Chris Cavoretto

About Chris Cavoretto

Former owner and operator of an independent record label. Successful musician on a few accounts. Failed musician on most accounts. Horror lover. Unqualified critic.

Johnny B Morbid – Fall of The Cicada album review

jbm1Johnny B Morbid – “Fall of the Cicada” Album Review

If there’s one thing I learned about Johnny B Morbid from his 2013 release, “Welcome to Die”, it’s that he’ll be blurring the lines between genres left and right. You won’t know what you’re in store for next. This remains true on his latest release, “Fall of the Cicada” (out February 2015, we’re a little late to the party, but that won’t stop us from reviewing it).

As a little background to Johnny B Morbid, basically, it’s a one man project for the recording process. For live shows, a group of (what I can only assume are phenomenal) musicians are enlisted. The whole thing started in 2005 and it grew into a band that gained a big following and earned opening spots for bands like The Misfits, Gwar, The Offspring, Bad Religion and more. There was even a point when Johnny, himself, stepped in to play bass with former Misfits frontman, Michale Graves.

Sadly, Johnny tells me he intends on this being the last JBM album. Luckily, that lit a fire in him to pull out all the stops. He pumped out the highest quality record he possibly could. Trust me, that’s a very good thing for us listeners.

When you start this album, one thing is immediately clear: the production quality on this one is big step up. This is top notch. A lot of bands are putting together records in their bedrooms, garages and living rooms (and, many times, it sounds like it). If that’s the case here, he did an amazing job. I’d assume, wherever he recorded this, that he used a producer/engineer that knew what they were doing (something more bands should try doing). Again, if he did the recording process himself, he needs to pat himself on the back.

The album starts off very pop punk-sounding, but with a lot of metal riffing. My initial thought to the opening two tracks, was that this was really good, but it was so poppy; almost to the point that I wasn’t sure I was “supposed” to like it. I still did and the album really opens up from here. Keeping a poppy edge on such killer riffs and intense lyrics sets JBM apart from so many others.

jbm2We get a complete 180 from the opening tracks on songs like “Exile”, which is a standout track to me. Its brutal, almost black metal assault from the beginning grabs you and doesn’t let go. The vocals are a little grittier on this song than most of the others, too. It’s just got that certain something that feels extra intense.

Throughout “Fall of the Cicada”, we’re being woven through genres, mostly punk and metal, and getting all the rules thrown out the window. It makes for a fresh feeling. We’re used to metal bands with brutal, unintelligible verses that lead to singy, catchy (usually wussy-sounding) choruses. What JBM does on this album is a mixture we don’t hear too often. Clean, sleek, harmonizing metal riffs with clean, well-sung, poppy-yet-thought-provoking vocals that have the harshness they need, when it’s needed.

A little warning for any of you religious types: if you’re one of those “I like horror but I also live to serve the lord” people, you’re going to want to stay away. It’s unapologetic in its onslaught against organized religion and the theme comes back several times throughout this album. Songs like “True Believer” and “Crucifiction” really hammer it in.

I have a minor issue with this album in comparison to “Welcome to Die” and it’s that “Fall of the Cicada”, as a whole, just isn’t as catchy. I’m in no way slamming this fact, because it’s easier to listen to, overall. Plus, the songs are still pretty damn catchy. I just wonder if I’ll listen to this as much, regardless of the technical improvements. That said, it’s a pretty small thing, really, but this review can’t be all good, right? I had to find SOMETHING almost negative to say.

I should mention, though, that the more listens I give this album, the more it takes hold of me. I think “Welcome to Die” grew on me more and more with each listen. It’s still in my regular rotation and, while I can’t remember my score for that album when I reviewed it, I’d probably rank it higher now than I did then. This could very well be the same type of thing with “Fall of the Cicada”.

On the other side of things, something on the Johnny B Morbid’s previous album that was a little hard for me to get past was that it seemed there could have been more emphasis on taking more time with the vocal takes. Some of it just sounded a little off. This is not the case with “Fall of the Cicada”, at all. The vocals are spot-on throughout the entire record. It really does sound great.

jbm3As a little incentive to those who like digital downloads and are unsure about getting that format versus a CD copy of this album, the CD version comes with a cover of Faith No More’s “As the Worm Turns”. JBM expands the sound even more than what we’ve come to expect with this cover. Lots of synths and heavy riffing make this a very worthy inclusion. Plus, it’s never a bad thing to have a little something familiar thrown in there. That’s always a good way to bring in potential new fans.

If this is, indeed, the swan song of Johnny B Morbid, it’s a great way to go out. Crushing power metal, black metal and poppy punk all thrown together into one outstanding production of extremely listenable horror/dark themed music. Grab it from johnnybmorbid.bandcamp.com/.

8 out of 10

As a side bar, check out the official music video for “True Believer” (below) , the first single off of this album. Much like the album, itself, the video production quality is amazing and has a special guest star. UKHS readers and cult movie fans from all over the world will be thrilled at the inclusion of Troma head honcho, Lloyd Kaufman.

Chris Cavoretto

UK Horror Punk Band – Thirteen Shots – The Interview

13shots1.00_png_srzThirteen Shots interview

I recently spoke with Johnny Rose, frontman for one of the UK’s up and coming horror punk bands, Thirteen Shots. This all leads the way to their new album and European tour. Both of which hit this May.

CC – Okay, first things first. A little introduction to Thirteen Shots.
How did the band start and what was the idea behind it all in the beginning?

JR – Thirteen Shots was founded in 2011 with a simple aim of making a mixed genre, fun, energetic band based on B-movie, horror and vintage cinema lyrics. Being very influenced by the golden age of cinema, I wanted that era to be the catalyst of everything we do. We all come from very different musical backgrounds and we try to encourage all the styles to breathe throughout our music.

CC – How did the name Thirteen Shots come about? It screams horror punk but I’m not quite sure why.

JR – Haha. I have no idea! There’s many reasons I like to tell people, but the truth is I just loved the ring to it. It leaves a little mystery to us, as opposed to real obvious horror themed band names. We wrote down loads of them. We was almost called The Gargoyles.

13shots2CC – The Gargoyles?! Ha! We might not be doing this interview right now. I probably would have never checked you guys out with that name. Thirteen Shots works great for your sound.

JR – You think that one is bad! We booked our first show under ‘The Last Reunion’. People were expecting a bloody emo band! However, I think we got the correct name in the end!

CC – Definitely. It really fits. Listening to your older albums, it’s obvious you have a ton of influences. I mean, every song has a slightly different feel to it but it all rounds itself out nicely without feeling scattered. Who influenced you most on your new album?

JR – I would say, without doubt, Black Sabbath… with a hint of Turbonegro and early Misfits. We really wanted to push ourselves this record. I had this concept idea of creating a silent movie with a soundtrack being the album. As the writing process took it’s shape, I soon created three tracks to become the main event and the other tunes are all little ‘shorts’ which would be on before the main movie. This was how cinema events was in the early days. So, it’s very much a tip of the hat to the golden age.

