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WEDNESDAY 13 Horrifier

By Terry Martinson, Contributor
Sunday, November 13, 2022 @ 10:13 AM

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Napalm Records

I would be a representative of the fibbers guild if every time anything remotely related to Mr. 13 is referenced or released that my interest isn’t piqued, and this year's Horrifier is no exception! For those not privy or just plain uninclined to the wares of the horror punk icon Joseph Michael Poole, otherwise known as, WEDNESDAY 13, let’s tip our hat to the man, the myth, the living legend, who for the past 20 years and under numerous incarnations has flown the horror punk (a billy) flag proudly and loudly. Long hauler fans will praise Wednesday’s FRANKENSTEIN DRAG QUEENS FROM PLANET 13 run of releases from 1996 to 2001 (and who wouldn’t?) and then an equal number will die on the sword of the one and only (yes they snuck in an EP too) quintessential long play Beyond The Valley of The Dolls by fan favorite the MURDERDOLLS. A staple for the horror punk genre that sets the bar very very high. Wednesday would “go solo” and form a band under his own moniker, WEDNESDAY 13 and in 2005 released his debut, Transylvania 90210: Songs of Death, Dying, And The Dead and then systematically for numerous years released another 7 long plays until 2022’s much anticipated 9th album Horrifier.

WIth the new album comes a new label, Napalm Records, I hope they do right by the band and a note to Napalm, “stream only” promos are lame, but I digress.

Our journey commences with an industrial, Blade Runner-esque piece entitled “Severed”, Not sure why as there is an abrupt stop and album pause before “Insides Out” starts. Of which, “Insides Out” is a dark little goth industrial rock number, reminiscent of something STABBING WESTWARD would pen, that plods along as Wendesday lets someone know how he feels towards them, “I want your insides, out”... “Exhume And Devour” has an intro, however it plays better into the song (as the song is supporting) and acts as more of a primer for what's to come as the MC announces Wednesday's arrival and then we embark on another horror metal number featuring a gaggle of single note ethereal guitar pickings and Blackie Lawless-tinged vocals, quite reminiscent of something from the KFD sessions. Two tracks in and more heavy industrial metal than the staple horror pop/punk we are craving, not bad numbers, just different. “You’re So Hideous”, although it gets a little more sing-songy, is still in the more metal edged punk. It's a solid song and the video (seen on KNAC.COM HERE) pays homage to everyone’s favorite film, The Exorcist. “Hideous”, does have a nice little guitar solo as well. “Good Day To Be A Bad Guy” is what we came here for old skool power horror pop punk ripe with f bombs, gang vocal “HEY”’s and Joel Ellis' rasped out vocals (I always loved Wednesday’s vocals when he gets after it and he reminds me greatly of similar vocalists, like Joel from CATS IN BOOTS, Taime Down, Kory Clark, et al. Not everyones cup of tea but I love it), I for one am greatly for his chameleon like/eclectic musical stylings cuz we get to hear Wednesday's range and I assume influences, from country to metal and all points in between. The video (also seen on KNAC.COM HERE) is simply brilliant keeping the horror movie theme and this time the film of choice is Halloween III. “Good Day” is a favorite thus far and is ever so hook-laden and the bass and vocal breakdown is so very tasty. “Return To Haddonfield” slows the tempo a bit, staying coarse in a more pop metal variant and of course another Halloween tribute. “Return” features another nice guitar solo sounding like it was a b-side to the DOKKEN Dream Warriors outtakes. Nice.

The album's title track “Horrifier” is next and it stays true to the punk metal form, with Wednesday’s vocal rasp reminding listeners of the metal god Kory Clark of WARRIOR SOUL fame. Nice song, with a catchy AF verse, pre-chorus and chorus and a relentless chugging riff that should cause fits in a live scenario. “Horrifier” would rank #2 thus far. “Hell Is Coming” goes all kinds of groove metal in its main riff, harkening Dimebag and the nordic king Zakk Wylde, creating a metal bedrock for Wednesday's rhythmic wails. Cool tune with a nasty guitar solo, still horror-driven of course, just not that staple Eddie Cochran-meets-THE CRAMPS we grew up on. “Halfway To The Grave” is more inline with the standard horror pop punk standard, featuring a strong and catchy vocal performance, especially in the verse, could be a Sunset Strip jam from 1988. The chorus is infectious as is the bulk of the song. It's well crafted and touches so many classic elements that it's a top tier number and certainly an album favorite for me. “Christine, Fury In The Night” is simply brilliant. If not for the song title alone, c’mon, Christine “Fury In The Night”! The car was a Plymouth Fury for Pete’s sake. And then the jam is tight, metal laden with that horror punk underpinnings and Wednesday's wailing the horror movie vocals. This one is really heavy, yet so catchy and smartly written and performed. The albums closer, “The Other Side”, a “power ballad”, paying homage to loved ones lost is delivered perfectly, yet only could be done so by Wednesday with his monster voice, so raspy and emotional, I feel gut punched every time I spin it. That said, the song is still heavy, but more so pop metal/punk and again the tempo is a more moderate arena rock vibed affair. A very nice, yet sad song with a real nifty breakdown that falls back into the pre-chorus. This one clocks in at over 5 minutes, not a common place for WEDNESDAY 13 tracks that normally clock in in the 3:30 to 4 minute area.

In summary, although the record takes a few tangents that are a little less poppy and certainly dabbling in industrial and metal, overall the sentiment is still there, and if you like your music dripping with horror themes and slathered with cursing then look no further as rock n roll is alive and kicking, or tied up and trying to beat its way out of your trunk in Horrifier, an album that should be acquired, spun liberally and enjoyed whole heartedly. Well done Mr. 13, horns up to you sir, the Stephen King of rock n roll.

4.0 Out Of 5.0


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