I have been a huge Misfits fan since 1981, so I did my best to give their new album, Famous Monsters an impartial review. I do not humor the argument whether the band was better before or after vocalist Glenn Danzig's departure. It is the natural course of every band to evolve. So I reviewed this album according to the final product itself,
track by track, rather than by the band's line-up: vocalist Michale Graves, guitarist Doyle Von Frankenstein, bassist Jerry Only the only remaining original band member and drummer Dr. Chud. Now that that is clear, allow me to proceed.
Famous Monsters: Review by Track
1. Kong at the Gates:
Good instrumental intro like "The Abominable Dr. Phibes" on American Psycho, the band's previous album, with a nice build up and segue into...
2. The Forbidden Zone:
A little too poppy for my taste though Doyle's distortion-filled guitar riffs hold the song together. It gets better after a few spins.
3. Lost in Space:
I never liked the show as a kid, didn't care to see the movie, and the song doesn't really cut it either. The lyrics are weak ("You start to shiver and shake, I'm calling you Houston") but the chorus is catchy.
4. Dust to Dust:
It sounds like it belongs on WXRK rather than on a Misfits record. If mainstream sound is what they were after, then they have a hit. Its repetitiveness definitely grows on you.
5. Crawling Eye:
This one I like a lot, especially its thrashy feel and the harmonious chorus.
6. Witch Hunt:
Excellent instrumental tracks but I'm not thrilled about the vocals. Graves has a great voice but it's not put to its full use in the song's arrangement.
Ahhh... at last I get to hear the song I have been waiting for. I love the opening and it' s an awesome song. This has what "Witch Hunt" lacks, excellent vocals and a melody that gets way under your skin. I love this almost as much as I loved "Dig Up Her Bones" on American Psycho. MTV take note: this song will make all the girls wet their panties.
8. Saturday Night:
A doo-woppy ballad that gives a nod to the drive-ins of the '50s that played the horror films which inspired the band. The song speaks more of the horror of lost love than of horrible monsters. So-so. Another good track for the radio.
9. Pumpkin Head:
I liked the movie a lot but the song needs something. It doesn't seem inspired. I don't have much to say about this one.
10. Scarecrow Man:
This tune reminds me of some of the '80s bands I used to adore, which is a good thing. Very metal. Graves really pulls this one off well. You can taste the Judas Priest and Iron Maiden influence with every bite. The drums are tight and it doesn't get tedious for one second (unlike the previous number).
11. Die Monster Die:
This song reeks of a filler tune. You know, the kind of song written just to use up space on the album. It has a certain triteness to it that seems contrived and the title/chorus are positively atrocious and uncreative.
12. Living Hell:
OK, now this song is excellent. It has all the "wooah… oh-oh-oh-ohs" a ghoulfiend could ever ask for. It also makes a wonderful beer-drinking tune. I give it two thumbs up and a toe.
13. Descending Angel:
Catchy, totally '80s-sounding track. I could see this song being played at goth clubs in ten years. It makes me want to dance. I like it. It evokes memories of longing for that sexy devillocked fiend lurking in the dark, smoky club of the night.
Not a bad song. It has the same feel as most of the songs on American Psycho, which has come to define the post-Danzig Misfits.
15. Fiend Club:
Horrible lyrics. I hate to say it. I like the way the song moves in part but have trouble getting beyond the terrible words.
16. Hunting Humans:
Whereas I hated the previous lyrics, I love these. Very punk rock, although the song's execution could have had more of the sound that the lyrics evoke and deserve. A bit too watered-down to support the song's message.
It starts off quite awful (I thought it was Def Leppard for a sec) but eventually rocks my ass off once it speeds up. What a nice surprise! My favorite track after a few listens. Let's have more of this on the next album, guys!
18. Kong Unleashed:
The epilogue to the opening song. Short but sweet.
The entire album:
My overall opinion is mixed leaning toward the positive side of the spectrum. I think the album is definitely worth a listen, especially to diehard fans. It is much better than 90% of the crap being played on the radio. Along these lines, I hope this is the album that gives the band the airplay they have long deserved.
More Misfits on NY Rock: Coverage of their 1998 Halloween appearance at the club Life, by Didi Delicious.