The original release of VAMP LE STAT’s “Bloodline” EP was marred by unfortunate timing. By 1993, the world had already forgotten about Metal, particularly the brand of sleazy, over-the-top Glam Metal that these Sacramento rockers were pushing. Grunge was in, Metal was out, and suddenly an EP like “Bloodline,” which would’ve moved quite a few units back in 1987, was a commercial dud. XXX Records has seen fit to give the band a second chance by re-releasing “Bloodline,” long since out of print, this time with five bonus tracks.
As far as commercial ‘80s Metal goes, “Bloodline” is an entirely average album. Tracks like “Swing Child” and “Bitch” are typical Glam songs, possibly a teensy bit heavier than SLAUGHTER and other stuff you’d find on the radio. The SLAUGHTER comparison is apt; Mark Slaughter took great pains to sound like Robert Plant, and the opener on “Bloodline,” “Madame Blue,” sounds very much like LED ZEPPELIN would’ve sounded like if, heaven forbid, they had ever attempted to make a Glam album.
The problem with much of the EP is that the songs are much longer than they need to be. “Madame Blue” and “Chain Around My Heart” both drag on quite a bit, with both being in excess of seven minutes in length. The shortest track by far, “Guns 4 Hire,” is almost five minutes long. For the most part, the “Alternative Mixes” included on this re-release are the same lengths as the original counterparts, so the issue isn’t fixed in the bonus mixes.
The best track on the EP is “She’s Not In Love Anymore,” a heartfelt acoustic ballad. It’s a calm, well-executed song that probably would’ve got some decent airplay had it been released during the height of the Glam explosion. “Guns 4 Hire” is pretty decent too, showing a faster side of the band ala DOKKEN’s “Tooth And Nail.”
“Bloodline” is pretty much cookie-cutter ‘80s Metal, with VAMP LE STAT doing little to differentiate themselves amid a sea of their leathered and poofy-coiffed contemporaries. The “Alternative Mixes” add very little value to the re-release, and seem to have been included only to pad the EP’s length so it could be sold as a full album. This sort of thing will really only appeal to completionists.
(Online June 20, 2011)