Bastards of Fate at Fear and Loathing in Long Beach

A thin line exists between nightmares and memories in the swamp of interpretation. If you can picture the hangouts that you loved as a teenager and the bars that solidified your psyche in your 20s, stand back, and absorb all of it in. Was it that good or was it that bad. Now envision a spiked wrecking ball tearing through those mental sights with violent sound and you will be arriving at a destination called Vampires are Real and Palpable, the latest musical deconstruction by Roanoke Virginia’s Bastards of Fate. 

An uncut and unstable substance that sucked the usable blood from Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music, The Remains, and The Faint. The finished product is a cacophony of an apathetic concerto that mocks the world falling down around it while getting high from the fumes of the ensuing debris. The lead track “Winter of our Discontent” is a maniacal revision of rock music that blends crooning, noise damage, and anthemic phrasing into a twisted guide for the senses.

“Chromosome I” and “Go No Further” add another element to this lethal dose with bizarre and catchy renderings of LCD Soundsystem and Oingo Boingo, at the height of their experimental phases. Unlike others attempting to sail the turbulent seas of experimentation, the hooks are still firmly in place, just not where you’re used to finding them. A map of a brilliant schizophrenic’s mind replaces antiquated songwriting formats that numb us in car commercials, grocery store Muzak, and superficial brain-dead television shows. 

“One True Love” displays severe psychedelic corrosion with almost angelic harmonies swirling above deranged balladry. This track along with “Identity Theft” are my picks for playlist inclusion, if not the whole album. A unique catchiness and addictive fever bleeds off these tracks. 

Manson Family (the real one) choirs and electro machinery drilling pulverize your cerebellum on “Own It” and “Ultimate Death”. The Bowie-esque pop snarl of “Credit” seriously kicks my ass every time I hear it, the beauty of the line “Did you figure out the answer, oh no…did you figure out the cure for cancer?” gives a glimpse into the soul of a generation left with nothing, and they don’t care. 

Coming near the closing, “Copilot” shakes up the feeling in your bones of being so far away from home, only nostalgia makes you miss it. Even though the home you had, was never a good one and long since disappeared into the void. The rock crumbling uproar of the melodic middle-section is a true moment of rock n roll grandeur. 

The downward spiral of jangled honky-tonk cacophony in “Optometrist” will ensure your head is spinning when the bomb drops on your neighborhood. After this, imminent extinction of all you know will arrive in a form no one has witnessed before.