Adrian Vandenberg is probably the most famous Dutch rock guitarist (not counting American emigrant Eddie Van Halen, obviously) and was once a household name in Guitar World magazine. Like many of his 80’s guitar brethren, he was as famous for his shredding as he was for his well-promoted and sleek-looking signature guitar. Adrian Vandenberg’s line of signature guitars with Peavey Electronics were also among the most memorable and iconic guitars of the 80’s, featuring and offset design with unique violin-inspired contours, and of course the omnipresent locking tremolo which was the style of the time.
But Adrian Vandenberg’s real claim to fame is no doubt for playing in the very phallus-oriented band Whitesnake. His tenure with the band was both prolific and unlucky, as he co-wrote the penile classic ‘Slip of the Tounge’ though without performing on it due to an injury, which then went on to become one of Whitesnake’s best-selling albums.
Aside from Whitesnake, Adrian Vandenberg has been the namesake for his own band, simply called Vandenberg. Though the guitarist is a talented musician and songwriter, his own band never earned the acclaim of the band in which he merely was a sideman to David Coverdale. Due to bad luck in his album appearances with Whitesnake, one could also argue that he’s not the most recognizable guitarist in Whitesnake either, that honor belongs to either John Sykes or the 20 times more famous guitar overlord Steve Vai.
The original Vandenberg band was active between 1981 and 1987 and is pretty much standard 80’s rock, sounding a bit like other shredder-oriented bands such as Alcatrazz or later Rainbow with Graham Bonnett. Not bad, but not exactly Van Halen either.
So resurrecting Vandenberg in 2020 with the new album ‘2020’ might seem to be little more than a concept based on nostalgia. Though featuring a more modern sound, it still sounds very much like the “meat and potatoes” heavy metal sound of yore. I’m not complaining since there certainly is a market for this type of old school Sunset Boulevard car-radio hard rock, but absolutely no one is reinventing any wheel here, and with song titles as simple as ‘Shout’ it all amounts to a very basic and forgettable album.
Date of release: 29/5-20