These guys aren't kidding. Well, they are. But they're not. I Don't Want to Go to Heaven as Long as They Have Vulcans in Hell is the Star Trek-themed band's fifth studio release since their formation in 1999. Best played loud, Vulcans in Hell is hard-driving and muscular, laced with raunchy sex-drugs-and-rock-and-roll humor and profanity.
Captain Karl Miller (bass and lead vocals) helms his randy crew with assurance, his bass underpinning scathing guitar lines from Chief Engineer Brian Moore, John "Number One" Merlino's thundering drums and the keyboard stylings of Science Officer Kiki Stockhammer. Previous part-time Warper Merlino takes over the drum throne for Jeff Hewitt on this disk, but the barefoot Medical Officer makes his presence felt as co-composer of several tunes. Samples are available on the Warp 11 web site.
The title tune shows that Warp 11 retains its fascination with and reverence for the Ramones, so right there you should have an idea what you're in for. But by the time you get to track 4, "I Am Not Herbert," it's starting to sink in that the band has really found its voice. About halfway through the cut they take the tune straight into orbit, then they ring even more changes on it. It's a bravura performance and I'd like to see them do this live.
In among W11's sex-drenched lyrics (including those of appropriately gay-themed "Suds Me Up Sulu," another one of the disk's best tunes) are a few moments of surprising self-examination, and no, I don't mean that kind of self-examination. The best song on the album is one such: "What Would William Shatner Do?" The Trekkie narrator has somehow managed to start dating a babe, and he's terrified she'll discover what a geek he really is. The music here is utterly disarming, melodic and tasty. You heard it here first: this song has "hit" written all over it, and I hope it gets the play it deserves.
Also among the first rank on this album is "Sulu" (not the same song as "Suds Me Up"; the character and George Takei get a lot of reference on Vulcans in Hell), with its mid-song tempo change and some outstanding drum work from Merlino, not to mention a very clever little homage to the Vapors right at the end.
I say Warp 11 deserves a cameo in the next Trek film. How about it, J.J.?