CLIFTON, NJ—The last time I attended NYC’s famous goth music revue, Incantation, I arrived too late to hear BlkVampires, who were just breaking down after their performance. Something special about them struck me. It may have been either the gruesome costumes of the band members or possibly their stunning female entourage who helped them collect themselves after the show. Most likely, though, was my fascination that sprung from the fact that they were the first and only all-black goth band I had ever come across. The fusion of black musical styles with gothic industrial music seemed to hold great potential. So when I received the announcement that BlkVampires would be performing at Dingbatz in Clifton, I made it my business to put together a small band of fans and critics to check them out.
Opening that night was the Trailer Park Mafia, a worthy heavy metal trio fronted by a powerful, bandana-sporting vocalist with a body builder physique to match his muscular sound and a classic ‘80s metal style that fit Dingbatz perfectly.
BlkVampires began their set with an unusual performance art piece in which frontman Forrest Thinner came on stage in grinning, white makeup, and played menacingly with live fire during a hardcore piece called “Ventriloquist.” Next came a blend of R&B vocals mingled with doomsday metal to tell the tale of a control freak in “Ringmaster.” Subsequent songs ranged from almost mainstream rhythm and blues to the truly grotesque, suitable for horror movie soundtracks. Themes ranged from criminality in the hood to the cryogenic freezing of bodies for purposes of future resurrection. Another macabre theme was the longing a vampire feels for a girl whom he can’t reach because she inhabits the daylight. We were even treated to a reggae version of “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door.”
Guitarist Randy Blu managed his riffs wearing a terrifyingly realistic skull mask. Capable bassist Ray had viewers doing a double-take with his medieval fetish, leather-strapped-up face, whereas drummer Ramsey wore more conventional attire.
Last month’s issue of Fangoria, the horror movie mag, did a feature on them. BlkVampires normally consists of six musicians, but was slimmed down to a quartet for this show. One wonders how much more impressive this versatile and entertaining band’s performance may be in full sextet presentation. Go to blkvampires.net to find out more about the band and where they are appearing next.