Saltwater Vampires - We Are Masterpieces Created by God (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Saltwater Vampires

We Are Masterpieces Created by God (2004)


Almost every element of this band points to a classic Misfits ripoff act: The band's name, the straight-up punk songs with names like "Devour You," "Formaldehyde" and "Planet X," the poor recording quality, and that one of the vocalists does a decent Danzig impersonation. It's all evident within the first two minutes; opener "Subconscious Wish" has a bridge melody lifted straight from "Astro Zombies." Unfortunately, these imitator melodies are the best they have to offer; most of the songs here don't really grab me melodically or lyrically ,for that matter.

With no press kit and a bio-less website, I can only piece together so much about the Saltwater Vampires. They are a three-piece from somewhere in Illinois and have been around since 2002. I should say they were a three-piece, for I discovered on their ugly Myspace page that it only lists two guys now. They lost one of their vocalists, and I hope it isn't the Misfits guy; I think I prefer his songs.

OK, Saltwater Vampires aren't pure Misfits. Some of the faster tracks on We Are Masterpieces remind me of Face to Face and the more melodic songs suggest a Screeching Weasel influence, especially with the overdone "wo-oh-oh" backing vocals on "Quicksand Years." They also throw in a bit of Cheshire Cat-era Blink with the simplistic two-note guitar noodles in songs like "Days of Grace." There is nothing here your teenage brother couldn't handle with a couple practice runs on his new Christmas axe. But then again, mad tech isn't really the point here.

When the Saltwater Vampires pull back the tempo, their songs thrive, such as in "Alone in Limbo," where the guy that sounds like Glenn wails over a Ramones style ballad of sorts. Their melodies stand more chance here than in the fast tunes where they kinda just shout, or sing a maximum of three notes. "Requiem" is another example of a more successful slow song. Here they also separate the rhythms of the guitar and bass, an effective technique that most bands of this style neglect to try. However, most of the songs are faster and sloppier, not what I look for in a band these days.

What's in store for the Vampires? It seems they will have a new album coming out this year, but there is no third member to be found. If they find someone it could change the band quite a bit, and who knows if will be for the better or for the worse. I probably won't go out of my way to find out.