SBS – The Gambler

SBS - The Gambler
  • 8.5/10
    SBS - The Gambler - 8.5/10


Monaco Production
Release date: January 17, 2009

User Review
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Metal from Lithuania is not something that you hear or see everyday, although there is an active live Metal scene over there in eastern Europe which isn’t bending before the much larger scenes of central and west Europe. SBS or “Spicy Bits Of Scandal” are one of the prime Lithuanian Metal acts and here they present their first deployment in English, which is kind of a breakthrough since their earlier releases were in their native language.

Their style has changed since their formation form Hard Rock to some odd kind of Neo-Classical Heavy Metal / Power Metal mix. The outcome is a genius piece of musical workmanship with lots of energy and frequent blinks to 70s acts such as Deep Purple, Rainbow and a nod to more later acts such as Dio, Royal Hunt, and the Italian Rhapsody Of Fire.

SBS’ story was led, from the start, in 1979 by its keyboardist / vocalist, Vilius Kraujalis, who assembled, with the help of the band’s first guitarist, the first version of SBS as a Rock N’ Roll act. In 1985, the whole lineup was complete and the band began work on live shows. In 1991, Kraujalis left the band for unknown reasons and SBS recruited a replacement along with a new guitarist and the current explosive Hard Rock mastersinger Vitalis “Don Vito” Kairiūkštis.

1996 was a turning point for SBS; they released their first album under the Pukas label and saw the comeback of their ancient leader, Kraujalis. After the debut album, in 2000, SBS went on a five-year break. Their comeback came with a bit pf a different lineup. A year later, their second album, Gimes Laimeti was unleashed. In 2007, the band recreated their first release with additions under the name of Tik Mënulio Sviesa.

When dwelling upon it, the name “The Gambler” is very accurate for this release. Aside from the fact that there is a story involved in all of this, SBS are gambling their chances on getting worldwide recognition as a universal Heavy Metal band. The language element surely played out for them with this album. Although, there are many Metal bands out there, like in the Spanish or South American scene, who already have worldwide recognition for their efforts without writing in English, SBS took the right step on doing so. While you read the enchanting booklet, you will see that the story presented is not consistent, so this album is not a concept album by any means, yet SBS enables you to go far to vast areas with their stories.

The true genius in this work of art is in its musical shape. SBS is not just a Heavy Metal band, they are complex, articulate, operatic in a way and diverse. Each track in this release consists many elements of Progressive Rock and Neo-Classical music like the orchestra and operatic vocals here and there. Most of the effects are the works of the band’s leader, Kraujalis, who masterfully shows the importance of the keyboards.

The guitars are thin yet sharp as a blade. The riffs produced are basic and known Heavy Metal but when harmonized with the keyboards it’s just like hearing Deep Purple but much heavier. The solos added, along the way, mark top-notch abilities by the guitarist, Giedrius “Mr. Jumbo” Balciunas, who provides some Neo-Classical and semi-shred presentations.

One thing lacking is the bass, probably most of its work is to follow the guitar because of its thin sound. Regarding the vocals, Don Vito has not lost his touch as a great vocalist, in English, he sounds a bit different and he has some accent issues in small sections in the album where you cannot really understand him too much. However, his high pitched and even boyish voice, keeps him in top form. The drumming in the album is also excellent with a speeding demon drum machine such as Sarunas Venckus, who enters the young spirit of the new age of double bass fast pace drumming to this long existing band.

Candidates for favorite songs are “Flying Dutchman”, the best there is out there – a real Power Metal gem. “Your Life” and “Black Angels”, which is the best opening track in recent years, “Joan Of Arc” and “I’m Begging You”, an amazing ballad, and “The Wind Of Your Soul”.  In addition to these tracks, you will get a bonus CD with live numbers of the band from recent years in DVD form.

SBS are up and running and they are looking to show themselves more in various areas around Europe. The Gambler is an important milestone in the band’s path to be a universal and successful Heavy Metal act.


  • Lior Stein

    Lior was a reviewer, DJ and host for our Thrash Metal segment called Terror Zone, based out of Haifa, Israel. He attributes his love of Metal to his father, who got him into bands like Deep Purple, Rainbow, Boston, and Queen. When he was in junior high he got his first Iron Maiden CD, The Number Of The Beast. That's how he started his own collection of albums. Also, he's the guitarist, vocalist and founder of the Thrash Metal band Switchblade. Most of his musical influences come from Metal Church, Vicious Rumors, Overkill, and Annihilator.

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