The Misfits - American Psycho
This Misfits have been around for over a quarter of a century, plaguing us with tales of horror and fear. But you have to realize that bands do not usually last that long. It's always 'internal disputes' or 'the direction', or even money, that has led to a breakup. The Misfits are no exception. Over the decades, their lineup has changed more times than most bands could ever handle. But one thing that has remained untouchable was Jerry's love for the undead and the frightful and his ability to portray it within his music.
The albums have always had some focus, whether it was our subconscious attraction to the fears and hate that we all try to hide from, or just the everyday ghouls and zombies of Halloween. The gimmicks of masks and facial paint just pushed the point a little further. When you see Jerry with his Deathlocks, your immediate response is not one of disgust, but of intrigue. And while countless other bands resort to gimmicks to sell records, the Misfits have always done it as an accessory to their already incredible atmosphere.
It had been a while since the last Misfits release, banning the box sets and greatest hits, before American Psycho hit the scene. And when word got out that the lineup would include a new drummer AND lead vocalist, everyone was a skeptic. Long time fans were biased towards Glenn Danzig, saying no one would ever top the unique vibe he gave the band, and that his voice was key to their ghoulish progress.
There were demos released, which can now be found on the Misfits release [url=http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B00005R8F5/ref=m_art_li_10/104-6982413-8616756?v=glance&s=music]Cuts from the Crypt[/url]. The sound was, at the core, the same Misfits we've had for two decades. The production was beyond comparison, finally giving the band the deep growling guitars and thud to the bass drum that it deserved. The intricacies of Jerry's bass could be distinguished amongst the other instruments, allowing you to not only hear the notes, but feel them. Each tom was tuned as low as can go, and Chud's custom bass drum and floor toms, created a solid foundation. But what was most obvious was Michale Graves, the new vocalist.
If I had to describe Michale's sound in one phrase, it would have to be "What Elvis would sound like if he was punk". He 'uh-huhs' and rocks with the swing of the disc in a way that Danzig could never do. There's a large gap between he and Danzig, and I would call that "emotion". I never really had a liking to Danzig's sound, but it worked well for the band. Graves, on the other hand, takes his emotions and puts them at the heart of his voice, rather than his image. He has a naturally higher range than Danzig, somehow removing the element of fear from the lyrics. But when his lungs open up, and the oohs and aahs penetrate the choruses, Graves really emanates the Misfits sound.
takes up where the Misfits left us years before. There was no change in the theme, or efforts, of the band. They didn't try to redefine who they were because of the new lineup. They didn't try to recreate their sound in a totally new way. What they did, instead, was stick to what they do best, and what Jerry has always done -- give us the tales of gore and horror the fans have flocked to. Because of Graves' new range, the vocals become much more open to accompaniment. The melodies are much more defined in this release, which in turn makes the music sound a little more "happy" and uplifting. But deep down, the Misfits are still the Misfits.
Many have scrutinized Graves' sound, stating that it's too
different, and too good. The raw sound the Misfits had was gone, they say, replaced with perfection and obvious production tweaks. Their argument that Graves' voice wasn't right for the band was the biggest gripe. And to this day, many have dismissed the post-1995 Misfits as rubbish, an echo of a once-godlike figure.
The music is just as powerful, and just as eerie as it always was, though. The focus of the lyrics has been altered slightly towards science fiction and horror movies, with songs such as This Island Earth
, and Mars Attacks
. But if you read the lyrics, you won't find synopsis of the screenplay, but just a hint at its concept. For instance, Hate the Living, Love the Dead
tells the tale of The Bride of Frankenstein
, its catchy chorus singing "Put me together with the bodies of the dead/And I will wait for life and breath again/Scalpels, scissors, stitches, skin/Wake this eternal sleep she's in/And we'll breed for you on your command". And while many pre-1995 Misfits fans will denounce these as petty and immature, I am intrigued by their ability to translate movie themes into "Misfits" pieces.
The Abominable Dr. Phibes
was shortened from the demo version on Cuts from the Crypt
, not to my liking. While the final version serves as a leadup to American Psycho
, I enjoy the full 6 minute version far more. The disc weighs in at 39:34. The inclusion of the full track would have been welcome.There's also a hidden track, at the end of the disc following a few minutes of silence called Hell Night
, written partially by the album's producer Daniel Rey. The music is fast, with downstrokes a plenty from Doyle's Annihilator, in typical Misfits fashion and cymbal crashes galore. Chud does a fantastic job at bringing the bottom end together with Jerry's Devastator.
A few music videos have been released for this disc to the MTV world. Dig Up Her Bones and Scream were wildly popular worldwide. The new Misfits were back, and stronger than ever. Michael Graves didn't have Deathlocks, but his skeletal makeup was the highpoint in the visuals. His blonde hair broke the typical Misfit appearance, eventually defining the line between the original Misfits and the new era. Graves was key in making the new sound work.
I love this disc. At under 40 minutes, it's very short. I continuously crave for more. But with Graves on vocals and Chud's custom kit -- consisting of floor toms crafted from two 22" bass drums bolted together, and a bass drum made of a 28" bass drum and a 30" bass drum connected midway -- the sound is much more vibrant and solid than any previous misfits release. Jerry has done a marvelous job at recreating the Misfits atmosphere, both in sound and image. And while many people might find the lyrics dumbed down, I argue that converting classic horror films to popular rock n roll is not an easy thing. Jerry and company gave us one heck of a comeback album with American Psycho. This is a disc not to be missed.
I recommend this to all fans of rock n roll with an edge. You won't be disappointed. All Misfits fans should give Graves a chance and look beyond history. You'll find that the Misfits are more than just a band, but a love for science fiction and horror placed within the music world.
Rating: 4 out of 5 thumbs up!! :thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb::upset: