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The Murderdolls Beyond the Valley of the Murderdolls Rerelease CD/ Bonus DVD

By Amber Morrison, Contributor
Sunday, February 22, 2004 @ 11:51 PM

(Roadrunner Records)

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I’m going to have to level with you guys… I had asked to review this CD/DVD over a month ago and felt I could’ve had done in a week. Then my worst nightmare came true, writers block! I have been writing half my life and could make a poem out of a shopping list if I wanted to. I then came to the realization that it wasn’t writer’s block -- it was fear. See, I love this fucking CD! I wanted to do it justice and came up with so many damn scenarios and said fuck it! I’m going to do this review as a fan, as a human being who just loves this CD, but subjectively if called upon.

The Murderdolls’ Beyond the Valley of the Murderdolls was released back in the summer of 2002. Now what seems to be becoming a trend in the music biz, it’s time for the re-release with bonus tracks and a DVD.

The Murderdolls is a side project of Slipknot drummer Joey Jordison and Dope guitarist Tripp Eisen. Eisen has since left the band and was replaced by another guitarist from Dope -- Acey Slade. The rest of the group is bassist Eric Griffin, drummer Ben Ghoul Graves, and from the now defunct North Carolina horror rock outfit Frankenstein Drag Queens from Planet 13 and admitted fan of many obscure ‘80s hair bands, lead singer Wednesday 13.

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When I played this CD for my oldest sister who grew up on ‘80s hair bands, she thought this was a glam band that she somehow missed out on (*keep in mind that she is a full-time mom and wife and has her own veterinarian practice and can’t keep up with much of the new music that comes out today.*) Many agree with that assumption, many disagree, and some say there is a punk element; or I could just be trendy and use the word “rip-off” like all bands post-1989 has been accused of being. Regardless, their influences are undeniable, from Motley Crue to The Misfits to Marilyn Manson to Alice Cooper to Twisted Sister. I’m not saying this is a throwback band; leave that crap to The Darkness. To get an idea of the songs, visualize Kevin Smith remaking an old Ed Wood movie with Quentin Tarantino rewriting the script (that would explain all the fucks you hear!) There is no other group that sounds like the ‘Dolls out there in the underground or in the mainstream. You could give them many tags, but it would be pointless.

Have you ever heard of the phrase, “There is beauty in sadness”? Well there is also humor in sadness, murder, necrophilia, sci-fi, drug abuse, love, death, and marriage as long as it’s done in the name of art.

With song titles like “I Love To Say Fuck,” “Kill Miss America,” “She Was a Teenage Zombie” and “Grave Robbing U.S.A.,” the Dolls don’t take themselves too seriously. But that isn’t to say this is a comedy band, cause there are some very strong songs.

The opening track, “Slit My Wrist,” starts off beautifully with Mozart, but it quickly turns into a ‘Dolls massacre, “Radiation, masturbation, infect the other human beings. Supersonic, chronic, vomit. Barbed-wire cock ring. Sick get sick on this, you mother fuckers make me want to slit my wrists. Sick, so sick of this, I wanna slit my wrists.” The second track, “Twist My Sister,” an obvious ode to one of their idols, keeps the tempo of the violence theme moving, “Jimmy crack corn and I don’t give a fuck, I’ll take a butcher knife and ram it in her fucking gut. I’ll do a chicken dance over her dead body. This is gonna hurt you more than me.”

On the third track, “Dead In Hollywood,” they move into a tribute to their favorite horror icons from the ‘30s through the ‘70s. Those getting the respect they deserve are: Frankenstein, Dracula, Vincent Price, Norman Bates and Leatherface. “Well you can knock on Ed Wood but it won’t do you no good. No, no, no, no, no, cause all of my hero’s are Dead In Hollywood.” On “Grave Robbing U.S.A.,” which has a very funny intro, is a tale of aliens from a planet beyond the stars coming to the U.S.A. to rob graves and play with body parts. Had this CD come out in the ‘80s, it no doubt would’ve gave Tipper Gore and the other Washington D.C. wives a heart attack after just reading the song titles, “197666,” “Dawn Of The Dead,” “Let’s Go To War,” “Dressed To Depress,” “Kill Miss America” and “People Hate Me” (which is one of their two fuck off/fuck you songs): “And people hate me, ‘cause I’m better then you. And people hate me, and that’s the mother fucking truth. People hate me and you can all fuck off. I’m perfect, pissed off, beautiful, I’m God.” The other fuck off song is “Motherfucker, I Don’t Care,” which has a lyric that will no doubt be on my epitaph, “Goodbye, So Long, Get Lost, Fuck Off.”