CC – Very cool. Not only are you in Thirteen Shots, but you’ve also started the Undead Artists label. Can you tell the readers about that?

JR – Yes. I have always wanted to run a record label and I was always worried about mixing both label and band together. But, following a couple of interesting experiences with record labels I decided to give it a try.
My approach is very much a record label for bands, run by a band… I try to treat bands how I would like to be treated, myself.

13shots4CC – Thirteen Shots was recently part of the Traveling Morgue Horror Festival with Zombina and the Skeletones, Lupen Tooth, Gravedale High and a bunch more. Undead Artists was behind this, in conjunction with Graveyard Calling, if I’m correct. How did that whole thing come about and how did it go?

JR – Tommy Creep (Graveyard Calling Records, Lupen Tooth) and myself was talking about putting on the UK’s first Horror Punk festival and decided to just throw ourselves in the deep end! It was a huge success, I felt. We are already planning next year’s. Hopefully, bigger and better!!!

CC – I hope so. Creating a community with the bands and the fans like this can only help. Back to Thirteen Shots; what can people expect from the new album?

JR – It’s certainly a full on album… loads of riffs, thunderous drums and catchy choruses. Each tune has a different style and feel to it, without feeling too scattered.

CC – What is the release info on this album? Title, formats, release date…

JR – Black Smiles will be released on the 24/05/15 on two formats.
(1) Digital with two bonus tracks
(2) CD and T-Shirt combo pack

CC – With a new album, I’m sure, comes some live shows. What can people expect to see from you live?

JR – Yes. This year shall be spent touring the UK and Europe extensively. 2016 looks like we could be visiting the States to promote Black Smiles. Just waiting on confirmation on that!

CC – That would be great! I don’t head to shows often, but I’d come out if you guys made it to my neck of the woods over here in the US. I think you’d fare pretty well. Anyway, what’s the next big step for Thirteen Shots?

JR – I think the future, for us, is just making sure as many people see and hear us as possible. Black Smiles is an album that we are 100% proud of and we need to just promote it hard. I have a few ideas for the next project, but right now it’s all about Black Smiles.

13shots6CC – That’s probably a good idea, seeing as how you’re just getting going with Black Smiles and all the press that comes with it. What’s next for Undead Artists?

JR – Undead Artists has eight great bands and I look very much forward to releasing their music and helping them gain as much exposure as possible. I don’t wish to have any more bands. I have my perfect roster, all offering something different!

CC – Cool. Sounds like you’ve got a good plan going forward for both, the band and Undead Artists. Now, let’s talk horror a little. What’s you’re all time favorite horror movie?

JR – For me its the old B-Movies, I’m an odd guy. I am not massively keen on all the CGI and stuff like that. I enjoy the good old fashioned films but, horror-wise, it has to be Creature from the Black Lagoon… and, also, I enjoy Escape from Forbidden Planet, with a very young Leslie Nielsen as the lead. Oh, and the original Dracula. Now that’s a film!

CC – Ah, Creature from the Black Lagoon… that one’s my favorite of the Universal Monsters era… Are there any specific horror movies you watched that sparked creativity while writing Black Smiles?

JR – Not so much horror but more thriller. When writing Black Smiles, the short film I wanted to base the villain scenes on was the style of the first ever Batman series in 1943. It was so dark, very little effects, just acting and suspense. Then for the good guys, it’s all about the 3 Stooges. Although, I guess you can say 4 stooges! The difficult task will be mixing it together so the dark and the humour mixes well.

CC – Who’s your favorite horror villain?

JR – Dracula, he’s just one cool dude.

CC – If you had to be thrown into any one horror movie, which one would you choose and what role would you take?

JR – It would have to be the Creature from the Black Lagoon, and of course, the Creature because he gets to grab the girl! Other than that, I would love to be in Shaun of the Dead as a zombie.

13shots7CC – Remakes. Are any of them worth while? If so, which ones are you into?

JR – Not really, remakes are lazy, in my opinion. Can’t think of anything new? Don’t work in the movies.

CC – Is there any dream of getting your songs into horror soundtracks? Sometimes it’s cool to get that underground rock song on a background radio or during the end credits. Being that you guys have so many different styles you encompass, I could see plenty of it working for a ton of different things in the future.

JR – We have been featured in one horror movie in Canada, which was a great experience, but nothing much more has come our way. I would love to be playing in a movie and we all get killed! Like in our video for ‘Zombies from the USSR’.

CC – Sounds great! I think that’s all I’ve got. Thanks for taking the time. Good luck with everything moving forward. Is there anything else you’d like to let people know before we’re done here?

JR – All I would say, really, is thank you for your support and keep supporting the scene. It’s starting to grow with some great bands daring to be different. Don’t fight it, just support and enjoy the ride. It’s going to be killer!

For your listening pleasure, we’ve got an exclusive first glimpse into Black Smiles with the single, Cobradeer. You won’t hear it anywhere else.

LINKS

Website – http://thirteenshots.wix.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/thirteenshotsband/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/thirteenshotsuk

Bandcamp – https://thirteenshots.bandcamp.com

Make sure to catch Thirteen Shots on their European Tour.

22/5/15 – Breaking Bands Fest, England
28/5/15 – La Source, Le Mans, France
29/5/15 – Cafe Ammehoela, Bree, Belgium
30/5/15 – Yesterday Club, Bremerhaven, Germany
1/6/15 – Secret Show, Nüremberg
2/6/15 – Utopia, Pelhrimov, Czech Republic
3/6/15 – 100 As Klub, RoHam, Budapest, Hungary
5/6/15 – Lucky Ducks Clubhiem, Feldkirch, Austria
6/6/15 – Plan B, Heilbronn, Germany
23/6/15 – The Palace Theatre, Redditch, England
4/7/15 – Kraak, Manchester, England
24/7/15 – South Sea Live, Sheffield, England

Killer Kart (2012) Short Film Review

killerkartKiller Kart (2012)

Written & directed by James Feeney

Starring Christine Alicia Rodriguez, Ray Bouchard, Elly Schaefer and some seriously killer shopping carts

“Shopping karts can’t kill people!”
…or can they?
“They might not always strike, but they always want to.”

I’ll admit, the first couple minutes of Killer Kart had me wondering what the hell I was doing watching this. But, hey, it’s only about 15 minutes long, so what am I really out if it doesn’t get any better? That’s the beauty of short films. To my delight, it got better. It got so much better. This movie is so ridiculous, it’s unbelievably awesome. And pretty hilarious, at that.

