Posts Tagged ‘Vampyre’

Christopher Nosnibor

Vampyre is the third album from Washington DC’s The Neuro Farm, following The Descent (2019), and Ghosts (2014). If the album titles suggest dark and haunting, it’s fitting for a band who harvest influence from the field that contains Joy Division, Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Sigur Ros, Chelsea Wolfe, Portishead, and Rammstein.

Comprising Brian Wolff (guitar, vocal), Rebekah Feng (violin, vocal), DreamrD (drums), and Tim Phillips (synth), the violin and synth contrive to bring rather less standard instrumental elements to the format, particularly with the absence of a live bass. That’s certainly no impedance (the only people who bleat about synth bass ironically seem to be fans of The Sisters of Mercy who haven’t move on from 1985 – because drum machine = cool, synth bass = not cool). Meh. They’re wrong.

Vampyre is a concept album, which they explain as follows: ‘Our titular heroine, lured by the promise of immortality, is given this curse by the egomaniacal leader of a vampyric cult. But within the cult there is a growing sense of disillusion, and she builds her own following. Eventually, she spurns her maker, rebelling against him and his decaying institution. She says a final farewell to her mortal husband, turning away from humanity and embracing her new nature. She slays her former master in the “midnight massacre” and declares herself queen.’

Now, as much as I’m an advocate of albums over random collections of songs, I do sometimes struggle with concept albums, in that following a narrative is often quite a strain. Too much narrative can be tedious; too little, and you’re lost, wondering what the fuck is going on. It’s a thorny territory to navigate under any circumstances.

‘Cain’ makes for a bold, theatrical introduction, the brooding drums that roll and roil providing a stoic backdrop to some theatrical, dramatic vocals. Feng isn‘t just operatic in her delivery, but she’s backed by a full choral arrangement, and then the violin sweeps in and the cinematic scale of the composition truly reveals itself in all its grand enormity.

It’s all going on with ‘Purity, a slow-builder that slithers through Rozz-era Christian Death gothness via trudging stoner rock to crescendo-blasting post-rock over the course of its six-and-a-half minutes.

‘Maker’ brings the bombast, to something on a part with Carl Orff’s ‘Carmina Burana’, and transitioning through various passages of grandeur. It’s a lot to take in. The spacey prog-rock of ‘Enthralled’, the gloopy electro industrial of single release ‘Confession’, the brass-laden brooding of the metallic ‘Decay’. The piano-led, echo-heavy title track is something of a gothic masterpiece, dark, shadowy, with soaring vocals and it’s brimming with epic qualities that touch the emotional centres as it blooms in a glorious cascading sunburst finish that’s peak goth and post-rock in perfect concordance. It feels like a finale, but the three remaining songs continue to cast forth rich and resonant atmospheres, with ‘Midnight Massacre’ landing a gloom-tinged glam-stomp unexpectedly near the end. This is proper gothic rock, perfectly realised.

More often than not, anything that proclaims to be ‘goth’ or ‘gothic’ and goes down the ‘vampire’ route’ tends to be awkward, corny, and cliché, but for all of its ‘conceptual’ leanings, Vampyre is none of these; instead, it’s like a darker, more gothic dip into the domain of early iLiKETRAiNS. But above all, it’s varied, imaginative, dramatic, and really quite spectacular.

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The Neuro Farm recently unveiled their new release, the goth-rock Vampyre.

Vampyrism is a curse dating back to biblical times. Our titular heroine, lured by the promise of immortality, is given this curse by the egomaniacal leader of a vampyric cult. But within the cult there is a growing sense of disillusion, and she builds her own following.

Eventually, she spurns her maker, rebelling against him and his decaying institution. She says a final farewell to her mortal husband, turning away from humanity and embracing her new nature. She slays her former master in the “midnight massacre” and declares herself queen.

They’ve produced a lyric video for one of the tracks, the dramatic, operatic dark electro ‘Confession’, which you can watch here:

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