Armed And Ready – Kerrang! 1981 GEOFF BARTON

VIXEN: fronted by a girl singer with the decidedly unrockstarish name of Viv Withers, the Vixen quarter are based in Birmingham and have been together with the same line up for some 10 months.

Full membership roster runs as follows: Viv Withers on vocals / orgasms (it sez here), Mark Healey on guitar, Andy Parry on bass and Gaz Hopkins on the drums. Average age is 20 and they’re all semi-pros, either holding down dayjobs or spending their time as students.

Vixen’s demo tape, laid down for a bargain price (only £5 per hour) at Steve Adams’ Tamworth studio, is very Zep / Rush influenced and of extensive dynamic range, the group specialising in a kind of bruising, kick and caress balladry. ‘The Last Battle’ impresses with its epic armageddon imagery, ‘Fly Away’ brings to mind the inappropriate word ‘machostrut’ and the high spot is ‘Summer’, a delicate and supremely atmospheric slowie.

Viv Withers hardly denies the LZ slant of Vixen’s music. Outraged by Diamond Head’s recent claims to be a modern-day equivalent to Page, Plant & co. she recently wrote: “Never have I heard so much drivel in my life. If you really want to hear Zeppelin’s successors, I mean a band that will supercede and not parody, listen to a group called Vixen. They have all the qualities of a rock band without falling back on crude emulation of past heroes. Live they are exciting, with a female vocalist who in full flight blasts the audience backwards down any hall….”

Strong stuff! Are these just empty boasts to catch the eye, or are the band really full of potential? You know, I think I’ll plump for the latter..

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