When I was given this short to review, Andy (the man who makes all of this UKHS stuff possible) told me he thought I’d like it. The acting is so bad and the banter just feels so awkward in the first couple minutes that my expectations instantly fizzled out. However, about four minutes in, the screaming starts and things start to gel.

killerkart1The premise, as you’ll probably get from the title, is centered around a grocery store where the shopping karts are coming to life to kill. When the main character, Cass, asks our unlikely custodian hero, Hale, about just what it the hell is going on, he tells her that he’d heard some stories and had “been around long enough to be damn sure I’d seen some shit” but he doesn’t think he’s ever really believed it until now.

He explains, “they devote their lives to shoppers and what do they get in return? Abused. Mistreated. Hit by cars because people can’t walk the ten feet to put them back in their proper place. They’re stolen by homeless, raced by drunk teens.” And that “every once in awhile, one just snaps.”

Christine Alicia Rodriguez (Cass) ends up pulling together a decent performance after the awkwardness of the first couple minutes. Let’s face it, though, Ray Bouchard (Hale) really steals the show here. He comes up somewhere between Bill Moseley and Meatloaf. I think it’s his look and tone. He’s the only one who really delivers a solid performance throughout and his character is the right blend of smart ass and hero.

killerkart2While this is a goofy movie, to say the least, it has a lot that was done well. There were some great camera angles used in Killer Kart. Getting the view from the karts’ perspective was a nice touch. Doing what they could and not doing what they couldn’t was a brilliant idea that many other filmmakers could learn from. Good practical effects used and some all around fun kills taking place help keep you in the mood. The killer karts have sort of a mouth with teeth to chomp on their victims. That really helps bring the killer kart idea to life.

The score is actually really good, too. Some really intense music going with the action helps drive the movie forward and gives it a bigger feel, overall. I could see myself adding it to my regular rotation if it found it’s way to some sort of a release.

Should Killer Kart be made into a feature length? Hell no. Is it awesome just the way it is? Hell yes! When all is said and done with this film, you’re left to ponder; while everyone’s concerned with a zombie apocalypse, who’s taking precautions to get ready for the inevitable shopping kart apocalypse? This short film depicts the first strike… the first moments… the beginning… of the end.

killerkart3People not returning shopping karts to where they belong is a huge pet peeve of mine so this film speaks volumes to me. Stop making excuses as to why you can’t return your kart. Let’s face it, you’re just too goddamned lazy! Watch this short and take it all in. Heed it’s warnings. It may just save your life.

8 out of 10

Sounds good right? Well why not watch it NOW yourself as here is Killer Kart below in all it’s glory !!

And check out Killer Kart on the following links and tell them UKHS sent you!!

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/killerkartmovie

Twitter – https://twitter.com/KillerKartMovie

 

Calabrese “Lust for Sacrilege” album review & interview

CALABRESE-Lust-For-Sacrilege-UK-Tour-2015-AD-MAT-With-DatesCalabrese “Lust for Sacrilege” album review & interview

Phoenix, Arizona’s Calabrese have been making horror-themed rock and roll for over a decade now. They released the Midnight Spookshow EP in 2003 and have since released six full length albums. In the early years, the band had a slew of fun horror punk songs on each album. The last few years, they’ve still got those but the band’s tone has gotten a bit darker, a bit more serious. Most bands probably couldn’t pull this off. Calabrese, however, have done a great job of it and keeps you interested every step of the way. If Born With a Scorpion’s Touch grabbed you, Lust for Sacrilege will blow you away.

The album starts off with “The Dark is Who I Am”. It’s a brooding intro that would make Type O Negative jealous. Later in the album, they bring that Type O vibe back on the title track. For “Lust for Sacrilege”, lyrically, it feels very “Christian Woman”. Musically, it feels 100% Calabrese. I’d have to say, even those who aren’t Type O fans should be feeling these songs.

There are definitely songs that have that classic Calabrese sound. “Down in Misery”, “Teenage Crimewave” and “Lords of the Wasteland” are proof they haven’t forgotten where they came from. The songs are never boring or feeling like I’ve heard it for five albums already. The guys just keep on kicking out greatness.

“Flesh and Blood” is a song that really sticks out. It’s in the same vain as “I Wanna Be a Vigilante” and “There is an Evil Inside” from Born with a Scorpion’s Touch. It’s slower. It’s broodier. It’s deeper. Much like the first time I heard “Evil Inside”, the song was instantly stuck in my head for days. This is the kind of song I fear might push longtime fans away but I hope will elevate them to the next level like it should. It’s not a change for the sake of trying to do things differently. It’s just a truly great song.

There are two things I noticed about “Wanted Man” and “Serpentflame”. Oddly, I get the same thing from both of these songs and they’re back to back on the album. The first thing isn’t so weird; it’s that they both have a heavy Danzig II vibe in the main riff. The second thing is the odd one. The choruses of both songs have a sort of Nirvana chord progression. It makes for an interesting listen but both songs still feel like Calabrese the whole time and neither of the things I mentioned are in any way meant to diminish how good both of these songs are.

Calabrese lets more of their old school, hardcore punk influence out in “Gimme War”. Lots of fast guitars, “woah” choruses and a Misfits-style solo are all included. This one really gets the blood flowing. It also keeps you feeling like Calabrese haven’t strayed from their roots. It also sets up the super-brooding “New York Ripper” perfectly.

They close the album with the biggest departure from anything they’ve done that I can think of. “Drift into Dust” is an acoustic track with an intro guitar sounding very much like that of the one on Danzig 5’s “Come to Silver”. The Danzig influence is all over this one and it definitely breaks any idea of how you think Calabrese will end an album. It’s a slightly odd ending, but it feels right for them to have gone this route.

My overall assessment of this album is that it’s sure to be a top contender for best rock album of 2015. It’s hard to pick a favorite Calabrese album but this one doesn’t disappoint in the least. It’s not as much horror-oriented as maybe just a really dark album, but it makes for great listening.

Lust for Sacrilege score:
9 out of 10

Bobby Calabrese rocking his face off

Bobby Calabrese rocking his face off

Now, onto my interview with Jimmy, Bobby and Davey Calabrese. Keep in mind the vibe here is all in good fun and these are good guys. There were even moments where they stopped and talked with fans who came up to say hi. Calabrese make a point to get to know their fans and let them in on their own stuff, as well. While we were wrapping things up, a fan even brought them a pizza because, if you follow these dudes on Twitter or Facebook, you know they love pizza.

Calabrese @ The Crazy Horse – Boise, Idaho, USA (Jan 29, 2015)

C- You’ve only been on this tour a couple weeks now but how has it been so far?

B- It’s been cool.
D- Successful.
B- Very successful.
J- Worst tour ever. (laughing)

C- Are you hitting more cities that you haven’t been to much and seeing more people coming to the shows, in general?

J- Yeah. Hitting a lot of North Carolina. We haven’t been there. And like, here, in Boise. It’s the second time. Last night, Spokane for the second time. So, yeah, and a lot of new faces, new people who heard about us from just two albums ago, Born with a Scorpion’s Touch. So, that’s pretty cool. They don’t know the back catalog. But, yeah, new people, new fans so the plan’s working.

