Vandenberg — Sin (Mascot Label Group)

Is it really three years since the soaring 2020 returned Vandenberg to the top of the rock and roll tree?

The ‘follow-up’ to 1985’s classic Alibi wrapped up Ronnie Romero’s trademark pipes in layers of red hot, retro-styled riffs.

And after a 35-year hiatus, Dutch master Adrian Vandenberg proved there was plenty of life left yet in the band that rubber stamped his riotous reputation.

Romero has moved on — there are only so many jobs one singer can hold down — but the equally prolific Mats Levén is the perfect replacement.

His heavy rock heritage (Malmsteen, Therion, Candlemass etc.) is the ideal foil for one of hair metal’s most famous fret burners.

And Sin often sounds like the companion piece to Whitesnake’s iconic Slip Of The Tongue — arguably Vandenberg’s defining work as a songwriter.

Fans of classic Coverdale will gravitate towards this record like bees to a Headbanger’s Ball honeypot.

But you don’t have to be stuck in an early 90s rut for Sin to be this summer’s guilty pleasure.

Vandenberg’s canny enough to juxtapose his glorious past with myriad moments of modern rock mastery.

In fact, the ageless six stringer raises the bar for next generation of blues-infused heavy rock hopefuls.

When Vandenberg told Rushonrock that the decision to reform this band was largely based on a desire to ‘play without restrictions’ our interest was well and truly piqued.

And if 2020 delivered in spades then Sin is the sound of a true rock and roll trailblazer digging in.

Will Sin set tongues wagging?

It would be plain rude to suggest Sin is a carbon copy of the peak Coverdale 1987 and Slip Of The Tongue albums.

But let’s be brutally honest.

This unapologetic throwback is what Whitesnake would have sounded like if grunge didn’t get in the way.

Opener Thunder And Lighting whips up a storm akin to 1987’s breezier moments.

And the sumptuous title track recalls Vandenberg’s work on 1997’s criminally underrated Restless Heart.

Levén’s throaty vocal on the intro to Walking On Water is awash with brooding Coverdale-esque cool.

And there’s more than a hint of Is This Love to Baby You’ve Changed as Vandenberg relies on a familiarly understated riff to drive a punchy power ballad par excellence.

Looking for something a little different?

The Van Halen-meets-Gene Simmons vibe underpinning lead single House On Fire best represents Vandenberg truly playing without restrictions.

And perhaps the flying Dutchman could have been a little more ambitious when curating Sin’s nine-track setlist.

It’s a minor quibble.

Vandenberg plays to his strengths on a near-perfect reimagining of hard rock’s golden era. 

And the spectacular Sin’s yet another reminder of the pivotal role he played in transforming Whitesnake from bullish blues brothers to all-conquering hair metal heroes.