2009 – Dead Records
NOTE: Riffs From The Grave is a double EP brought out by Australian label Dead Records to promote two of their bands,13 Stitches and Tropical Vampirates. As it’s a double EP I will be looking at each band separately and giving the record a combined score at the end.
This horror-punk (or ghoul-rock if you prefer) group are continuing on the b-grade obsessed tradition of bands like The Misfits and The Murderdolls, and they are doing an alright job. If you like that kind of cheeky morbidity then this record will probably slide right into your collection, but it won’t stand out.
The production lacks power and feels a little bit flat, which is a real downside with this kind of music. All the musicians are fine and the vocals have a good cheap-horror-villain rasp, but, due to the production, it doesn’t grab you by the throat like it should. It just kind of sits there… like a corpse.
The lyrics are also a little bit lacking. From my listening to similar bands I have become accustomed to a level of wit and cleverness in the way that the grossness is presented, but, although they are delivered with a good sense of humour, I didn’t pick up on anything that gave me much of a chuckle.
All in all 13 Stitches’ half of the EP is pretty mediocre, nothing drags it down too far, but there’s also nothing that makes it stand out or be in any way noteworthy.
This band, like 13 Stitches, have taken up the horror-punk flame, but their music is much more garage-rock. The drums are wild and thrashing, and the guitar is played like it’s full of meth. This makes for a lot more energy in the tracks than was heard from their record-mates.
The tracks here also have a bit more variation in them. Each one is distinctly different from the last, and one of them (Zombie Girls) is even rather catchy. The guitar riffs and solos help to pep the music up, but the drums are really the highlight here with their manic thuds and crashes performed excellently.
Four tracks are really not enough to get a proper feel for these guys, but I would say that they are definitely the better band on the record. They have a great sense of fun mixed with a good, hard-rocking DIY energy. Once again they’re nothing to dig up your dead mother for, but they are worth a listen if you ever feel inclined.
OVERALL RATING: **/5
Unfortunately small time bands are pretty hard to find any good clips from, but I managed to locate one Tropical Vampirates track from the RIffs From The Grave EP.
It’s not the best song on the record, but it’ll do.