VILLAIN – Only Time Will Tell [digitally remastered] HQ *Exclusive*

VILLAIN - Only Time Will Tell [digitally remastered] *HQ* - full

On April 22, 1995, the metal community tragically lost in a car accident one of the greatest and most underrated vocalists from the genre. His name was Carl Albert. Most knew him as the vocalist for the long-running Vicious Rumors – which he joined around 1987. While most of his career was spent in Vicious Rumors, it actually began years earlier in Ruffians, and later Villain.
The early Eighties saw the birth of countless killer bands around the Bay Area in California, the focus has always been on the thrash bands, but there were many more non-thrash acts like US-metal 5-piece VILLAIN.

Initially a cover group in 1984, they quickly began writing original material and by 1986 had acquired a new vocalist by the name of Carl Albert. That same year the band released this debut “Only Time Will Tell“. Sadly, shortly after the release the band succumbed to band / management / label drama and broke up. “Only Time Will Tell” subsequently disappeared – most remaining copies stolen from the label owner’s home by disgruntled band members – and most outside of the Bay Area never heard it around that time.
In years since it has been bootlegged countless times, finally reissued / remastered with a different cover art.
Musically, Villain fell somewhere between traditional Eighties American Metal and ’80s hard rock. They could be fast and heavy, but also melodic and groovy. The songwriting is great, as well as performances & the crisp production.

The album begins with the killer “Kamikaze,” a borderline speed metal anthem that brings to mind early Savatage and Impellitteri. Carl Albert’s vocals are fuller with a distinctive tone and the guitars courtesy of Greg E. Noll and Leon B. Smith are fast and frenetic; Tommy Sisco (also a former member of Vicious Rumors) supplies the bass lines and for an Eighties metal release you can actually hear it quite well. Rob Quillen offers up some dynamic drumming with classy fills, double-bass and a steady, well-played rhythmic foundation.

The title track follows and it’s hard to not imagine it was the late Criss Oliva (Savatage) playing the opening riff. The song itself isn’t as fast as “Kamikaze,” but it is just as killer, boasting an awesome, anthemic chorus. An uptempo cover of Queen’s “Tie Your Mother Down” is up next and it’s a pretty solid cover of a great tune, a bit faster and heavier than the original with double-bass and a heavier guitar tone.
“She’ll Make You Fall (In Love)” starts off like a ballad with some acoustic and piano work, but after a minute switches to an uptempo hard rock / metal jam with a strong chorus. The last half of the song brings the acoustics and piano back in briefly before the heaviness returns for an encore.

The original vinyl had 2 sides; the “Side Black A” and at the flip, the “Side Black B”.
“Side Black B” starts with “Kids Of Crime”, another kick ass heavy rocker with a solid chorus and a total US metal mid-section. The album’s one and only true ballad follows; “Just Close Your Eyes” is eerily similar to Dokken’s “Alone Again,” the vocal melody and build-up to the chorus is very similar, but the song definitely holds its own with a big chorus which sounds nothing like the Dokken song. It’s easily one of the best tracks on the album (to speculate at this point whether or not the similarity was intentional is pointless, both songs came out at relatively the same time).
“Thrills In The Night,” another groovy, heavy clean / melodic song, drops the curtain (to a standing ovation) on ”Only Time Will Tell”.

There are hidden gems stretching from corner to corner on the metal map and, like with all treasures, the hard part is finding them. Villain were a gem of the early Eighties metal scene, not part of the Bay Area thrash explosion, but clearly deserving of the little attention they did receive thanks to that scene’s popularity.
This album is a testament to the legacy of Carl Albert and his amazing voice, not to mention a great band in a brief moment of time. But more importantly, this is great music that deserves to be heard, worthy of discovery.
Highly Recommended


01 – Kamilkaze
02 – Only Time Will Tell
03 – Tie Your Mother Down
04 – She.ll Make You Fall [In Love]
05 – Kids Of Crime
06 – Just Close Your Eyes
07 – Thrills In The Night

Vocals – Carl Albert
Guitar – Leon B. Smith
Guitar, Piano – Greg E. Noll
Bass – Tommy Sisco
Drums – Rob Quillen


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