(Vlad and) the Impalers - (Vlad and) the Impalers (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

(Vlad and) the Impalers

(Vlad and) the Impalers (2008)

Geykido Comet

Taking their name from the infamous, bloodthirsty Romanian Prince also commonly known as Dracula, (Vlad and) the Impalers have -- maybe somewhat ironically -- let loose one of the most fun records of 2008.

While musically running the gamut from hyper-paced garage punk to bouncy ska to snotty rock and roll, thematically, (Vlad and) the Impalers seem to be picking up where Groovie Ghoulies left off. With songs like "Dancing in the Graveyard," "Rock and Roll Disease" and "Slay, Slay, Slay My Baby Away," the band gives off the same kind of tangy B-movie, John Waters-esque odor that the Cramps alluded to some 30 years ago, especially on songs like "Bellevue Mental Hospital." However, the band often temporarily ducks out of such imagery to address more sober concerns like "War Is Bad for Your Health" and one of the album's catchiest songs -- "City Streets," which antagonizes the urban environment and its alleged lack of hospitability, which is certainly understandable. The only time the band gets a tad repetitive is when railing against the fashion of punk rockers (or at least one in particular), both in "That's Worth 99 Punk Rock Points" and "If You're Not Now, You Never Were," taking on "spikes," "patches," "mohawks," "studs" and "patches" (again). Ripping on posers has been a punk tradition for many years, but I think at this juncture in 2008, with eight years of Bush presidency destroying nearly everything, there are plenty of other worthy targets of hostility.

The ska sing-along "I've Got the Man on My Back" is the album's best track, invoking a touch of Suicide Machines-lite with an infectious guitar lead and skank-inducing rhythm. "Slay, Slay Slay My Baby Away" brings the pop-punk hard, while the closer "Go Away" drops some punchy upstrokes in between circle pit assaults.

Catchy, fun, and energetic, (Vlad and) the Impalers offer up something for everyone on their latest, self-titled release, and pack enough passion to keep the 13 tracks lively and memorable.