Classics: VENGEANCE ‘Take It or Leave It’

One of Holland’s flagship rockers in the 80s was certainly Vengeance from Waalwijk and it is not surprising that the band from the carnival capital in Noord Brabant also delivered feel-good music. However, Vengeance were already back then more than just a party music outfit. Their songs were varied and for a hard rock band quite sophisticated.

Vengeance debuted in 1984 with the self-titled first album and had with CBS support of a bigger label. The biggest success was the 1989 album ‘Arabia’, which relied heavily on the progressive song structures of guitarist Arjen Lucassen before he left the band to take off with Ayreon.

There were two more records between 1984 and 1989 of which ‘Take it or Leave it’ is certainly the most mature one. Already the A-side contains with the title track and ‘Rock’n’Roll Shower’ two excellent feel-good songs.

Vengeance set already at that time more marks than ready-made hard rock of the shelve. The International School Choir of Amsterdam supported the band on ‘Code of Honour’ while it is Sylvia Houtzager’s violin that can be listened to on ‘Take Me to the Limit’. The quintet went off the beaten path from time to time and featured a saxophone in the jazz bar-like middle-part of ‘Hear Me Out’, instruments that weren’t really considered to be hard rock suitable at the time.

Lucassen was able to show his guitar skills on the instrumental ‘Engines’ before four more hard rock anthems followed on the B-side. Here ‘Women of the World’ should be mentioned, a song that starts relatively smooth before it turns into a typical Vengeance rammer.

‘Arabia’ is certainly the flagship album from Vengeance, but ‘Take it or Leave it’ has its charm too. Very well crafted hard rock meets a positive spirit. Party and good mood can certainly be confirmed, however, the five-piece band from the Netherlands has more to offer than just John Doe rock. Vengeance knew how to impress even if the success story of the ’80s could not be carried over into the 90s.

Tracklist:

Side A:

  1. Take it or Leave it
  2. Code of Honour
  3. Rock’n’Roll Shower
  4. Take Me to the Limit
  5. Engines (Instrumental)

Side B:

  1. Hear Me Out
  2. Women of the World
  3. Looks Like a Winner
  4. Ain’t Gonna Take It

Label: CBS

Genre: Hard Rock

Release Date: September 4th, 1987

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