The Best of Vandenberg

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This collection sums up the oft-overlooked career of one of metal's great guitarists and his name-sharing group, Vandenberg. While technically a band, Vandenberg was essentially a vehicle for the guitarist's virtuoso brand of Van Halen-like hard rock and melodic, mid-paced numbers with a decidedly UFO flavor. Vandenberg's lack of critical or commercial attention had more to do with ill timing -- all three of their albums came out before metal's chart attack of the late '80s -- than lack of talent or charisma, despite vocalist Bert Heerink's unfortunate vocal resemblance to anonymous metal journeyman Joe Lynn Turner. While songs like "Your Love Is in Vain," "Rock On," and "Alibi" don't break new ground lyrically or in the titular cliché department, Vandenberg always added memorable solos to each song. The surprising abundance of acoustic guitars evident added texture and range that many later hair metal bands completely missed. Perhaps Vandenberg's later stint in Whitesnake at the height of that movement (big, big hair and all) therefore hurt his credibility. Nonetheless, he can arguably be called Michael Schenker's technical and compositional equal, even if he didn't quite have the originality or ingenuity of Yngwie J. Malmsteen or Eddie Van Halen. Best of Vandenberg includes all of the greatest moments from his band, and should therefore be considered definitive.

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