ALBUM: Fearless Vampire Killers – Unbreakable Hearts ★★★★★

cd_mediumArtist: Fearless Vampire Killers

Album: Unbreakable Hearts

Release Date: 03/11/14

Label: Goremount Records

Fearless Vampire Killers have never been a band for whom music stardom has come easily and there’s no denying that their latest album ‘Unbreakable Hearts’ had something of a troubled gestation. Recorded in America with the mighty William Control, to great enthusiasm from the band and everyone who heard it, the album was then greeted with a somewhat lukewarm response from the band’s record company who refused to release it. So, they went back and recorded some more songs with a different producer, all the while never giving up on their ambitious prior creation. Business wrangles and arguments followed, until finally, they decided to take a chance and release ‘Unbreakable Hearts’, flying in the face of the corporate advice they’d received. So, was it the right decision?

Well, it only takes about 5 bars of the album’s first proper track to determine that yes, it absolutely was, to the point where you have to ask if the record company were even listening to the same album when they condemned it as unfit for release. ‘Say What You Want From Me’ kicks off sounding like a grungy garage band’s first demo and explodes into a ferocious battle cry of a rock song, with a powerful chorus that demands the listener slam their fist in the air and sing along.

Unbreakable Hearts is an album that shows great aspiration, it’s clearly the work of a band for whom the phrase ‘go big or go home’ is something of a mission statement. It contains extremes  of emotion, from the gentle melancholy beauty of piano-led ballad ‘Taste The Iron on your Lips’ to the exuberant bounce of first single (and album highlight) ‘Neon in The Dancehalls’. There’s a cornucopia of influences and genres on show throughout the record, and it contributes to a feeling of lush vastness in the music, an epic quality that means the album sounds more like a film soundtrack than a stand-alone effort. The fabulously gothic and indecently catchy ‘Maeby’ is a perfect example of this, as is the stormy and savage ‘Unbreakable Hearts’, song which evokes a combination of Queen at their most vital and My Chemical Romance at their most bombastic and theatrical. Even the album’s lighter moments contain touches of rock greatness, for example ‘Dream Of You’ appear to be an entirely unremarkable mid tempo pop-rock song, until about two thirds of the way through, when it suddenly explodes into a flamboyant guitar solo executed with the sort of technical precision which could set guitarist Cyrus Barrone up as an inspiration to an entire generation of young guitar players.

Overall, there can be no doubt whatsoever, that this is a dizzyingly original work by a band that have never been afraid to take risks and if there’s any justice in the music business at all, this will be one risk that truly does pay off for them. Unbreakable Hearts is quite simply a monumental creation, and yes, maybe it’s a little ostentatious but that is entirely to Fearless Vampire Killer’s credit. The world has plenty of albums by bands that played it safe and just did what everyone else was doing in the hope of a decent return, it doesn’t need any more. So, if you want an example of a band who are daring to do things a bit differently or you just happen to like amazing music, go and buy this album. You will not be disappointed.