We have survived the apocalypse but metal hasn’t. This is 2014, a mere three decades since the first roars of “Kill ’Em All”, and all we seem to hear are old and new bands “going back to the roots” while hiding behind the “old-school” tag as if this was some kind of magic armour that would prevent them from any form of criticism. But what separates the men from the boys in this (rotten) business is conviction. And none are more dedicated to the cause than the four individuals behind the name VAMPIRE.
Of course, you could give those Swedes the cold shoulder for playing hide and seek with their identities and accuse them of just trying their best pretending it’s 1987 all over again, but that would mean you sorely miss the point. Tossing away any form of categorization, the members of VAMPIRE agree that they have never paid much interest to the classic Stockholm death metal scene from the early 90’s (“too much groove and too little atmosphere”), but are the first to underline that their musical roots rather stem from the second wave of black metal that swept Scandinavia in the early to mid 90’s. This is probably where their unusual, graveyard-like, and at times almost gothic atmosphere comes from – and that is gothic in the way you would have it in the Hammer horror movies from the 60’s.
All of this made sense upon the release of the band’s first and only demo in 2012, a year after initially forming. Recorded as a three-piece, those first three songs immediately made a stir in the underground solely on word-of-mouth basis and without actual promotion. The 300 tapes sold out in less than a week, despite the fact that the band had yet to play a single gig or answer any interviews. Being hailed by Fenriz from DARKTHRONE on his Band of the Week blog only added fuel to the fire, and when the same recording was re-issued on a now highly-collectable 7”, not even the accidental manufacturing mistake of a double edition of 500 copies each could meet the immediate demand.
By then, the band had already played their debut show in Copenhagen and a dozen have followed since, including one in London at the LIVE EVIL festival and one with the mighty REPULSION in Oslo, where Hand of Doom was invited by the gore masters to perform BATHORY’s “The Reaper” on stage. In the meantime, the band never stopped writing new songs and by the time it was officially announced that they had signed to CENTURY MEDIA, their first album was already in the can.
Self-titled and containing ten tracks (two of them being re-recorded versions of songs from the demo), their debut full-length was recorded last September and October in an old-fashioned, analogue studio owned by pop musicians who had rarely dealt with metal before. This gave VAMPIRE access not only to a crisp and warm sound, but also to tons of vintage equipment (including an accordion, a vibraphone and a Fender Rhodes). To keep it all spontaneous, the recording process was on purpose a quick affair with the basic tracks being put down to tape in only three days, while additional recordings were completed at their own rehearsal place on a portable studio christened Seven Gates Studios, as a tribute to one of their most obvious influences.
The result is 666% VAMPIRE, with a music style out of this world and out of time that combines a variety of lyrical themes all meddling with the dark and the unknown, drawing inspiration from contemporary horror literature and the filthiest video nasties alike. No gimmick, no trend, no side-project: VAMPIRE is the real deal; an enigmatic circle of metal heads that live in a dimension of their own. And this is just the beginning…
By: Olivier Zoltar Badin