This Fearless Vampire Killers article was written by Evie Myers, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Natalie Whitehouse
Are Fearless Vampire Killers the hardest working people in rock right now? Let’s see: this year they have had a successful UK headline tour, completely smashed it on the second stage of Download and created their own festival in August. This, along with jetting off to Europe to support Annisokay on their October tour, have left the boys with a very full diary. But this hasn’t stopped them from putting together the mini album ‘Bruises,’ along with personalised pre-order packages and signed memorabilia.
Stepping away from singer Laurence Beveridge’sdystopian world of Grandomina, which dominated the inspiration for the last two concept albums, ‘Bruises’ brings into the fold a soul crushing sense of reality. Along with this comes an entirely new direction for the band, darker lyrical content, and heavier music. The listener is treated to an even split between co-vocalists Beveridge and Kier Kemp throughout the album, and it is clear each have a subtly unique style.
The opening track ‘Feel Alive’completely lives up to its name, with an infectiously upbeat guitar guaranteed to get you moving. Kempalso introduces an unexpected twist on his usual vocal style in the second verse, taking a turn down the heavier route as it is predominantly screaming based. It is unusual but it works completely. The painful optimism in the music masking the harsh reality in the lyrics is reflected wonderfully by his vocals.
‘Stepping Stones’ hits next and it is Beveridge’sturn at the vocals, with heavy riffs complementing the gritty and sometimes painful lyrics. This has a more depressing tone but that only makes it feel more real and relatable. At halfway point ‘Keep Smiling,’ we are treated to another up tempo tune from Kemp, but with a surprising rant from Beveridge partway through. Whether it is politically or socially driven is uncertain, but it is completely different in the best way. The harmonies and building of guitars in ‘Regret’ is something to behold, and the slower opening tempo allows you to enjoy Kemp’s beautiful softer tones.
‘Like Bruises’ was teased to fans several weeks ago and what a treat it was. The opening riff is spine tingling and only leads to greater things. Beveridgereally taps into the subject of emotion and relationships, and as a result you can really feel the anguish in his voice. Guitarists Kemp and Shane Sumner have to be commended, as their riffs are bold and gut punching in all the right places.
Album closer ‘Aging Love’ begins with a slower approach, allowing us to appreciate exceptional drums and bass from Luke Illingworth and Drew Woolnough respectively. The way that the music builds in this song makes it feel like an opera in just over four minutes and you cling on to Beveridge’s every word, possibly with a tear in your eye.
Digest ‘Bruises’ maybe three or four times to get the full impact, for it is densely packed with emotion and surprises around every corner. Take the spirit of My Chemical Romance, the sickeningly optimistic quality of Fall Out Boy and the hardcore, heavy riffs of Avenged Sevenfold and here you have Fearless Vampire Killers: a wonderfully messed up blend of all that is good in the world of rock.