C- What’s the toughest thing for you guys about being on the road promoting a record?

D- Driving. I don’t do any of it. (laughing)
B- Lack of sleep. That sucks.
J- Yeah, ditto on the sleep. That’s the worse part. If there’s not enough sleep, that kind of sucks but everything else is cool.
B- Just drink beer, you’ll be fine.

C- Did you guys play in other bands before Calabrese?

B- Not really. Nothing serious.
J- Yeah, but nothing really mentionable.
D- No.

C- I’ve followed you guys for about 10 years, since 13 Halloweens. What really grabbed me about it was that in a sea of horror bands that either sounded like old Misfits or new Misfits, you had your own sound. Was that the goal when you started the band?

B- Yeah, probably. Although, I mean we were influenced by The Misfits and all that stuff but they weren’t the end-all, be-all. There were so many other influences at the time. Maybe it helped with two vocalists. Maybe that helped mix it up. Instead of one guy trying to act like Danzig, there’s two. (laughing)
J- Yeah, I think that’s the key. All the different influences. Maybe all those other bands were just trying to be The Misfits and we were trying to be all these different kinds of bands.
B- Yeah, we were way into surf rock. You could hear a lot of that, probably. Man or Astro-Man… there was a lot of different stuff we were listening to back then, so I don’t know. (laughing) Weird.

Calabrese intro backdrop

Calabrese intro backdrop

C- I’ve found most horror rock fans are into the fun stuff like The Misfits, the serious stuff like Danzig and a lot in between. There’s a lot they listen to. But… it’s also general human nature to hate it any time a band changes things up. On Born with a Scorpion’s Touch, the feeling was a lot deeper than previous albums. That continued on Lust for Sacrilege. Were you worried that fans might not like it or did you figure it’s just where you need to go with it? I mean, it’s not a complete departure. It still sounds like Calabrese but it’s a lot more mature than the first four albums.

B- I think with some of the songs it was like, “this might be kind of weird,” but it’s not one of those things where we purposely went in and said we were gonna change it and screw with everyone’s minds. It was just the way it came out. And you know, that’s all we shit out, that’s all you get, you know?
D- Haters gonna hate. And no matter what you do, there’s always gonna be someone hating it.

C- I can definitely say, I’ve read quite a few reviews and I haven’t read anything bad about the new album.

B- (laughing) It only took five albums.
J- For Scorpion’s Touch, when the sound started to change, or mature, I think once we had it, I was a little nervous for the core fans because even with They Call Us Death, there were some people. But, I guess with They Call Us Death, it was harder and some people didn’t get it but they still liked it. Even though we were kind of worried about it, in the grand scheme of things, it seems like our fans are pretty much accepting of stuff. It was like, we had no choice. That was the music that was coming out so that’s how we were gonna go.

C- As far as the new album goes, I hear a lot of influences in there while keeping the Calabrese sound. I hear some Type O Negative in the opening track, some Danzig (especially Danzig II) and even a few chord progressions that are reminiscent of Nirvana to me (I get some woah’s from the guys on that one. Don’t think that was an influence, just something I got a few places) . What bands were the biggest influences while writing this record.

B- Nirvana baby! No… Obviously Type O, like you said, and Danzig. A lot of metal. We were listening to a lot of metal, like Mastadon. What else?
J- Black Sabbath. We were listening to a lot of that for like the piano parts. Believe it or not there’s like a piano, Goblin-esque kind of riff in one of the Black Sabbath songs. But, we’re letting a lot of the metal influence come through and like the darker stuff. We’ve done all the straight up punk stuff so new we’re just kind of exploring the other kinds of music we all liked. That’s the thing, too, we all still have the same influences. There are core ones we can all agree on and that’s the kind of stuff that comes through.
D- I got something to say, you guys keep taking this up… (laughing) Chris Issak… they’ve got the hard bands in there, but there’s some Chris Isaak and Roy Orbison. Some Joy Division in there. Some of that stuff, too.

Calabrese singalong

Calabrese singalong

C- On social media, it looks like you guys get home from a tour and just immediately start writing music and recording. What is it that you guys actually do? Do you relax a bit or take time apart?

J- Yes. At least a week, we stay away from each other.
D- We love to make music videos and give the fans a visual. We’re always working.

C- You guys have gone from being a local Arizona band to what many consider one of the premier horror rock bands in the U.S., maybe even the world (they’re laughing at the thought of this but I think it’s true)… and it seems you’ve done it all yourselves. Obviously, the music has a lot to do with it but it takes more than that for people to actually take time to pay attention and listen. What do you attribute to the getting the following you have?

B- Longevity! I don’t know, last band standing. (laughing) We’re the last ones, so we win by default. (laughing)
D- A lot of bands have fell baby!. (laughing)
B- We stayed the longest, we win the game. (more laughing)
J- I think the internet revolution really helped us out and the fact that we have a lot in common with our fans. We try to treat fans as friends. I remember some of our first shows in a place called The Fix in Phoenix, I was talking to the owner/promoter and he was telling a younger band like, “see what Calabrese does? After the show, they go out and shake hands, give everybody hugs? That’s what you guys’ve gotta do.” Because the kid was complaining about like ‘why don’t we have a following yet?’ So, that’s just something that, I guess, just being young kids at bars and people are always like drunk and like touchy-feely. It’s like, ‘oh that’s cool’ and we’ll hug back and pretend we’re drunk and everyone’s our best friend and it seems to work. They become our friends. Those seem to be the most dedicated fans… the ones that get to know us and we get to know them. It’s like we have like a cult following going on.

C- You guys are really active on social media. You actually follow people back and talk with the fans on Twitter. Do you think this has helped keep people feeling like they need to keep up with what you’re doing and going to shows when you come to their town?

B- Yeah, probably, maybe. It kind of seems like when you become friends with everybody, if they don’t come to your shows then they feel like they let their friend down or something. I don’t know. We’ve only done it one way so if we did it the other way, I’m not sure it would work. I just don’t know.
J- Yeah, it’s just what we do.

C- You toured the UK a couple years back. How many times have you been and how was the experience?

J- Actually, we haven’t been to the UK, yet. Just Germany. We were close, but just Germany.

(this is where everyone judges me thinking that I think Germany is in the UK, I swear, I thought they went to the UK though and not Germany)

D- This is our first headlining tour in the UK coming up. Headlining… emphasis. (laughing) So, it’ll be great.
J- We’re super stoked.
D- We’ve been hearing they’re selling a lot of tickets so it’ll be good to get out there.

Calabrese singing

Calabrese singing

C- What can people expect to see on this tour?

B- Music… live music and entertainment. (laughing) Just a live, loud, fast show. A lot of the new songs. A lot of the old songs. Just blistering rock and roll.

