Vandenberg (Wounded Bird) 1982
1. Your Love is in Vain (4:16)
2. Back on my Feet (3:56)
3. Wait (5:12)
4. Burning Heart (4:11)
5. Ready for You (3:57)
6. Too Late (4:12)
7. Nothing to Lose (3:24)
8. Lost in a City (3:58)
9. Out in the Streets (4:07)
Vandenberg is a band named after their lead guitarist Adrian Vandenberg. Adrian was formerly the lead guitarist for the Dutch band Teaser, a band that released a self-titled album in 1978. (Different from the U.S. band of the same name.) The band also features the smooth, soulful voice of Bert Heerink. Together with Dick Kemper (bass, backing vocals) and Jos Zoomer (drums, backing vocals), they formed Vandenberg.
For a while in the mid-to-late 1970's and into the early 1980's guitar-based hard rock was hugely popular. Stuff like Pat Travers, Micheal Schenker, Gary Moore, Frank Marino, Joe Perry Project, etc. were all selling quite well and on the charts. Vandenberg fit in perfectly with that crowd, though they had a slightly more contemporary sound than their 70's guitar hero brethren. Instead, Vandenberg bridged a gap between those 70's rockers and the new 1980's heavy metal lot.
The music just flows from beginning to end with heavy melodies, rich textures, big, memorable choruses and, of course, fiery axe work. There are some nice UFO & Scorpions influences, especially in the Schenker-inspired soloing from Adrian Vandenberg. Perhaps the two most important songs are "Burning Heart" and "Wait". "Burning Heart" is an immediately infectious power ballad with a huge chorus. The song became a big hit for the band in the U.S. and scored them a tour opening for Ozzy Osbourne.
Vandenberg - Heading for a Storm (Atco) 1983
1. Friday Night (3:37)
2. Welcome to the Club (3:30)
3. Time Will Tell (3:48)
4. Different Worlds (4:36)
5. This Is War (4:01)
6. I'm on Fire (4:18)
7. Heading for a Storm (4:03)
8. Rock On (4:05)
9. Waiting for the Night (4:27)
"Heading for the Storm" is the follow-up Vandenberg's successful debut album. As might be expected, with only a year between releases, the sound isn't all that different from the debut. Perhaps it's a little more polisished, giving the album a slightly more pop vibe. For the most part, however, "Heading for the Storm" is a guitar-driven, melodic, hard rock album. With a guitar hero like Adrian Vandenberg being the groups main-songwriter, it's no surprise that the album is chock full of guitar runs and fills, as well as the heavy power chords. Though some will consider it blasphemy, at times some of Adrian's solos remind me of Michael Schenker from his UFO and early MSG days. Adrian is a flashy and talented guitarist but never to excess.
The songs are mostly catchy, always melodic and rarely very heavy, even for early 80's standards. The album opens up with a song titled "Friday Night" that is ohhhh so cheesy, but is also quite fun and should have been used in some 80's teen movie. "Welcome to the Club" has a bit of a groove and reminds me of something guitar hero Pat Travers might have recorded. The song has a memorable melodic chorus emphasized by the keyboards breaking through the mix. "I'm on Fire" and the title track are two of the hardest rocking numbers on the album, both featuring plenty of Adrian's guitar chops. "Different Worlds" is a radio ballad with a huge hooky chorus and some nice acoustic guitar work from Adrian. Bert Heerink has a smooth, soulful voice that is simply perfect for this band.
Overall, "Heading for the Storm" was a strong sophomore release from Vandenberg. The image on the front cover of the album was painted by Adrian Vandenberg.
