Menacing howls in the rainforest wind summon nocturnal creatures that surface under the moonlight, parading ritualistically to the solemn beat of beasts. The biological clockwork of the earth-bound and the sky-bound aligns — harmonizing claws and paws, maws and their gnashing jaws — to produce this organic rhythm, but their grand exhibition of synergistic affinity taunts the resentful feral inbetweeners of Aesopian fable: bats — neither of the earth nor the sky, but jealous of both.
Spiteful of their exclusion, bats unsettle the circadian tempo, disrupting its progression with echolocation that exploits the sonic textures to their Darwinian advantage. No wonder these creatures have become associated with the modern vampire; their frustrating exemption from the beast-bird dyad is echoed in the vampire’s inhuman condition — neither living nor dead, but immortal.
But the creature at the intersection of these intractable identities — the vampire bat (Desmodus rotundus) — faces the greatest estrangement. The compounded taxonomical liminality — neither beast nor bird; neither dead nor alive — affords the vampire bat unprecedented agency but equally assures the creature’s offensive reputation, for we fear that which has nothing to lose. Absent binding loyalties, these savage knights-without-a-standard owe nothing to any kingdom — animal or otherwise. Yet their tax is steep, redeemed through the lifeblood of the indebted living.
Their renegade lifestyle might appear liberating, but “the rainforest’s hated tax-collectors” is hardly an enviable condition; the immortality of their collectivity (i.e., their fixed condition) is necessarily accursed with the torment of interminable estrangement, of lurking in the shadow of life.
Anarchic swells of sharp-nailed wings surging from the shadows and bursting with shrill nocturnal cries manifest this existential weariness. But wrath only further fuels the vampire bat’s bloodlust, quenched by the restorative power of parasitic predation alone. For blood is these tax-collectors’ currency, and revenge is their coffer.
Given the natural tension between these creatures’ fundamentally disruptive ethos and wildlife’s uncanny metronomic synergy, it’s only natural that Ninos Du Brasil’s foray into vampiric verse — composed in the language of “tropical” tech-house — be this ominously and even chaotically rhythmic: hyperactive batucada percussion throbs faster than hunted hearts’ fearful palpitations; arpeggiated bass sweats rave-like over skin before the incision of two voracious fangs; and feverish, hysterical — or else deviously measured — vocals personify the vampire bat’s anthropomorphic manifestation.
Channeling vampirism’s sociopathic angst, the Italian duo injects the record with subtle features of classical horror recalling Bram Stoker and Mary Shelley alike. Not that these writers trafficked in strobe lights and cuica, but their foreboding narratives develop with gripping tension; likewise, Vida Eterna is perpetually on-edge — specifically, teetering on the edge of descent into madness.
And madness, indeed, is the logical consequence of eternal liminality. Fortunately, we’re safe from these creatures under sentinel suns. But when the moon dawns and these creatures escape en masse from crepuscular demise and into vespertine resurrection, the biological pecking order is inverted, and we become debtors. If only the daylight were not itself an illusion; under the vampire bat’s dominion, however, the nightlife becomes eternal.