C- Since this interview is for UK Horror Scene, let’s talk horror. What are some horror movies that get you ready to write new material?

D- I like comedies. (laughing) Any kind of comedy. Horror comedy, this and that… whatever…
B- You know, there’s so much Hammer horror. There’s so much of that and I still haven’t seen a ton of it but that stuff’s pretty cool. Pretty artsy stuff. And some of the Italian stuff. There’s so much that it’s all I’ve got left.
J- The Italian stuff is more artistic, like Argento, so you can kind of loosely base lyrics off of the images and it’ll sound more creative than just straight up…
D- (breaks into song singing “Frankenstein, Frankenstein”)

C- Can each of you name one favorite horror movie?

D- Army of Darkness
J- I thought it was Halloween, then I rewatched that. It used to scare the crap out of me and I watched it a few months ago, it was like damn, it didn’t quite hold up. The one movie I watched the most, I better not watch it again, it might not hold up, but Dead Alive.
B- What do I like, I guess I’d have to go with Near Dark or something. Just ‘cause I haven’t seen it in awhile. It was good though. Good vampire shit, man. Cool.

C- If each of you were a horror movie killer, who would you be?

J- I’d be Freddy Krueger.
D- You’re a molester?!
J- It’s only implied…
C- As long as we don’t go with the remake, it’s only implied.
J- Yeah, I didn’t like the remake. It was useless.
C- We won’t even get into remakes because I’ll dominate this thing with how much they all suck.
J- It was just a waste. So Stupid.
B- I guess anyone, like Freddy, who got away. Whoever got away. I’ll do that. I don’t want to be one who died.
D- I’ll be one of the Lost Boys because they killed too.
B- But they died.
D- Ah, whatever…

C- What would you consider the biggest milestone for Calabrese to date?

J- Crazy Horse, Boise, Idaho… interview with Chris for UKHorrorScene.
D- Wait, this is Rolling Stone, correct? (laughing) UK Rolling Stone…
D- Oh wait, a million view on You Tube. That was cool.
J- I guess going back to one of our first times ever playing out of town. It was at a dojo in Salt Lake in like a boxing ring and they took off the ropes and the people there were singing along. That blew me away that these people knew our songs and we’re from out of town. I think that was awesome.
B- Meeting Eerie Von. We met almost every single one of the Misftis. Eerie Von, Chudd, Jerry.
D- He’s not a Misfit…
B- Chudd’s a Misfit…
D- Eerie’s not…
B- (laughing) Everyone under the Misfit umbrella. The only one that’s left is Danzig. We’ve gotta meet Danzig.

Jimmy Calabrese singing

Jimmy Calabrese singing

C- My wife and I actually talked about this earlier. I thought your response was going to be playing with The Misfits..
D- Oh! Yeah, it was alright… (laughing) Now if we went on tour with them, that’d be something!
J- There was like one show.
B- ‘Zig… that’d be something.
D- A world tour with ‘Zig…

C- Hold that thought… next question: Is there anything that could trump your previous high? Something that would just be the ultimate high?

D- Being a household name…
J- It would be awesome if we partnered with Mr. Glenn, you know how he wrote a song for Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison. He takes us under his wing, his dark wing, his black wing and let’s us feed his cat under the stained glass windows in his house. It would be cool working with Danzig in any respect.

C- What can your fans expect next from you guys?

D- More music videos.
J- Expect… the unexpected.
B- I guess more music videos, a couple more tours
D- …with Danzig
J- We’ll take Doyle too.
D- Danzig and Doyle together.

C- Before we’re done here, the big question my wife wants to know is: what’s the laundry situation on tour?
(My wife: How often are you guys doing your laundry?)

D- Every six days or so.
J- I usually do laundry once a week. Actually, we just did laundry… yeah, it’s been about a week and a half.
C- I haven’t noticed any weird odours coming from you guys.
J- No, we wear our leather jackets so you can’t really tell.
B- I only own one pair of underwear.
C- Do those get washed once a week?
B- No… I just wanted to throw that out there.

C- Anything you want to tell the UK fans?

J- Please come out to the shows. We’re gonna give you a kick ass show and rock your fucking face off. Be there!
B- If you don’t have the new album, Lust for Sacrilege, get it.
D- We’ve got Lust for Sacrilege out, get it from Amazon, iTunes, CalabereseRock.com, SpookshowRecords.com – See you soon…

This whole interview could’ve gone out as a podcast. The banter between these brothers is fun to listen to, let alone be involved in. I won’t lie and say I’m an outgoing guy, by any means, but Calabrese are easy to talk to. They love their fans so when they come to your town, go see them, say hi, buy some merch, bring them some pizza and, don’t forget, they’re huggers…

UK Tour dates and info:
Apr 24 @ Barfly – London, UK
Apr 28 @ Think Tank – Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK
Apr 29 @ The Parish – Huddersfield, UK
Apr 30 @ Slade Rooms – Wolverhampton, UK
May 04 @ Tiki bar – Plymouth, UK
May 05 @ Hobbit – Southampton, UK
May 06 @ The Lady Luck – Canterbury, UK
May 07 @ The Fighting Cocks – Kingston Upon Thames, UK
May 08 @ Barfly – London, UK
May 09 @ The Owl Sanctuary – Norwich, UK

Voyag3r – Doom Fortress album review

voyag3r-doomfortressVoyag3r
“Doom Fortress”

Voyag3r (pronounced Voyager 3), were first brought to my attention about a year ago when someone showed me their two song EP, “Victory in the Battle Chamber”. The Detroit three piece quickly gained momentum when word spread about them and rightfully so. It seemed their name started popping up all over the internet right after I heard them.

If you need vocals in the music you listen to, Voyag3r probably isn’t for you. But… if you like mood music that really sets a tone, you’d better seek them out. Their instrumental horror/sci-fi synth rock is perfectly suited for all you fans who love the masses of genre film scores making it out of the gates recently.

“Doom Fortress” is the newest effort from the band with six brand new tracks. Right away, it sounds like the same band as their previous album but the songs are a little more mature. Not necessarily better or worse, but maybe more thought out. Soundscapes are more drawn out to really bring in the listener on this one.

I pick up on influences from Tangerine Dream, Fabio Frizzi, Zombi and Goblin, but more so, John Carpenter. Both earlier and later Carpenter seem to guide Voyag3r’s newest effort, yet they manage to NOT sound like Carpenter clones. It’s merely influence.

