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Horns To The Ground

Santiago, Chile

Vampire Liver Therapy is the dark synth-beat pop powerhouse you didn’t know you needed. With insane melodies, pulsing percussion and creative instrumental choices their newest album, ‘Horns to the Ground’ is a wild ride. The album is deep set in its tonal roots, drawing heavily from inspirations like Depeche Mode and Talking Heads. The songs share this strange otherworldly aura and it draws you into the soundscape with a futuristic charm.

The album has a lot of tracks within it, and I could write an essay alighting on every single one. Each has its own part to play in the greater sound of ‘Horns to the Ground’. They all start strong, engage with ideas that are unique to one another and then pull out of the sound space before getting tedious. This is certainly a feat for dark synth-pop, which tends to overstay its welcome within its own songs. Some bands opt to have melodies repeat with no variation for minutes at a time. Though it can be said that this approach is symbolic of a monotonous future and it adds to the meaning of the songs, it can make for dull listening. Vampire Liver Therapy swerves this issue by keeping the beats ever-shifting, portraying a future full of advancements, adversity and hope.

Highlights on the album are many, but I shall delve deeper into a few gems that stand out amongst the high-rise.

‘Don’t Get Ready for…’ is a relentless, beat-heavy tune that keeps a deep bass push going throughout the track. With great drum backing, the song pops into action, shifting left and right, beeping and sighing, the percussion emulating the sound of metropolitan nightlife. The vocals chime in overtop, feeling powerful and in charge. They speak of a future of control, from all angles. “Don’t get ready for sadness”, perhaps imagining a future where control doesn’t stop at the physical, but carries through to emotions too. The chorus dips down into the deeper pits of synth and is a churning catchy neon light in the night. The bridge allows Vampire Liver Therapy to experiment with chimes, bells and lighter-sounding synth staples. This gives the song a rounded feeling and would be my pick for the single off of ‘Horns to the Ground’.

‘Trauma Death’ flips to the opposite side of the coin (or whatever we pay with in the future, Credits?). Emphasising the dark in dark synth-pop, as you may have guessed from the title. We open with crispy tones that give the textures of an organ, the drums are softer here, leaving space for the layers of harmonic synth to build tension, while the vocals stay the course with a droning melody that adds to the atmosphere of the song. The chorus flows from dark chanting to a more melodic response section. With only one vocalist it is impressive to have melodies and songs that work to converse with one another. This is a theme that runs throughout the album and is a real shift from the norm within the genre. With dark music, which is presented beautifully here by Vampire Liver Therapy, usually comes a dark lyrical theme. And though presented with dark textures, ‘Horns to the Ground’ feels like an album about communication in dark times, taking control of your human side and looking to the future, however dark it may be, with optimism in our hearts.

A solid entry for Vampire Liver Therapy, ‘Horns to the Ground’ is a classic with a twist. Dark synth-pop, great vibes. The songs are intensely interesting and personal, the only way to truly know what you could take from this vibrant album is to listen for yourself.


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