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Vamps - Underworld album review

Japan’s hybrid rockers make do with industrial spare parts

Since their formation 10 years ago Japan’s Vamps, aka Hyde and guitarist K.A.Z, have rattled between bloodshot GN’R-style rock’n’roll, alt-pop and glam J-rock. In a sense then, Underworld is their most consistent and focused record yet, dealing almost exclusively in stomping goth swagger and industrial-tinged electro beats. It’s also easily the most derivative album Vamps have put their name to so far with pedestrian guitar arrangements – especially on Break Free and Don’t Hold Back – that barely get out of the blocks. There are glimmers of gold to be found in Hyde’s impressive vocals while collaborations with Apocalyptica, Richard Z Kruspe and Chris Motionless throw up the clear highlights. You have to strain your ears on Inside Of Me to hear Chris’s vocals and he basically turns it into an MIW track, but it’s one of the only melodies that stays with you long after Underworld is over.