What I’m getting at is that there are parts of songs that are minimalistic, synth-driven movements but they also go all out into a supercharged assault with the full band giving it everything they’ve got before a songs’ end. The guitar work, especially, helps bring this Carpenter influence to mind, as his later themes seemed to be more guitar driven.

voyag3r-bandSpeaking of the guitar… The tone on the lead guitar work felt familiar to me at first listen. As I dove further into the album, I noticed that it was reminiscent of “Wildhoney”-era Tiamat. If you’re a fan of the gothic-esque melodic metal of the mid-90’s, you’ll be loving the guitar work on this album. But, onto a little more about the album, itself…

As soon as you start Doom Fortress, you’re immediately transported into space. Maybe it’s a futuristic spaceship. Maybe it’s a space station. Either way, beneath the spacey sounds, the tone for a battle of intergalactic proportions swells.

Doom Fortress is an out of this world journey. It sounds like the score to a good versus evil, human versus alien film in the making. Our heroes blast off into space, fight their way through enemy territory, get viciously attacked by the aliens and somehow end up saving all of humanity in the end. If you don’t believe me, give this album a spin. You’ll see it, too. The driving drums, stellar synths and spacey guitars make for a hell of a fun listen.

8 out of 10

Vinyl LP Distro in USA via Light In The Attic Records: http://lightintheattic.net/releases/1520-doom-fortress
Vinyl LP Distro in UK via Death Waltz Records: http://deathwaltzrecordingcompany.com/shop/voyag3r-doom-fortress/

doomfortresscdCD & Cassette available at: http://www.voyag3r.com/merchandise.php

TRACK LISTING:
1. Summoning The Forgotten One
2. One’s True Intentions
3. Doom Fortress Escape
4. In The Hands Of The Computers
5. Il Guanto Nero
6. Lord Of Doom Fortress

Doom Fortress was recorded using vintage analog synths, electric guitar through vintage tube amplification and maple shell acoustic drums. All music was recorded to 2″ analog tape (MCI JH-24 2″ Analog 24-Track w/ALIII remote) through various vintage pre-amps and a 1977 Custom Harrison 3232 console for maximum authenticity and spirit in capturing this classic sound.

Steve Greene – Synthesizers
Greg Mastin – Drums
Aaron Greene – Guitars

 

The Mugshots – ‘Love, Lust and Revenge’ EP review

mugband2The Mugshots
“Love, Lust and Revenge”

The Mugshots are a band who don’t sound like your typical horror-themed band. I guess, technically, they’re not. They’re more a band who play rock and roll with a dark twist. The classic rock influence is so heavy on this album, I have no doubt you could convince any number of people that this is a remastered reissue of a “forgotten” album.

The Mugshots did something with this EP that so many other bands today don’t do. They put the time and effort (and, likely, money) into hooking up with a producer who knows what he’s doing and recorded at a real studio. Most bands figure, “hey, I’ve got some recording gear. Let’s just do this ourselves.” A big percentage of these bands don’t know the first thing about how to make it not sound like a crappy, local band’s recording.

The band enlisted Dick Wagner as producer. Wagner has contributed to songs with the likes of Kiss, Hall and Oates, Peter Gabriel and more. He’s most known for playing guitar with Lou Reed and Alice Cooper in the 70’s. This partnership is fitting because The Mugshots actually sound heavily influenced by 70’s Alice Cooper.

When most people think of classic rock, they’re not thinking dark and brooding. These guys could easily fit in on a soundtrack to a horror movie, though. The subject matter is dark and extremely reminiscent of those end credits pieces or the song someone’s listening to on the radio that actually has a theme that fits with the movie.

MugBand1“Curse the Moon” is the first song on the EP. It has a nice piano intro. This is followed by a cool classic rock guitar solo over the top. The whole feel is very Alice Cooper. When the chorus comes in, it has a very Queen-like chord progression. Everything comes together and blends very well on this song. This is easily my favorite song on the album, as I could probably listen to it over and over.

“Nothing at All” is almost a Jethro Tull-meets-Meatloaf type composition with the guys from Queen helping out with the chorus’ back-up vocals. The production is great and the song feels like it could have been a huge hit in the 70’s. This could give anything Tull or Meatloaf did in the era a run for their money. It doesn’t catch my ear, personally, but it’s a well put together song.

“Under My Skin” immediately feels like more Alice Cooper tribute material. It’s got a dark progression and a steady, pounding bassline. Lyrically, it seems like something Cooper would have written, as well. The turnaround in the guitar riff has a cool doomy-feel that hooks you. The only problem with this song is that it never really takes off. It feels as if it builds and builds, getting ready to explode into huge finale. However, it never hits that climax, therefore, leaving it a little flat. But don’t get me wrong, it’s not bad, it’s definitely one of the better songs on the EP and keeps you waiting to hear what’s next.

“Free (As I Am)” is, lyrically, dark and brooding. It feels very stalker-esque. The music, again, brings a heavy 70’s Alice Cooper vibe. It just happens to be one of those more forgettable, deep tracks in a Cooper album that it reminds me of. The song never really catches me. The bridge section is reminiscent of the “No More Mister Nice Guy” bridge where he’s talking about a dog biting him on a leg today. The “free as I am” repeated section feels very much like a war protest song and sort of keeps the song from feeling like part of the rest of the album.

Grunge film frame“Pass the Gun Around” immediately reminds me of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity”. I can almost hear the phrase “Ground Control to Major Tom” in the opening. It’s got a desolate, lost in space feel. I hear a ton of Queen influence, again, with the backup vocals. The super digital delayed guitar solo is a nice touch. It’s really helps bring the song together.

Overall, this is a good, well-rounded album. It’s not something the typical,”horror music” fan might appreciate. However, fans of that early Alice Cooper-era stuff… the deep cuts, they should definitely give The Mugshots a chance. It’s most-likely right up their alley.

6.5 out of 10

You can visit The Mugshots website here – http://www.mugshots.it/

And their Facebook Page – www.facebook.com/themugshots

[youtube=http://youtu.be/X9fKZgTBe7M]

 

Spooky Jefferson’s Ideal Lunchbox House of Dolls EP – Review

sjil1Spooky Jefferson’s Ideal Lunchbox
House of Dolls EP

When I got this review assignment, it was described as horror ska-punk. I’m no fan of ska, in general, but it’s been awhile since I reviewed anything so I figured I’d go for it, being as unbiased or closed minded as I possibly can, to be fair.

The intro (aptly titled, “Intro”) starts up and the vibe is very Danny Elfman. I immediately imagined Vincent Price putting Edward Scissorhands together. The chiming piano gives off a somber tone only intensified by what sounds like a saxophone underneath. I’m wondering where they’re going to go from here because this isn’t setting up a ska-punk album to me. I’m into this and I’m expecting to not be into this album.

“Aliens” is the second track and I’m getting those upstrokes that I’m expecting from a ska band but the overall feel is so different. This one feels like a total Oingo Boingo song. The vocals are buried a little too much so it’s hard to make out where he’s going, lyrically. Upon further listens, it’s obviously about being probed by aliens after abduction. However, the Elfman/Oingo Boingo feel is very prominent. I can easily see this in any of Tim Burton’s claymation movies, albeit a bit toned down, lyrically. They keep those horns properly mixed so it doesn’t kill the vibe. A little double bass action on the drums helps add a little depth, as well.

