VÄNLADE - Wayward Sons: Masters Of Time (Vol. 1)

Vänlade - Wayward Sons: Masters Of Time (Vol. 1)

6 songs
24:18 minutes
***** ***


Midwest true heavy speed metal band Vänlade released so far two albums before they decided to pay tribute to Kansas, the band named after the state Vänlade are coming from. Together with five further hard rock cover versions (with the source material recorded between 1975 and 1982), all of them turned into shredding metal anthems, we get Wayward Sons: Masters Of Time (Vol. 1), a truly entertaining labour of love that lets you hope that Vol. 2 will see the light of day one day in the future.

Everything about Vänlade is metal, starting with the heavy metal umlaut in their band name. The cover artworks of their previous albums were always riddled with all kinds of clichés, and while one might guess that there is a certain amount of humour present in their whole attitude, they still perform with the due diligence you expect from a professional band.

The EP starts with Barracuda, the all-time classic hit from Canadian rock band Heart that was led by the Wilson sisters. It’s interesting to see how Vänlade vocalist Brett Blackout Scott’s high voice works really well for transforming a female fronted song into their true metal territory. Fire In The Sky from Saxon works well too, showing that fast paced metal is where Vänlade are in their comfort zone. Never Say Die might be a strange choice, considering that it comes from a less regarded Black Sabbath album, but the addition of Spellcaster vocalist Tyler Loney makes a fun duet out of this song. Things get really great with Rush’s Bastille Day. Just like with Heart before, Scott’s take on Geddy Lee’s idiosyncratic vocals is absolutely wonderful. The drum solo at the end of the song may be somewhat self-indulgent, but we should let the guys have their good time after all. Judas Priest’s Riding On The Wind is another up-tempo NWOBHM rocker that sounds as if it had been written just to be covered by these guys. Finally we get the title track Carry On Wayward Son, undisputedly the best song ever by Kansas, and it’s no surprise that Vänlade give it full justice.

Cover albums are always a double-edged sword, but Vänlade did really a great job of it. Of course you can’t make it right for everyone, like I am no huge Saxon fan, and could have thought of better Judas Priest songs to cover, but I have to admit that the reworks on the EP are really great. I especially like the two progressive rock tracks turned into metal anthems, and am already looking forward to more inspired covering by Vänlade. Of course their own material is also quite appealing, but I guess that they can reach more people with their Wayward Sons cover EP.

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