Horror Punk is a relatively new term. Actually, it’s probably younger than the Vladimirs themselves, who formed in 1995. “The late Hours” is their fifth full-length album. Their original bass player Doug Nevels left in 2007 but apart from him the line up has not changed at all.
On their brilliant new album “The late Hours” the Vladimirs are showing a much broader spectrum than mere Horror Punk incorporating Metal, Punk, Goth Rock and a bit of Hardcore as well. Marquis Thomas explains in more detail: “Yes, we all have vast musical tastes. It’s 2012 and somehow we’re still lumping everything into categories. It seems now more than ever with all the subgenres of subgenres. This constant need for labels is maddening and narrows our viewpoints. We are all influenced by that which occurs before us and that comes out in what we create. Unfortunately, the term Horror Punk conjures up images of Misfits clones and bad pop songs. People feel the need to label everything, paint a picture, and wrap it up in a pretty bow. It makes things easy. Horror has been in music for centuries and the Misfits were the Misfits. I don’t recall hearing the term Horror Punk until the late 1990’s.” Nevertheless, Marquis, as so many others, has been influenced by the music of Glenn Danzig: “I think Glenn Danzig is a great songwriter. From ‘Cough/Cool’ to ‘Black Hell’ I like it all. I’ve listened to his music since I was little kid in the 1980’s. I’ve always liked Bobby Steele’s Undead. ‘Act your Rage’ left a big impression on me.” If you listen very closely, you can even detect some serious Hardcore influences on songs like “Zombie eyed Youth” or “City of the Living Dead”. I want to know in how far dark and brooding Hardcore acts such as Carnivore, Sheer Terror, Darkside N.Y.C. or Amebix inspired the sound of the Vladimirs? Marquis Thomas replies: “I like all those bands. Carnivore and Sheer Terror are two of my all time favourites.” But what about the new Misfits album, that’s only a bad joke, isn’t it? Marquis makes it clear: “To me personally there is no Misfits without Danzig. He wrote the songs that I grew up with. Michael Graves is a good singer and those albums are okay but they’re not Misfits to me. The name has been whored out. As far as the new one goes, I did listen to it out of morbid curiosity. I wish I hadn’t. ‘Earth A.D.’ and back influenced me, I don’t care about the rest.”
As already mentioned, the Vladimirs are no newcomers. They have been around for quite a while: “We started in 1995 and even though we were all in other bands at the time we never considered it a side project. It was always a full on band. The first full-length is self-titled, then we released ‘So fine Concubine’ which is an E.P. with some live tracks tacked on to the end. ‘Night Gallery’ is the second full-length. Back then we used to hand out cassette tapes of unreleased songs at shows so we put them all together and released ‘Tales of bloody Origins: Hits and near Misses’. It’s a compilation of those songs, unreleased demos, seven-inch songs and cover songs. ‘The Odds are against us’ is the third full-length. ‘The Scars of the Vladimirs’ is a best of compilation released on Blood and Guts Records. The fourth full-length is titled ‘Serpent Girl and Songs to Shed the Skin’. That brings us to ‘The Late Hours’.”
Before the release of “The late Hours”, there was a pause of five years for the band but Marquis says they never split up for good: “No, we never split up, it just took longer than it should have. In those five years we worked on the album and a bunch of other songs for future recordings. Ash’s band Estuary released a new album and did several tours around the globe. Brian, Chris, and I released Sono Morti as a concept soundscape trip. And Ash and I released a Death Metal album under the name Faithxtractor. There were also children born and loved ones have died, so we’ve been very busy. It shouldn’t take five years for the next one.”
Okay, let’s come to the actual songs on “The late Hours”. The title track (and album closer) is probably the most unusual number on the album, a 15-minute epic psycho horror voyage. Marquis agrees: “Yes, it is and probably won’t be the last of them. People who have followed us for a long time know that Ash and I had a band years ago called Thorns of the Carrion and all our songs were long. Sometimes I write long songs. It’s not the first long Vladimirs song, ‘Silent Watcher’ on ‘Night Gallery’ is pushing nine minutes.” The lyrics are a sour point with so many so-called Horror Punk outfits, who just throw together a couple of lines from shabby Horror B-movies. Not so the Vladimirs. Marquis Thomas explains: “I thank you for noticing our lyrics aren’t just about a movie we watched. It’s feelings and observations through stories on the gloriously fucked up human condition.”