Sometimes context means everything. For example, Christian Bale’s terrible voice in the Batman and Terminator movies was mostly ignored due to the fact that apparently hardcore soldiers sound like they haven’t sh*t in years. If he had used that voice on a drama or chick-flick, though, he would have been laughed out of Hollywood – context. In music, Mr. Bungle’s crazy lyrics are a huge part of their sound and people readily accept them, but if Slayer were to adopt “Squeeze Me Macaroni” style lyrics for their next album their fans would hate them. Slowly moving towards actually having a point, there is the matter of the Murderdolls’ two albums and why one works and the other doesn’t – hint: it’s context.
Beyond the Valley of the Murderdolls was a cool album because it was fun. From the sloppy hardcore/punk riffs to the cheesy hammer horror lyrics, the album was obviously a joke that the band wanted to let everyone in on. It didn’t matter that the playing was mostly shoddy or that the production left everything sounding flat because it felt spontaneous and fun, and that was good enough. It’s that context that allowed the multiple transgressions found on their debut to be acceptable and even endearing, and it’s that lack of context that is Women & Children Last’s undoing. Women & Children Last’s problem is that it comes off as far too serious and lacks the energy and tongue-in-cheek feel of the debut.
The problem begins with the band’s replacement of the sloppy hardcore/punk influences with rudimentary metal riffs that lack energy or flair. These generic riffs singlehandedly suck the life from just about every song with their complete lack of style. They don’t lend the songs a heavy edge, they’re not memorable and they’re not entertaining. They’re also the reason that the album just isn’t any fun. With that problem firmly identified, it leaves every other element of the songs to flounder and die. The hammer horror lyrics lose their warped sense of humor and instead sound like Fisher Price’s version of Cradle of Filth lyrics – terrible and cheesy. The gritty vocal delivery still sounds like someone trying to sound like Alice Cooper, but without the element of fun he just sounds bad instead of like the amusing parody that he pulled off on the debut – and with that, there is nothing left.
Women & Children Last shares a lot in common with the debut, but it’s missing the context that made it good – that context simply being a good time. The introduction of metal riffs was a bad idea that left the songs sounding too serious for their own good. Delivered over a serious backdrop, the vocals and lyrics just don’t work because they’re just not fun anymore. Murderdolls should have stuck to what worked and left the metal to bands that can actually pull it off.
I do have to say that "Bored til Death" and "Death Valley Superstars" both have cool main riffs, but that's it. Oh, and "Hello, Goodbye, Die" is the only thing that sounds like it could have been on the first album.
Joey and Wednesday 13 did say they considered this "the first true Murderdolls album" so it should have been expected that this album would be different from Beyond the Valley. I agree with the fact that this album sounds a bit too serious but so far I personally like it. Go ahead and bash me on that opinion if you wish as I am still a newbie to sputnik Anyways good review
Joey and Wednesday 13 did say they considered this "the first true Murderdolls album" so it should have been expected that this album would be different from Beyond the Valley. I agree with the fact that this album sounds a bit too serious but so far I personally like it. Go ahead and bash me on that opinion if you wish as I am still a newbie to sputnik
They might consider this the first true Murderdolls album, but that doesn't mean that they should have ignored what worked on the debut. Whether they like it or not, Valley of the Murderdolls is their first album and it's been around for quite a few years. I more metal direction could have worked, but it didn't.
I just think that they lost the spirit of the original. It's like if Mr. Bungle put out a serious album and dropped a lot of the quirks that made their other albums great... even if the album was good, it still wouldn't be happily accepted.
It's their band and I'd never say that they shouldn't try new directions or that they should only do it under different names, but I will have an opinion about whether it works or not ;)
It seems to me that none of you guys seem to know that most of the material was a collection of songs from 'Frankenstein Drag Queens From Planet 13', the band Wednesday 13 was in before he formed the whole Murderdolls thing, and the song "Motherfucker I Don't Care" is a reworked version of a similarly titled song from 'Maniac Spider Trash' from long before that.
In my general opinion, I see "Beyond The Valley.." as a sort-of cover album, a tribute, or maybe even a final 'mastering' of the songs featured on "Beyond The Valley..", even if Wednesday 13 is the one that wrote the songs and is singing them, only a few of the songs on "Beyond The Valley.." were written FOR that album itself. Everything else is re-worked songs from older albums so I don't really feel like it was a legit representation of what Murderdolls was really all about.
On "Women and Children Last", I hear many things, but what I hear is a more refined, mature idea of what I expected to hear 8 years ago. It's a glam-gore-punk-metal album and that's all it needs to be, with or without cheesy movie references. It's music meant to be loud, nasty, and fun, something we need more of today, instead of this self-loathing, emotional crap that takes over the radios nowadays.