There are artists who wear their influences on their sleeve. David Bowie influenced Alice Cooper, and both in turn influenced shock rocker Marilyn Manson. It’s nothing new in music or in culture in general. Imitation is a part of expression, but the key is to evolve it and make it your own, which is why Cooper and Manson were able to forge legends of their own.
In the case of Vampires Everywhere!, frontman Michael Vampire’s desire to be Marilyn Manson is a little too spot on. He’s even gone as far as to have his band become a revolving door of musicians with jolly nicknames who have left or been fired for various reasons, leaving him the only remaining original member, a feat which took only two years. The look and the voice are blatant Manson, and the lyrics sound like Manson clichés.
Even the intro to Ritual which repeats, “We love, we hate, we suffocate, we breed, we lie, we live, we die” sounds like it was lifted from the back of a Manson t-shirt. He even took the Manson route of “I’m going to try to make it big by releasing a cover as the lead single.” Instead of reaching back to the eighties, he decided to release a thoroughly unnecessary cover of “Take Me To Church,” trying to give an already chilling song a more gothic feel. While he succeeds, I don’t think it really adds much to the song. In an era where you can find hundreds of covers of current pop hits on YouTube, you’d better come up with something really special if you’re going to make this your lead single.
The most interesting part about this album is trying to decipher the other influences. The music is solid, but I mainly feel like I’m listening to Manson fronting other bands. “Black Betty” isn’t a cover, but draws influence from the ubiquitous Ram Jam hit. While the song is great, I feel like I’m listening to Bullet For My Valentine. Same goes for “The Ghost Inside My Head.”
“The Perfect Lie” and “Violent World” sound like an amalgam of several Nine Inch Nails songs, the former’s chorus sounding disturbingly like it was lifted from Protest The Hero’s “Sequioa Throne.” “9 Lives” and “Truth In You” sound like Rob Zombie’s in the house. Then there’s “American Nightmare,” which is Vampire’s attempt at an “Antichrist Superstar.”
If a collection of Manson collaborations sounds like something you’d be into, then you’ll be very happy with Ritual. It is imitation delivered without any attempt to bring anything new to the table. For what it is, it delivers it well, and doesn’t pretend to be anything else.
Written by Richard Brunette
*edited by Kate Erickson