Vandenberg - Best of Vandenberg (Atco) 1988
1. Your Love is in Vain (4:16)
2. Nothing to Lose (3:25)
3. Rock On (4:03)
4. Burning Heart (4:13)
5. Wait (5:12)
6. Welcome to the Club (3:30)
7. Prelude Mortale [instrumental] (:35)
8. Alibi (4:21)
9. Different Worlds (4:33)
10. Pedal to the Metal (4:30)
11. Fighting Against the World (4:14)
By 1988 Vandenberg the band had long since dissolved and Adrian Vandenberg had gone on to success as the guitarist for Whitesnake. As such, the band's record company decided to cash in on that success and released this 'best of compilation', culling songs from the three Vandenberg records. Unfortunately at the time, Vandenberg CDs were only available as expensive Japanese imports. So, this CD compilation, despite having anything new on it, was nice to own simply because Vandenberg on CD was nearly impossible to obtain. As well, despite being a collection of songs from three albums, the compilation actually flows well from beginning to end, as if it were an album in an of itself. Over time, however, this collection has become somewhat obsolete. The 2-CD "Definitive Collection" is a much more complete career retrospective, though"Best of" does include several songs not of that collection. The most important of which is the short, guitar instrumental "Prelude Mortale" and "Nothing to Lose".
Vandenberg - The Definitive Vandenberg (Warner Strategic Marketing) 2004
1. Burning Heart 2004 [Symphonic Version] (3:34)
2. Your Love Is In Vain (4:14)
3. Wait (5:10)
4. Too Late (4:12)
5. Different Worlds (4:31)
6. This Is War (4:00)
7. Heading For A Storm (4:02)
8. Waiting For The Night (4:25)
9. All The Way (3:47)
10. Voodoo (3:19)
11. Dressed To Kill (3:35)
12. How Long (4:09)
13. Alibi (4:19)
14. Once In A Lifetime (3:38)
15. Pedal To The Metal (4:28)
16. Fighting Against The World (4:16)
17. Kamikaze [instrumental] (5:03)
18. Burning Heart (4:10)
19. Back On My Feet [demo] (3:45)
20. Ready For You [demo] (3:59)
21. Nothing To Lose [demo] (3:26)
22. I'm On Fire [demo] (4:12)
23. Out In The Street [demo] (4:07)
24. Out Of Cash [demo] (3:21)
25. Help Me Through The Night [demo] (6:56)
26. Friday Night [live] (3:45)
27. Welcome To The Club [live] (3:47)
28. Roll Through The Night [live] (3:37
29. Burning Heart [Acoustic Version] (3:30)
"The Definitive Vandenberg" is a two-disc career retrospective of Dutch hard rock band Vandenberg. The band released three albums between 1982 and 1985 and pretty much didn't veer from the sound they became known for on their debut. Listening to this collection, I would swear that Adrian Vandenberg studied at the Michael Schenker school of guitar. Some of his riffs and licks have that quality to them. However, if someone were to ask me to describe Vandenberg I would describe them as a cross between M.S.G. and Dokken with just a bit of UFO thrown in. For the most part, the songs have those big 80's hooks, whether the band be playing hard rock songs like "Your Love is In Vain", "Heading for a Storm", "Too Late" and "Waiting for the Night" or melodic ballads like "Burning Heart" and "All the Way".
Disc one is made up of a new "symphonic" version of "Burning Heart", four songs off the Vandenberg debut, four songs off the band's sophomore release "Heading for a Storm" and nine out of the ten tracks off the band's 1985 release "Alibi". Only "Prelude Mortale" is missing from that album. "Alibi" was a strong, classy swan song for Vandenberg, strongest track being "All the Way" which is just a barnstormer with a big hook. However, the whole album is solid, save for the two sappy ballads, neither of which are as good as the ballads off the first two albums. "Kamakaze" is a wonderful track as well. The song is a rather lengthy instrumental but isn't just an excuse for Vandenberg to exercise his chops.
The biggest blunder on disc one is the absence of "Back on My Feet" from the debut (though it was included in demo form on the second disc). I would have preferred it to either of the ballads from "Alibi". For the most part the songs are in chronological order, with only the album version on "Burning Heart" being out of order, placed at the end of the CD. Of course "Burning Heart" was the band's big hit single. Disc two is made up of rare demo material and live performances, as well as yet another version of "Burning Heart". All-in-all there are three versions of "Burning Heart" on this collection, the best of which is the original album version (track 15 of disc 1). "Friday Night" and "Welcome to the Club" were recorded live in Japan, while "Roll Through the Night" was recorded in the U.S.
"The Definitive Vandenberg" also has a 16-page insert with tons of photos and a short bio written by TJ Lammers. Overall, a nice summery of one of the more underrated bands to come out of the 80's.