"Vampires are Real" (Self-produced; 2022)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Apparently, Skullbusters has been around in one incarnation or another since 1981. They've played with such legendary acts as The Misfits, Bad Brains, DOA, The Flesh Eaters, 45 Grave, Minor Threat, and many others. Strangely (if the internet is correct and, really, when isn't it? JK), their only recorded album is this one, "Vampires Are Real," which was released in 2022.

"Vampires are Real" is, as the title might tip off, a collection of horror punk songs in the vein of the above-mentioned Misfits. Song titles such as "Death and Halloween," "Stroll Through the Morgue" and "Black Death" emphasize that punk rock genre. The songs on the first side, labeled "The Dark Side," are classic horror punk with eerie vocals, clean but cutting guitars and songs that are usually mildly paced. They're very hook-laden, too, and you'll be singing along before each track comes to an end. Another highlight of this first side are some well-produced spoken-word bits, a la "Bring out your dead!"

Side Two, labeled "The Fast Side," is—as might be expected—five songs that are all more quickly paced (at least sometimes) and, interestingly, a little more angry than fun. "Politics Suck" is 100% accurate and will have you pissed off like the band is by the time it ends. "No Comment" is another angry track and "Typhoid Mary" is pure, aggravated dismay.

By the way, special guests on this album include Jack Grisham of TSOL, Casey Royer of Adolescence/D.I., and Reverend Horton Heat on lead guitar.

I'm very curious as to why the band hadn't recorded until three of the four original members re-grouped in the 2020s (although I understand one track is available on an 1982 compilation) but I'm glad "Vampires are Real" is out there. I'm a sucker for horror rock, especially punk and metal, and this album was a total blast to listen to. As I write this, it may not be the season for this kind of music, but I know what I'll be listening to come October.

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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