When the third song comes in, I’m feeling pretty optimistic that I may like this whole EP. The track is called “Do You Know”. Some fun, haunted house-esque giggles on this one over those ska upstrokes is entwined with a haunted amusement park-type jam session. Nothing really happens in the song, but it feels very Squirrel Nut Zippers and it’s still fun.

When “Freakshow” hits, it feels like I’m on the Haunted Mansion ride at Disneyland. This happens to be one of my favorite things at Disneyland so, again, no complaints. There’s a very brief Elfman-type breakdown in the middle that screams “Corpse Bride” before ending with an upbeat horror ska(ish) ending.

sjil2The title track comes last with another Corpse Bride feel. I can also see this song easily thrown into The Addams Family movie during their party. I know it’s not a Tim Burton movie but it felt like one. The movie also doesn’t have any Elfman music in it but I always thought it could use some, along with Tom Waits’ “Russian Dance”. Now, add this one to the list of songs that could easily be inserted.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with this EP. It’s weird and a bit off the wall. I would bet these guys are fun to see live. This is obviously a band who is doing what they want to do and they’re having fun doing it.

The likeness to Danny Elfman/Oingo Boingo, Squirrel Nut Zippers and a little Tom Waits in the music is pretty apparent to me. It’s probably something that I wouldn’t listen to all the time as it’s something that you have to be in the right mood for. I definitely like what they’re doing, though.

I don’t know that I’d call Spooky Jefferson’s Ideal Lunchbox a ska-punk band, myself. I don’t really know where I’d classify them but there’s no punk rock from what I heard and, while there is a definite ska influence, it’s not defining to the sound. Maybe I just don’t want to call it ska because I actually enjoyed this album and it’s hard for me to admit to liking anything ska. I could easily see any of these tracks ending up in a dark, kooky movie like those that Tim Burton makes. There’s a very dark cartoon/claymation feel and it’s just a bunch of fun, altogether.

7 out of 10.

Chris Cavoretto

For more info on Spooky Jefferson’s Ideal Lunchbox check out their Facebook page HERE 

Little Miss Stakes – Monster Party Hits (2013) Music Review

coverLittle Miss Stakes
“Monster Party Hits”

 
Little Miss Stakes are a horror punk/rock band from Belfast, Northern Ireland.  The last ten years or so, we’ve seen hundreds, maybe even thousands of horror punk bands pop up.  Ninety-five percent of them sound the same.  LMS are not that typical horror punk band.

I will say, right off the bat, that the vocals on the album will be the thing that drives the casual rock listener away from this band.  For me (and fans of the more aggressive rock and punk rock), they work very well.  There’s plenty of range and diversity here with the vocals. At times, there is an early AC/DC Bon Scott style.  There’s a growly type of almost death/black metal demon possession vocal.  There’s a more feminine(ish)-rock and roll vocal style ala Joan Jett.  A lot reminds me of Vince Neil as well.

Overall, there is a huge 45 Grave meets WASP meets The Misfits vibe.  None of it, however, sounds like they’re ripping anyone off.  They’re playing their own brand of horror-themed rock and roll. The bass sounds amazing and I’m glad it starts before the guitar here as it’s easy to have the bass tone buried and miss it.  With it coming in first, it stays fresh in the mind to really listen to it throughout the album.  The guitar tones are great as well.  Raw but very pronounced in the recording. A good heavy drum sound helps it make a well-rounded sounding album.

DSC_0186-3The first song is “Killer Klowns from Outer Space”.  This one screams 45 Grave as soon as it kicks in.  It’s that sort of generic horror movie 80’s rock sound that you just can’t get enough of.  This song might not be quite as catchy as the Dickies’ “Killer Klowns from Outer Space” that made it in the movie, but I’d probably say it’s better.  Great horror rock song.  It ends with a great punk rock circus vibe, complete with some keyboard bell sounds.

As Killer Klowns ends, “The Ghoul Next Door” kicks right in and you can hear influence all over this one.  It’s the 50’s-influenced horror punk that made The (original) Misfits famous and this song is phenomenal.  With the backup vocals and better recording quality, it’s somewhat reminiscent of Michale Graves-era Misfits, as well.  With these vocals being nowhere near a Danzig-style, the song feels more influenced by than a wannabe Misfits replica.  Very refreshing in the horror punk genre.  At this point, I’m really feeling this album.

“Mina” is more rock and roll fun.  Something about the riffing in it reminds me a bit of Calabrese.  Again, I can hear possibly an influence but no ripping off going on here.  Three songs in, LMS are doing a great job of keeping my attention. When “Drag Queen Dracula” hits, what can I say?  It’s another solid rock and roll song.  This one sort of reminds me of late 80’s/early 90’s era Alice Cooper.  Fun, horror rock with a bit of metal entwined to round out the big sound.  When it ends, so does the album (fairly abruptly).

Each song on this album has a bit of a different feel than the last but each one is strong and they feel good together from the listener’s standpoint.  Most horror punk bands are content with trying to sound like The Misfits and letting that be their defining quality.  Influence is fine, but most bands take it too far and lose any sense of listenability. What Little Miss Stakes have done is they’ve taken these influences and recycled them into their own sound.  This is how it should be done, horror punk bands.  Take a lesson from these guys.

Little-Miss-Stakes-1-e1376052510949 The biggest problem this EP has is that it’s over a little too soon.  The problem with short, four song EP’s is that they’re forgotten in the stacks of other music we all have.  We put on an album when we’re doing something and we don’t want to have to change it again in 12 minutes.  However, I’ve listened several times since receiving it so this one might be strong enough to keep from getting buried.

After several listens, I did a little more research on the band and came across another four song album, Bela Lugosi’s Pro Skater 3 (awesome title, by the way).  If it’s as strong as this one, I suggest we all put both albums together in one playlist and listen often.

