Forgotten Gems: Vavel-Vavel
This Greek band was formed in 1986 and ended up releasing this self-titled LP (on the record label Famous) later that same year. That LP would end up being a very hot ticket item. It ended up being on the rare side of things and before it was eventually re-released on CD by Unisound it was heavily bootlegged on CD. As for the vinyl copies? Well, if you could actually find one for sale it could end up going for as much as $200! Rather amazing for a band that people seem to have extreme reactions to-they either love the band or hate them. It should be noted that the CD re-release (which I have-mine being number 212 of 3,000) can be had for under $10.00 (the copy I got on Ebay sold for $3.00!) so if your adventurous (and/or curious) there is not much of a financial obligation involved. This one release would prove to be the only album the band released until 2002's "The Second Death". Supposedly the band's collapse was due in part to bad management and the lack of interest from record companies. Whatever the case this is an interesting album through and through (if not consistently at least in the sense that it keeps your interest) and a cult eighties heavy metal release. "Epic Power Metal" is the term most people opt for when describing this Greek band. That term doesn't quite cut it for me though. This is far more traditional heavy metal meets early progressive metal then epic power metal. To be fair there are moments when things get heavy enough to qualify as power metal, but more then anything this is heavy traditional metal. Everything from the guitar work to the bass and drums (and even the keyboard/synthesizer arrangements ) is right in line with everything early eighties heavy metal had to offer and I'd be ever so tempted to call this is a must-have if not for one slight problem and that is vocalist Pavlos Gavrilidis. To say he's uneven is putting it mild. More often than not he falls flat on his face making the music seem so out of place. There are very few moments when he gets everything just right and I suspect that has a lot to do with the various feelings associated with Vavel. If the band had been blessed with an average lead singer then this good album could have been something quite magical. As is his voice drags the release down a notch or two. It isn't enough to say skip the whole affair, but it must be noted that he is below-average at best. Still I find this one album to be quite enjoyable if for no other reason than the fact that it is a bit of an unknown release and that it represents everything I love about early to mid-eighties heavy metal. Is it worth $200.00 for an LP? Not for me. How about under $10.00 for a CD? Yeah, I could go for that especially when it means Greek heavy metal that is rare and fairly unknown. It isn't a sure thing, but it is certainly interesting and has the unmistakable feel of old-school hard and heavy music.