Vampire Mooose - _Vampire Mooose_
(Rotten Records, 2004)
by: T. DePalma (2 out of 10)
It is problematic that a band calling itself "Vampire Moose" excels at so much unintentional comedy. This St. Louis gang of four prove to be capable musicians (a fact put forth more noticeably by their drummer); however their record label's boast that this album is "anything but the same old metal thing" dooms Vampire Moose not only as a band plundering the tired formula of metalcore, but one surrounded by delusion about it as well. In short: there is nothing new here, and what does work is so disconnected from the rest of the crap that it seems almost pointless to mention.

The first track opens with a brief drum intro that evolves like pebble on a hill, slowing building a steady rhythm that cues in a thin wave of guitar distortion and tense bass played tightly; leading in for about a minute before their conditions are amplified and transformed into a chugging, simplistic verse that unifies all the instruments into a precise machine, slamming open and shut like a steel door, though it is probably the band's casket lid. What follows for the rest of the album is more of the same, no doubt taken to new levels ("of what?" is the key question...) as Vampire Moose employs a variety of desperate clich├ęs in search of anything that could possibly hold its audience's attention (without being too daring, of course). Rapping over Meshuggah riffs may be "new" in a sense, but it's typical faux profundity that has about the same novel appeal as green ketchup.

Another confused aspect of this band's approach is their touting of artists like Tool and Tori Amos as influences, which needs to be addressed partly as a problem of logic: the characteristics of your favorite artists do not necessarily manifest in any substantial amount of your own works produced. There is more Pantera and Drowning Pool at work in the macho slamming and low-end vocal wheezing of tracks like "Eye of the Knorm" than anything. And speaking of shameless plugging for attention, I might as well pass along the marketing point to you readers that star of "Evil Dead" and bearer of a mighty chin Bruce Campbell appears in one track, though he exists as nothing more than an onanistic coup for the band and won't amuse you in the slightest.

Closing out this album is "Khali Ma", a fifteen minute track which labors on for a third of its time before coming into a beautifully acoustic instrumental played in classical style over the sound of rainfall. This soft melody is easily the most evocative music on this disc, and after everything else I'm able to report at least one surprise, however fleeting.


(article published 19/11/2004)

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