Vampire Rodents ‎– War Music


Versions (2)

Cat# Artist Title (Format) Label Cat# Country Year
none Vampire Rodents War Music(Cass, Album) V.R. Productions none US 1990 Sell This Version
DCD 9025 Vampire Rodents War Music(CD, Album) Dossier DCD 9025 Germany 1991 Sell This Version



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June 4, 2012
referencing War Music, CD, Album, DCD 9025
This is the first album by the Vammies, and lacks none of the variety & cut-throat ability of the later releases. Side 'A' opens with "Meat" which is a chugging, rough-shod-dragged rhythm over which the vocalist sounds like a violent obsessive undergoing painful treatment. Synthetic horn sounds give it a Big Band' flavour Surrealistically pasted over the more nasty Industrial beat. "Dumme Weisse Menschen" is sung in German, a surging rhythm, like the RESIDENTS resurrecting a medium-slow Punk piece which has been burned almost beyond recognition in a Belsen oven. From these blackened remains a dance piece has been reconstructed with various synthetic freak snatches and junk culture leftovers with a strong central drum core holding the oddity together. "Fragrance Of Christ" shows the RODENTS' sense of humour off a little with religious fervour-voices blended with a drawn-out raspberry sound which adds Pythonesque images to the pious vacuous banter. All this is set over a complex rhythmic piece which keeps a steady pace, full of interesting little sounds. "Extinction" follows on more or less the same tempo, the music itself strained & tortured like Torquemada teaching Yehudi Menuhin another, more painful use for his violin bow, while the vocalist slavers his rabid words in advanced dementia over the steady, swamp-brooding rhythm. "The Ninth Floor" is yet another of their complex, compacted rhythmic patterns, full of interesting configurations of instruments, all dripping dark, deep colours. Over this a menagerie of old film voice snatches are scattered, creating a mild but disturbingly strange story. "Mummified" is a much more Industrial piece - built on a shaking, shuffling pattern while all manner of instruments & sounds layer over the top & the vocalist adds the cherry of bizarre chill in dark, warm, sweaty words. "The Tide Returns" is one of the most 'normal' pieces here with the vocalist keeping almost rigid pace with the drum/synth/added sound structure. Like so many of VAMPIRE RODENT tracks, lyrically it is fascinating, showing not only intelligent minds behind the words, but a strong political/social awareness. "PLA Man" closes the first side - sung & written in an Oriental language (Chinese?) - again a complex, ever-changing rhythmic backdrop with a darkness & dread similar to SLEEP CHAMBER at their more moody.
Side 'B' opens with "Autocannibalism", a medium-slow piece whose 4/4 bass circles like a hungry shark around a boating accident, lean & lethally efficient, a dark, smooth killing machine of teeth and streamlined stealth. Over this synthetics & guitars skim & scatter like tell-tale white water while the vocalist half-snarls, half-growls like PETE MURPHY heard from within a Dalek suit! "Crack Babies" follows a very similar style, the BPM held in stasis while the cycling-yet-ever-changing belly-crawl rhythmic soup churns slowly like a gradually-building nausia. "Momentous" is a more commercially viable dancey, funk-influenced thing which has been sped-up a touch beyond it's natural speed and compressed into a size which might fit into a large jam jar. As such it has a certain humour, without overstating the fact. The voices on this come from 'found' sources, sampled to fit the fast core perfectly. "Press Of Flesh" could almost be a single track it reminds me a lot of PETE MURPHY among others. Again it is a tightly-packed piece which has hooks hidden subliminally beneath it's pelt. "Holiday" is another similar tightly-compressed, but ever interesting little track, bringing perhaps SLEEP CHAMBER at their more experimental to mind, although is probably lighter. It also has elements of a third-speed BABYLAND to it. "Friktion" has a wooden, primitive Ethnic sound to it over which obvious electronic beats & sudden noises jump out here & there while a 'found' voice orates over the top. "Success" again has a far more commercial feel - a fastish upbeat piece with synthetic horn blasts while the bass-led rhythm follows a simple up-down arpeggio of notes. Vocals are both 'found' and sung while a shimmering scalpel of what might be guitar cuts through the bright, tight central spine. "Abortion Clinic Deli" starts a little like DYLAN meets early BOOMTOWN RATS to play Ragtime, with a sped-up vocalist. This changed into another thing which had at least one foot dipped in Funk. "Sexrite" closes the album on a bright, shiny keyboard canopy over a tight, churning undercurrent of structured music, with maybe a degree of distant KRAFTWERK in it. Over the top of this a taped Black guy rambles on in a semi-Religious and wholy confusing diatribe.

In one of the reviews of their second album, "OPTION" magazine say "VR would be well advised not to commit their lyrics to print." - too late - all songs are written in full here (including one in Germen & another in Japanese or Chinese), and if OPTlON are right about anything, it is that these words are not for the faint-hearted. Just a few quotes - 'Barbie Doll In Labour/On Her Best Behaviour/Lepers Have More Fun/Imploding Glands For Everyone'... 'All The Murdered Babies Scream in Christian Heads/In Politician's Wives Masturbating In Their Beds/The Unborn Have No Lives/Therefore They Have No Rights/All The Meat Should Not Be Wasted/When the Population Bites'...' I Want Success/I Want The Rest/I Want The Taj Mahal And A Shopping Mall And To See Your Daughter's Incest'...'Brush The Teeth Of A Swaddled Corpse/Envy His Leisure/Hemorrhage In Pleasure/Why Paint The Rags For Public Display?' Got the picture?

Originally reviewed for Soft Watch.