Vampire Cult

Eric Sager (voc), Ken Brandt (bs), Chris Kraft (git), Doug Kearns (dr)
(Dave Trio gets drum-credits on the BD-edition)

format: LP Side A:
  1. Word Of The Lord
  2. Time Of Trial
  3. Twin Towers
  4. Brand New Messiah
  5. The Joker (take the thrashers surfing)

Side B:

  1. Claws
  2. Blast From The Past
  3. Nitemare
  4. The Highwayman
  5. Dark Travel
  6. Crossover

year: 1988 /1989
country: USA
label: Crossbone / Black Dragon
#: CB-402 / BD 038
insert: no
edition: ?
rarity: 8/10 / 4/10

I have a rather complicated relation to this album. After my personal Doom-revelation with CANDLEMASS, SOLITUDE's (later SOLITUDE AETERNUS) demos and the 1st STILLBORN LP in the late 80's, my eyes and ears were in constant Doom Metal Detection-mode. The name DRUID popped up in some mag/zine and I spent a considerable amount of time searching for their "Vampire Cult" album. When I finally got to give it a spin in a record store my initial response was that of disappointment. The high-pitched voice of Eric Sager sounded terribly out-of-place to my relatively picky ears back then and hardly inspired some more thorough listening. It wasn't until a year ago that I found it dirt-cheap enough to give it another try. This time I enjoyed it a lot more, but still the knowledge of that very rare original private pressing floating around in the cold, dark dimension of Overpriced Records bugged me. It's a bloody TYPICAL collector idiocy to think that a record will somehow sound and feel different only because you play the version with the extra zero at the end of the price tag, but I've never claimed to be a particularly sane person when it comes to Metal collecting. Or otherwise. However, the totally MENTAL cover art of the Crossbone Records-version does merit some extra study, and when you compare the wicked, gloomy original line-up shot with the gay disgrace of the Black Dragon-version you also get a very good example of how trend-sensetive managers at the time ruined the image and credibility of alot of bands. When I got the opportunity to trade myself a copy of the "legendary" original at KIT III (cheers Mr Daub!) I took it and now I can finally give this album it's last chance to impress me.

DRUID's music is a rather unique blend of downtuned, St VITUS/THE OBSESSED-like guitars, songstructures and tempo a la early M FATE and a nasal, wailing Rob Halford on vocals (still their weakest link I'm afraid). The heavier, PENTAGRAM-like "Twin Towers" and "Dark Travel" shows glimpses Doom Metal greatness, but as a whole "Vampire Cult" could have benefited greatly by dropping the tempo a gear or two. Only on the excellent "Brand New Messiah" does their speedy aspirations work to their advantage. Still, the 1.5 minute Thrash-spoof "The Joker" is surprisingly more enjoyable than you'd think. DISCHARGE in a bloody clown suit, how eerie is that!? Finally, "Nitemare" should not go unmentioned. A swingin' US-Metal ditty sounding like OMEN demo leftovers. The rest, apart from the excellent, pounding Doom-riff that start off the record, is... er... what's that word again? Forgettable?

Had this been the long lost '82 demo tape of the kind of insanely obscure, cultist, suicidal small-town band it sounds like, they'd be hyped to death by now, with a number of colored vinyl reissues on Black Widow records and namedropped by everyone and his dog with any self-proclaimed doom-cred. Now all DRUID receive is the shrug of shoulders that they, in a way, deserve. Not that this in any way will stop this Obscure 80's Semi-Doom Completist Bastard from searching high & low for their über-rare "Four Curses" debut EP of '84.

Listen to this record here. (provided by the Vibrations Of Doom webzine)

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