Don’t be discouraged by all the violence and anger ‘cause the ‘Dolls do provide us some ballads. Okay, maybe not the type of ballads you’re used to hearing, but they are love songs. “Die My Bride” is about a homicidal groom who has wedding day jitters but truly loves his bride. “B-Movie Scream Queen” is a tribute to the beautiful goth women of yesteryear: Bride of Frankenstein, Vampira, Lily Munster, Elvira and Morticia. The last two ballads are personal songs for me, okay – one’s a joke, but too long of a story to get into. “She Was a Teenage Zombie” is pretty simple to figure out. A gorgeous man who falls in love with the most beautiful teenage zombie in the graveyard. “I took her to the movies, and I took her to the park. I took her in the back seat, and that’s where she stole my heart, and then I walked her home from our post mortem date. She took me by the hand, and we danced upon her grave.” With “Love At First Fright,” the title alone is a suggestive notion to the one you love but in reality the song is about the character Regan portrayed by Linda Blair in the legendary movie The Exorcist. “When I saw you piss on the rug, my heart fluttered and I knew it was love, true love. All the things you said and did to your Mom, I knew you were the one, the only one for me. Go and call the priest, so he can exorcise me; be my ghoul tonight. Regan it was love at first fright.”

The unreleased tracks might just be the sound that the ‘Dolls will be heading into their next release. The Romanesque “I Take Drugs,” “Crash Crash,” “Let’s Fuck,” “I Love To Say Fuck,” “Welcome To The Strange” and the remake of Billy Idol’s 1982 hit “White Wedding.” “White Wedding” has got to be the best remake I’ve heard in my life and I will go on record saying it by far exceeds the original. Wednesday 13’s vocals gives the song a creepier feel than the original, just listen to the line “And there’s nothing fair in this world, and there’s nothing pure in this world, look for something left in this world.” Wednesday 13 also happens to be one of the best screamers in the business.

The musicianship is very solid. I won’t pretend that they’re the best musicians on the planet but they are good. Ben Graves is probably the best-kept secret in drumming; he’s not in the league of a Nick Barker *not many are* but he can pound those sticks. For all of you who are fans of guitar solos, good news! There are plenty of solos on this disc. Now, nobody will confuse Joey Jordison or Tripp Eisen with Jimmy Page or compare them to any of the great axe duos like King and Hanneman or the Amott brothers... Point is, there were many musicians that weren’t the best in their genre, ie., Traci Guns, Mick Mars, Brent Muscat, Jeff LaBar, Jay Jay French, and many others who never topped best of polls but had successful careers.

The DVD is only about 15 minutes long and features four videos and no hidden or bonus material; however, there is some very beautiful, vivid artwork. It looks like some of Rob Zombie’s work but there are no artist credits. The videos in order are: “I Love To Say Fuck,” which was recorded live at The Big Day Out in Sydney, Australia; “Dead In Hollywood” - Uncle Marilyn returns the favor for Joey Jordison, who appeared in Manson’s “Tainted Love” video and makes a cameo; “Love At First Fright,” which is just some concert and backstage footage; and “White Wedding,” which is the best video they’ve done, with a great combo of their creepiness and humor. It’s a takeoff of American Idol called “Disposable Icon” -- the Ryan Seacrest clone introduces the next contestant, who by this time, was knocked out by the ‘Dolls’ crew, and the ‘Dolls take his/her spot on the show. At first the audience isn’t sure what to think of it. The judges - Simon clone, Paula clone and Randy clone are disgusted by what they see, but by this time it’s too late ‘cause the crowd is going insane for the ‘Dolls.

The Murderdolls are not out to change the world, this is just a fun CD. The only people who wouldn’t like this are probably still upset by the unrehearsed “wardrobe malfunction” that took place at the Super Bowl. I listen to it at least every other day and it doesn’t get old or stale, and with some unreleased songs, it hasn’t left my CD player. I feel that this is the most underrated CD of the past few years; it is only their debut CD, so the next CD could possibly put them over. The good news though is that the ‘Dolls will be back when Jordison gets done with his Slipknot commitments and then the ‘Dolls will be back with more necrophilia, murder, and mayhem. “Welcome To The Strange” indeed!

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