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.
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome America’s newest greatest punk rock band…. (Vlad) and The Impalers OK, that’s going a bit far to make a point, but Vlad and The Impalers does seem to have more serious matters on there mind than usual on their second album from GC Records.. Fans looking for more of the Vlad and The Impalers rough and tumble seasoned garage punk assault still get what they came for with tunes like ” Rock N Roll Disease” and ” That’s Worth 99 Punk Rock Points ” and those fascinated by the band’s way with murderer influences tunes won’t be disappointed when they cue up the grizzley musical tales “Slay, Slay, Slay My Baby Away ” and ” Dancin in the Graveyard.” One thing that stands out about this album is that there’s a decidedly apocalyptic undercurrent to this collection of songs -Even if Vlad and The Impalers fear for our future, they sound determined to go out with a bang – This self titled release is tighter and more focused than their Jan 2007 release “This Blood’s For You” without sacrificing the frantic energy that’s always been at their core, Maybe Vlad and The Impalers can’t save the world, but they have got plenty of worthwhile things to say on this album, and punctuated with periodic bursts of swaggering bass groove that stutters like a machine gun at times and seeps in a mix of dirty garage, punk and soul. This album is a definite top ten of 2008.
(Jonny Taint) Punkrockreview.org