Review Summary: A solid but flawed debut effort from the horror punk supergroup
It is the opinion of this reviewer that the best majority of so-called supergroups are entirely underwhelming, and that Murderdolls are fortunately not an example of this. Famous as "the other band of [ex-Slipknot drummer] Joey Jordison," or else as "Wednesday 13's old project," the band began life in 2002 as a band that blended punk and metal elements with tongue in cheek lyrics, before eventually morphing into an all-out metal band with much darker lyrical content. Their 2003 debut falls into the former category, and was a surprising success.
'Beyond The Valley Of The Murderdolls' opens with the hard-hitting, infectious groove of "Slit My Wrist," eventually breaking down into the repeated chants of "murder, murder, yes indeed," which is surely one of the best moments on the record. The use of natural harmonics in the verse riff, the mixing of the drums right to the forefront of the sound, and the rasping snarls of Wednesday 13 on vocals give this song the feeling of being a cut above, and shows promise for the record. It doesn't disappoint.
'She Was A Teenage Zombie' is one of the standout songs, with a catchy chorus, whilst the more aggressive side of the band is displayed to tremendous effect on 'People Hate Me,' 'Let's Go To War,' and 'Mother***er I Don't Care.' These three songs are probably the best on the album, with each containing riffs that bludgeon the ear drums, and the vocal performance of Wednesday 13 feeling as though he is the only vocalist capable of carrying this type of record. The drumming introduction to 'Let's Go To War' sets the mood of that track immediately, with an almost-military sounding best, before the heavy riffing descends.
Unfortunately, this album is not composed entirely of gems. 'Twist My Sister' and 'Love At First Fright' unfortunately disappoint, the former an attempt at another good angry song that falls short of the mark, and the former feeling like a warped, horror infused radio rock anthem that misses out on a few vital ingredients. 'Die My Bride' was once a fan favourite, but just feels a little too forced in the current climate, with the shock value lyrics lacking any of the enjoyable impact that they had at the time.
This record is one that I would recommend to fans of bands such as Misfits, but never quite reaches the heights of something like "American Psycho." It is, however, an enjoyable and fun record that is worthy of a few complete listens, and then the standouts will be revisited time and again. Thankfully, they would go on to topple this with the follow-up, taking their music in a harsher direction that all but consigns this to fragments of nostalgia blowing blissfully through the winds of memory.