7.5/10

Chris Cavoretto

You can visit the Little Miss Stakes bandcamp page HERE

Or their Facebook page HERE

Johnny B. Morbid “Welcome to Die” (2013) Review

jbm2Johnny B. Morbid
“Welcome to Die”

If there is one thing Johnny B. Morbid from New Jersey can do, it’s write a catchy song.  The second time I gave this album a listen, I was singing along.  These guys play horror themed poppy punk.  It’s not pop punk by any means, but punk rock with a poppy twist.  There are so many metal genres these guys thouch on as well.  It’s obvious they like their metal.
Much like Bad Religion, their recording is very clean and polished.  It sounds sort of non-threatening, not in a bad way, just non-threatening.  Unlike Bad Religion, the passion for what they are doing shows through and it’s actually pretty good.  Yes, that’s a jab at Bad Religion.
After giving this album several listens and making up my mind on what I thought, I checked into the band a little more.  Johnny B. Morbid started at a one man band, releasing albums and playing everything on his own for two years.  After growing in popularity and trying out a few sets of musicians for live shows, the band expanded little by little.  I have not listened to any of his/their other efforts, but I can say, the musicians on this album are great.
The opening/title track kicks in hard.  This is my favorite track on the album.  It’s the catchy, poppy punk with a metal flavor that these guys are good at and this track shows every positive and no negative of what this band is capable of.
jbm3  In the second track, “Population: 0”, I noticed something.  The clean recording is sort of a double-edged sword for this band.  It’s so clean that every piece of vocal that is a little off, is very noticeable.  The rest of the album is this way.  I’m not saying it’s bad.  If the recording were grittier, it would fit better.  If there were maybe a few more takes to really hit each note, it would fit better with the clean recording.  Aside from this, the music is superb and, again, it’s catchy as hell.
“Delusions” is a solid track, musically.  I think this song is the one where the vocals sound most “off” pitch-wise though.  The catchiness carries it through without letting that make a mess of the entire track.
“Forever” is next.  Not quite as catchy as “Welcome to Die” but one of the top tracks on the album.  There are some great vocal harmonies towards the end that expand their sound a bit.  Again, every note the band plays is heard with this crisp recording.  Even if it’s not your style, it’s catchy enough that you’d probably find yourself singing along anyway.
On “Last Day Alive” the band slows it down and the first thing that comes to mind is, “every bad boy’s got a soft side.”  Here in the US, there was a hair metal power ballads album advertised on television with that catch phrase so please excuse me if it didn’t make complete sense to you readers on the other side of the Atlantic.  This song is a bit reminiscent of the late 90’s-early 2000’s pop punk bands who put ballads on their albums.  While those songs usually consisted of whining about their fathers, this one is about the fact that tomorrow might never get here.  It’s a good, catchy acoustic song that still keeps that horror theme going.
jbm4When “Enough” comes in, it’s a good kickstart after the ballad.  Quick poppy punk and super catchy.  “Dying’s not enough to make me happy” will be rolling off your tongue in no time when listening to this one.
On “Drinking About You”, I noticed that these guys could transition nicely into a new country band.  They use lots of plays on words, much like newer pop country artists.  This is evident again on “Sincerely, Gabriel” with the line “kill me now or forever hold your peace”.  On a side note, “Sincerely, Gabriel”  also has a killer blast beat, total metal annihilation section in it.
“Stockholm” is another of my favorite cuts on this album.  Still strong, catchy sections all over this one.  A great melodic hardcore type breakdown at the end ties it all together.
“Death Undefeated” hits us like a ton of bricks and sounds like we’re getting a thrash masterpiece.  It immediately kicks into more catchy poppy punk but has some great double bass and metal sections in it.  It’s sort of reminiscent of newer Propagandhi stuff.  Blending so many elements of poppy punk and metal really works great here.
There’s a great black metal sounding opening on “Erebus”.  It transitions into a killer thrash/power metal song.  Unfortunately, the vocal style doesn’t fit here for me at all and leaves me feeling that the song fell short of what could’ve been great.  Don’t discard the song altogether from my point of view on the vocals though.  Every riff in this song is awesome and the drums hit hard.  So much potential for a kick ass thrash song here.
To end this album, the band kicks into a metalled-up version of Gary Glitter’s “Rock and Roll, Pt. 2” and then transitions into a full-force rock out version of Steppenwolf’s “Born to be Wild”.  Great way to close the album strong.
jbm1 Each song on this album (after “Welcome to Die”) seems to have two issues.  One, it seems to be missing something.  I can’t put my finger on it.  I think the album may just be a little too polished and loses a little edginess in that aspect.  Two, the vocals are a little flat here and there.  The upside is that the songs are played so well by the band and it’s just all written so well, that it evens itself out.
Fans of Bad Religion, Good Riddance, Propagandhi and Calabrese should find elements in Johnny B. Morbid’s “Welcome to Die” that they enjoy.  Check it out and see what you think for yourself.

7/10

Chris Cavoretto

Visit Johnny B Morbid’s facebook page – HERE

And you can purchase the album (or songs) on Itunes – HERE

Also you can visit their website at www.johnnybmorbid.com

Inverticrux – Virgin Reaper – Music Review

inverti1Inverticrux – Virgin Reaper

A ghost, a pirate, a cartoon vampire and King Diamond walk into a bar… and start a band called Inverticrux.

Now, this is how I imagine this band started: Someone knew someone that booked a metal band and decided to throw together an opening band. Their friends find this band hilarious.  No one else gets the joke and finds it obnoxious.  The band finds THAT hilarious and decides to stay together.
All I knew about this band prior to listening is that they are a New Hampshire horror metal band (possibly the only one).  I don’t like to do research on anyone before I give them a listen for review.  I like to decide what I think for myself instead of looking for someone else’s thoughts.  Having said this, I don’t know the above paragraph is accurate but this has to be a joke… I really hope this is a joke.  If this is a serious band, it’s one of the worst metal bands I’ve ever heard.  If it’s done in good fun, I can give them some credit for that.
In order to review this album, I had to stream it on YouTube.  Negative points for that, alone.  I can’t tell you the name of the tracks or if intros are their own tracks or just the beginning of a song.  What I can tell you is this sounds like shit.
I’m not sure if it sounds so bad because it’s being streamed on YouTube, if it’s just a shitty recording or if it’s supposed to sound bad.  Nothing sounds leveled right and the high end (especially cymbals) sounds like a really bad digital conversion occurred here.  I could see it being on purpose.  At times, it’s reminiscent of the old black metal recordings but it doesn’t work for me either way.
inverti2  Everything I said in the opening sentence describes this album, vocally.  All of the vocals are goofy but the King Diamond style vocals come out of nowhere throughout the album.  I won’t lie, it got a few laughs out of me.

The whole package here sounds so terrible, most people would never even notice that the band actually plays pretty well (minus the drummer’s inability to keep a steady blast beat) and some of the decipherable riffs are kind of cool.  The interlude before the last song is an example of that.  I wish more of this album sounded like that did.
I also got a good chuckle out of the poorly played harmonica on the second song.  This whole album is so ridiculous that you can’t help but laugh at times.  Unfortunately, most of this album was just beyond my level of absurdity.
I hate being the guy that reviews something with pretty much nothing good to say about it but that’s the case here.  I think there are plenty of people who would find this to their liking so don’t disregard Inverticrux based on this review.  I have a feeling if I knew these guys, I’d find it a lot funnier, myself.  That’s just the way bands like this are.  They are hilarious to friends but most people outside that circle just aren’t going to get the humor behind it.  If you’re into ridiculously over the top goofy metal, this might be for you.

4 out of 10
unless they’re being totally serious… if that’s the case…
2 out of 10

Chris Cavoretto