Vardis: Red Eye

NWOBHM heroes’ fifth album, after a 30-year hiatus.

Vardis Red Eye album cover

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Vardis frontman Steve Zodiac understands that if you play a guitar really loud, it can’t help but do the job. All the rest – tunes and vocals – is mere window dressing. Witness the title track, Lightning Man or Head Of The Nail.

Red Eye is not all as behemothic as those, and sometimes its steals are blatant (Jimmy Page will recognise Hold Me’s bottleneck), but when Zodiac gets it right, it’s more than a NWOBHM revival, and in places sounds pleasingly like Leslie West playing punk rock.

All this, and an eight-minute 200 M.P.H. – ostensibly a 21st-century remake of Vardis’s 1980 Hendrix-styled freakout 100 M.P.H. It’s enough to make a grown man don a wig and stand bare-chested in front of a wind machine.

Neil Jeffries

Freelance contributor to Classic Rock and several of its offshoots since 2006. In the 1980s he began a 15-year spell working for Kerrang! intially as a cub reviewer and later as Geoff Barton’s deputy and then pouring precious metal into test tubes as editor of its Special Projects division. Has spent quality time with Robert Plant, Keith Richards, Ritchie Blackmore, Rory Gallagher and Gary Moore – and also spent time in a maximum security prison alongside Love/Hate. Loves Rush, Aerosmith and beer. Will work for food.