Los Angeles rock act Vampires Everywhere have started a new era. Vocalist Michael Vampire has taken over. The band has recently made some major lineup changes and Vampire had this to say about it: “The band is just me. I got tired of arrogant, ungrateful, insane musicians using me up! I think you would have to be a lead singer of a band to understand what I’m talking about. All my friends in the same position understand this situation. It’s like being a piece of meat amongst hungry wolves. However, the wolves pretend to be your friend at first! It’s fucked up! But, my current lineup is amazing! I got musicians in this band with true talent, especially my lead guitar player, who in my opinion is the best around, Matti Hoffman.” This is a bold statement, but Vampires Everywhere’s new album Ritual certainly packs a punch that helps back it up.
Ritual, the band’s third album, features production by Matt Good, who has worked with From First To Last, and DRUGS, and mixing by David Bendeth, who has worked with Bring Me The Horizon and Paramore. Ritual is an interesting blend of styles from Metalcore to Goth/industrial. The first single Black Betty, has a distinctly industrial metal feel, while the second single, a cover of Hozier’s breakout hit Take Me To Church that features guest vocals by Alex Koehler of Chelsea Grin, is entirely different and features a medley of styles. The cover is a unique take on the famous song, and begins with a slow, creepy, Marilyn Manson feel, and then jumps into a pop-punk version of the famous chorus “take me to church/I’ll worship like a dog at the shrine of your lies.” Then, when you least expect it, they throw in a dash of Cradle of Filth toward the end with some epic growls. Since people typically cover older songs, Vampire explains the choice to do the cover: “The lyrics are amazing. At first, I hated the song. I was like ‘what the fuck is this’, but then I saw the lyrics and it all made sense. Plus, ‘Take me to church,’ come on, it’s all me! Also, Alex has been my friend since 2012 Warped Tour. He was an obvious choice and it was very organic. I’m beyond happy we got to collaborate.” On March 18, 2016, Vampires Everywhere premiered another song off of Ritual, Ghost Inside My Head on the Alternative Press website. The song begins with nothing but a slow, epic piano and Michael Vampire’s voice, and then launches into a distinctly catchy, metalcore tune.
The first video from Ritual is for the song Perfect Lie, which has a crunchy Nine Inch Nails feel to it. The video is simple, gritty, and in black and white. It features Michael Vampire singing intercut with shots of pretty half naked ladies with tape on their nipples like the women one would typically see at a goth/industrial club. Vampire had this to say about the video, which is available on YouTube: “We have a video out for Perfect Lie, which I’m in love with. It’s simple and straight to the point. It’s kind of my debut as Michael Vampire. I didn’t have to cater to ungrateful band members fighting for the limelight. It’s so taxing. But this video is me. It has industrial & hip hop elements. The next video will push the envelope even further & show fans another side of me.”
Serving as the follow up to 2012’s Hellbound and Heartless, one may wonder how Ritual compares, especially with all the lineup changes. Michael Vampire’s words, the album has some influences of “…Nine Inch Nails and Rob Zombie with minor touches of EDM.” However, don’t forget that …it’s unique & not a copy of anything.” Vampire had a distinct musical direction he wanted to go in upon making it: “I wanted to sing clean again. I wanted melody. I wanted a diverse transition album to showcase who I am currently. I knew I wanted an album I would listen to as well.” Michael Vampire elaborates on how it differs from the previous album in “…melody and quality. I finally parted ways with the anchors in the band. I was always at the mercy of others thoughts about what I should write. However, now it’s all me. It’s my choice & my band. It feels amazing. I mean Matt Good & David Bendeth, it can’t get better.” Vampire is confident that fans are appreciating this new album as much as he does. He asserts, “The response has been amazing! I’m always nervous every time I put out an album, and hearing my voice over the loudspeakers always freaks me out. But fans are stoked, and magazines have been giving it great reviews.”
When it comes to writing this album Michael Vampire had no shortage of inspiration. The lyrical themes, for example, on this album are very personal for him. He reveals, “The lyrics are so real it often brings me to tears singing them. No lie. It’s been a fucked up two years. My ex-fiancé did me dirty and my father died all in the same month, so needless to say lyrical content was no issue. This is a revenge album.” Specifically, the song Ghost Inside My Head discusses this painful time in his life: “It was the first song I laid vocals to. I recorded the vocals the day after my fiancé went bat shit crazy and left me for her friends. She literally fucked the dude from the Lana Del Rey videos the next day, so I was all fucked up mentally. It was a hard day. I’m hoping the song helps people like it helped me. I was at a very low spot.” Writing the music was also a very organic process. Vampire elaborates, “It was just me, Matt Good, and Stetson. Writing in a garage is not my thing, too many cooks in the kitchen. I went into writing a song with basic ideas. I would rattle them off to Matt, who would then email ideas back and forth. It was a very easy process. At the time I was only thinking melody. But it didn’t become Ritual until the vocal production with Stetson in SLC, so it was very organic and natural. We honestly didn’t force anything. I’ve been working hard vocally and I believe it paid off.”
The band’s headlining tour, “The Ritual Tour” is currently underway. Vampire explains that so far, “…It’s been a roller coaster. We’ve been dormant for the last two years, so this tour is a ‘hey we’re back,’ and also getting our new songs tight for the upcoming Filter tour. The best thing about this run is playing cities we’ve never heard of! It’s definitely a great experience!” Clearly, Vampires Everywhere is looking forward to the upcoming “Make America Hate Again” tour alongside Filter and Orgy. Vampires exclaims, “Yes! I mean it’s Filter! It’s a check off my bucket list. I’m a 90’s kid, so this is a dream come true. I always wanted to be on The Family Values Tour and this is pretty damn close.” You can catch them on the “Make America Hate Again” tour starting this April, which starts in San Francisco and then goes all over the United States.