|Vampires Everywhere! - 'Hellbound and Heartless' (Century Media/Hollywood Waste)|
|Written by Gaz E|
|Thursday, 05 July 2012 04:00|
Type Vampires Everywhere! into a search engine and it won't take you long to find a comment or two (thousand) driving stakes into the heart of the Los Angeles horror metal(core) outfit.
It was the scandal that followed the band around like Troll Van Helsing that initially brought them to my attention: an internet posting of a demo claiming to house the real (awful) vocals of the band's frontman Michael Orlando (aka Michael Vampire) quickly swelled into an online hate campaign against the singer and his supposed use of autotune. While the singer stood firm on claims that the leaked recording was simply a 'Demo Pre Pro' containing just ideas the haters kept on hating, throwing holy water on his words. Subsequently, the band's debut full length album, last year's 'Kiss The Sun Goodbye' (which followed an EP called 'Lost In The Shadows' a year earlier), suffered from a reception not so much lukewarm as crypt cold.
The warning signs firmly in place, not even touching on the metalcore tag pinned onto their capes, I couldn't help but investigate further for one reason and one reason only: Vampires Everywhere! took their bandname from the comic-book the infamous Frog brothers peddle as they attempt to destroy bloodsuckers from behind the facade of their Santa Carla comic-book store in classic '80s movie, The Lost Boys. This horror nerd was sold.
'I', the first of four sample-heavy intro/interludes littered throughout 'Hellbound and Heartless', ushers in 'I Can't Breathe' and that metalcore label seems a good fit: there is, however, enough of a cool horror rock undercurrent rippling in its veins for it to impress before 'Beauty Queen' creeps into your bedroom and sinks its teeth deep into your neck: carried on an electro groove that echoes long-lost San Antonio outfit The Union Underground mixed with '80s synth coolness, the song suddenly pulls open the heavy velvet drapes and burns the metalcore element alive. 'Drug Of Choice' proves that its predecessor was not a fluke - this is the true sound of Vampires Everywhere!: electro-vibed, dark and heavy.
Oh yeah, that true sound. 'Star Of 666' succeeds in putting off the inevitable for at least another song, its White/Rob Zombie moments cooler than thou, but as 'Kiss Of Death' stabs out of the speakers I can hold off no longer: 'Hellbound and Heartless' is, quite possibly, the best album that Marilyn Manson never made. If you, like many, were disappointed with this year's 'Born Villain' long player then this band/album may well satiate your every desire.
A suitably bleak cover of Nirvana's 'Rape Me' wards off the evil Brian Warner spirits of influence for a few minutes, before 'Plastic', after teasing with a QOTSA-style opening riff, paints another portrait of an American family. It has to be said though, this isn't a MM rip-off - this is a modern version of a sound that has long since left its creator. Yes, it will appeal to fans of the estranged Antichrist Superstar, they will be able to spot soundalikes for fun - next song 'Unholy Eyes', for example - but this is a revamped reimagining. While the proverbial 'kids' will froth at the mouths at the sound of this album, older listeners may well baulk at its obvious comparisons.....just like we recoil in horror at the modern remakes of our favourite horror movies. In that sense, this is the aural equivalent of James Gunn's Dawn of the Dead; it'll never match the original but, assessed with emotional attachment numbed, is actually pretty fucking cool.
'Social Suicide' is followed by 'Anti Hate' and its awesome "the name of the mental disease is necrophilia" intro, before 'Hell On Earth' fuses an skewed electro-dance opening to some heavy-duty Slipknot-esque guitar work. Last song of the sixteen - twelve songs proper, four intermissions - 'My Blood Is Yours (Amanda's Song)' closes the album with the heaviest sounds since the long player's opener, big riffs and wailing guitar solos aplenty.
The crossover appeal of this band is (hell)boundless: young fans will love them - they look as awesome as a bunch of vampiric ne'er-do-wells could ever hope to - and older fans who get their monster fix by way of White Zombie and Murderdolls will go for this too, given the chance. And Marilyn Manson fans? Well, if they can get past a sound that will overpower them into bemusement at first then they will find themselves able to drain the blood of an album that is way better than the latest release from their fading (faded?) idol.
'Hellbound and Heartless' is the surprise album of the year.
To visit the Vampires Everywhere! store on Amazon - CLICK HERE