Why is the third track an interlude?
There are so many times when I hear a record that I just want to ask the band what they were thinking when they made certain decisions. With Vampires Everywhere!’s latest release Ritual, my biggest question was initially why open the record with an intro track and follow it with an interlude two tracks later? It honestly adds nothing to an album already unsure of what it wants to be.
But then again, this is Vampires Everywhere! They’re the kind of band that seems to want techno-goth and Marilyn Manson’s industrial style to take over the music scene again all the while viewing it acceptable to down an entire bottle of Jack on stage because they are opening for bigger names. (I actually watched vocalist Michael Vampire do this a few years back.) And just like my introduction to their live show, their weird stop and go movements into this record were just as strange.
Ritual is all over the place, kind of like the band themselves. In fact, a lot of the album sounds like straight paraphrasing and plagiarism. Example A: “Violent World” sounds just a little too reminiscent of Nine Inch Nails. Just think “Closer” and you’ll hear it. Example B: “Black Betty” not only steals the title of a much more famous track, but also utilizes the phrase “black Betty” as the highlight throughout the track in the same fashion as the original. And finally, Example C: “Take Me To Church,” which was released as the album’s first single, is a Hozier cover, and a subpar cover at that. The only thing that really raises it up is the guest vocals provided by Chelsea Grin’s Alex Koehler. The Top 40 hit itself is also just a blatantly strange song for a band dedicated to a vampire image to cover, especially with lines like “My lover is the sunlight” and “Only then I am human/only then I am clean.” Maybe they are trying to be sarcastic, or maybe they just didn’t realize what the words they were projecting alluded to.
Ritual has moments of clarity, however, when it comes to the latter half of the record. With tracks like “The Ghost Inside My Head” and “The Demon Inside Me,” regardless of the fact that both titles kind of mean the same thing, the record shows promise as the band takes a more generic rock ‘n’ roll vibe. Ditching a lot of the over produced electro-industrial sounds and opting for more attention placed on cleaner vocals, these tracks display solid riffs and well thought-out bridges paired with lyrics that actually tell stories, whether it be of bad vices or past relationships.
If the first part of Ritual followed suit with the latter half, than perhaps this album would have featured a greater and more self-defined track list, and less bizarrely placed interludes. Unfortunately, the more original rock oriented tracks on the record can’t hold an album constantly citing other sources. Perhaps one day Michael Vampire and his crew will hone in on one unique, stable sound and pursue that in hopes to really make a name for themselves. (Natasha Van Duser)