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Vampires Everywhere!: Hellbound and Heartless

Well, Vampires Everywhere! (how could we leave off the exclamation point?) are back. They've had some lineup changes and they are no longer relying on autotune to give their sound that extra pop twist. With their latest release, they are promising a darker, edgier batch of songs that will appeal to fans of Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie. I suppose that some fans will be pleased with this new approach, but the overall effect just doesn't work. I mean, sure, there are some interesting moments here--I liked some of the guitar solos, for example--but the overall effect is just not that engaging. Given the album's gothic-tinged elements, I'll compare it to a cheap Halloween haunted house, one that has plenty of special effects, bizarre make up, and strange sounds, but one that doesn't truly understand how to frighten, let alone entertain, audiences. These guys are pure stage effect, a remnant of worst of L. A.'s glam scene. Why dredge all that up again?

The album seems to have four parts, as indicated by the various short tracks (usually within the 30 second range) that seem to suggest some kind of descent into a Dante-like Hell. The only problem is that these tracks don't really have anything interesting to deliver as we wander lower and lower into the abyss. Indeed, each introductory track is mostly made up of industrial-like noise that does almost nothing to establish theme or purpose. The only exception to this rule is the opening track "Hellbound" which stirs in with the techno sounds comments about a Satanic wedding ceremony, a preacher saying "God bless America," and sexual moaning. I didn't understand what to do with this mélange of sound and I doubt that other listeners will be any more successful. Dante had a guide through Hell, but we get nothing. I'd really love to have a guide. The lyrics to most of the songs feel drawn from stock-sounding phrases cribbed from gothic novels or horror movies. The band doesn't develop any of their lyrics to help us understand why any of these topics should be interesting to us. Take, for example, "Kiss of Death," wherein the band compares a girl to a serial killer--an interesting idea, perhaps, but one that is never developed in any useful or thematic ways. If these guys have a knack for anything, it's in begging for attention; unfortunately, they don't have any substantive suggestions concerning how to pass the time together. Listen, especially, to "Star of 666" for an example of lyrics that don't really seem to have any purpose or point.

Oh, they also cover Nirvana's "Rape Me." I think they did so as yet another way to attempt to be edgy. I'm not a big fan of Nirvana, but I can honestly guess that the original will be heralded as a great classic compared to this version. At least Kurt Cobain was capable of subtlety. These guys are just up in our faces, yelling at us, shouting for attention.

Track Listing:
1. I: Hellbound
2. I Can't Breathe
3. Beauty Queen
4. II: The Inferno
5. Star of 666
6. Drug of Choice
7. Kiss of Death
8. Rape Me (Nirvana Cover)
9. Plastic
10. III: The 7th Gate
11. Unholy Eyes
12. IV: Born Individual
13. Social Suicide
14. Anti Hate
15. Hell on Earth
16. Amanda's Song

Added: July 10th 2012
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2401
Language: english

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