Imagine a whiskey-stained, Lemmy-esque throat growling out lyrics over classic doom grooves and you’re right there in the middle of the Earthride sound. The band are classic doom, without a doubt; Vampire Circus fits right in alongside the dark rhythm and blues rock of Black Sabbath, Pentagram or Saint Vitus and will also entertain fans of doom’s younger brother stoner.
As the saying goes, the old pipe gives the sweetest smoke and Earthride members Dave Sherman (vocals) and Eric Little (drums) are old doom pipes having played in Spirit Caravan, Internal Void and Wretched between them. The band, also featuring guitarist Kyle Van Steinburg and bassist Joe Ruthvin, hail from doom-central Maryland, also home to other legends Hidden Hand, the aforementioned Pentagram, and others.
Vampire Circus fits right in alongside the dark rhythm and blues rock of Black Sabbath, Pentagram or Saint Vitus
Vampire Circus, Earthride’s second record, offers steadily rocking and repeating distorted riffs, sometimes wah-ed and always lending perfectly to the accompanying classic solo, present at just the right moment in every song. The songs vary from the slow grooves of tracks like “Fighting the Devils Inside of You” and “Understand”, to the more spacey “Loss” and introspective mid-album “Interlude” (recalling Black Sabbath’s Masters Of Reality), and also offering more pacy stomps or rockers like “For Wrath and Ruin” and title track “Vampire Circus”. The album though forever seems to feel the effect of the demons whiskey and weed and nothing ever goes too crazy. Each song builds and breaks classic heavy riffs and several like “Swamp Witch” include the addition of a warm-sounding organ (played by the Clutch keyboardist), adding to the already firey glow of the balls-out devil rock.
This album delivers exactly what it suggests it will and if you want some deep, heavy riffs, grooves and solos or if you’re a fan of any of the bands mentioned in this review then you’re going to rate this album – as i’ve already said it is classic doom, but for those of you wanting something a bit more extreme, this could dissappoint. It doesn’t tread new ground, but it doesn’t try to, it’s an honest, heavy doom-rock record. Goat of Mendes!