of high class Melodic Rock, you need this album in your collection now…right now!

TRACK LIST

  • 1. Let’s Have Fun Tonight
  • 2. Worth Dying For
  • 3. Last Man Standing
  • 4. Come Back Again
  • 5. All Over Now
  • 6. Mess You Made
  • 7. Only Human
  • 8. Standing Still
  • 9. Gravity
  • 10. Turning Pages
  • 11. Fade Away
  • 12. Go To War

 

SOCIAL MEDIA

 

Vega Pic by Beth Jones, Amplified Festival 2017

 

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to do adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

All photographs are the property of Beth Jones and PhotograBee – http://www.facebook.com/PhotograBeeImages