When I first heard the name "Vampire Nation" I was expecting something really different than what it was. I did a bit of research, read the reviews in Legends on the previous releases*, and even saw a "Vampire Nation ate my balls" web site; now that was a fine piece of American literature I tell you! I sampled the album before I received it from our great Frying "Marcus" Pan and basically was not all that impressed, but I hear that reviews have to be longer than 88 words so here's the breakdown.
The CD opens up with a pretty funky tune called Adoration Unto Nuit. A fast synth line and slow drum deal gives off a pleasant result. By about two minutes into the song VN really blows it by changing the song completely without warning, I am now listening to a Nintendo Machine; or pre-Nintendo maybe even Atari. That's just what it sounds like, that VN stopped making their track and started playing video games not knowing the recording was still on. But eventually it stops, and then it starts back up again. It's a really dreadful affect and it ruins the good feelings I had about the song at the beginning.
Our next track, Craft of the Union, begins a little ambient with a very familiar drum synth beat. Here we have some female vocals. There is a bit more form to this track than any of the others. Vampire Nation's front man Fred Hamilton managed to find a decent female vocalist. Trancision is a fairly boring track. A basic synth line, with some panning synth and other sounds thrown into the play. You do hear a bit more of female vocalist Isis in here, but not much.
Drawing Down the Moon is the same way, and Fred keeps using the same drum line for nearly every song. Yeah there are some subtle differences, but go have a listen and you'll know what I mean. I don't really think a lot of thought was placed into these tracks, the longest one is five minutes and the average track is 2 and a half. Some of these tracks tend to be so minimal you would think that you're listening to an African busker tapping his hands on a bongo. With a track like Invocation there may be more to it, but you can record the first five seconds and loop the rest to make the song. Alchemy begins where Invokation left off and includes some of the cheesiest keyboarding work I have ever heard. Then Fred throws little jazz samples in the background.
Vampire Nation's The Craft is a recipe for boredom and cheese, no relation to Mac and cheese. Take one drum line, some African influence, horrible keyboard sounds and you have The Craft. I would see how this is an acceptable first release, but it's the third. The names of the songs give off a Danzig feel, with creatively thought up track names such as Tarot, Five Pointed Star, Invokation, Spellbook, and Alchemy. I do congratulate them on coming up with one good track though, it seems Fred and Isis work well together and should think about doing it more often if there is a fourth album. If there was a Craft of the Union single I might have picked it up.
Post: Hexagon Records, P.O. box 42303, Pittsburgh, PA, 15203
*Bes-na-Maut reviewed in Legends #93, December 1999. Wise-ta-Nech reviewed in Legends #105, December 2000.