Horror punk. A strange sub-genre that owes everything to Glenn, Doyle, Jerry and assorted Fiends in the Misfits and has been kept alive by a myriad of chaps and chappesses with black hair dye and a penchant for 50’s style vokills (they nearly always spell it like that as well).
The Other have been around a while now, surfacing 2002 in Leichlingen, Germany and this is their 6th album. The fact that the founder of the band who left in 2006 was called Andy Only gives you an idea what colour ghost these ghouls are wearing on their blackened sleeves.
Fear Itself is 14 tracks of night time punk schlock dressed by Hot Topic. There is little original here, but that is not to say that you should pass it by. More Graves era Misfits via Volbeat than Evil Elvis, The Others love a big chorus and a scampering riff and will appeal as much to fans of the Offspring as Black Veil Brides.
Bloodsucker is a rip roaring punkabilly ride filled with cliché’s that are too much fun to ignore and a rhythm that is too catchy not to tap your winkle-pickers to. “She’s too young too young to be a Bloodsucker- She’s too young, Too young to drink blood” I can hear this playing when Hotel Transylvania 2 gets released (Adam Sadler is not gonna expand his waistline without our help folks!) . Black Sails Against a Midnight Sky follows and offers more of the same – baritone verses, with the German accent adding to the Wampyrric schtick and soaring punk choruses ala early AFI (although the sails must’ve been dyed) .
Dreaming of the Devil follows and sounds like it has dropped off the end of the Famous Monsters album – although it does lack the bite of that post Danzig Misfits classic.
Then things get strange. Doll Island sounds like Blaze Bayley era Iron Maiden. WTF????? Even the opening riff sounds like summat off X Factor. (Steve Harris not Simon Cowell).
The album has a big sound which compliments Rod Usher’s vocals and adds extra warmth to his velvet crooning. The rhythm section sounds pretty darned good too. Waldemar Sorychta who waggles the knobs for Moonspell and Tiamat has done the honours making sure that The Other maintain a grandiose gravitas rather than a grave giggle.
This is never more evident than in Screams in The Black House with another trademark HorrorPunk ™ chorus that will surely make teenage girls and guys go weak at the knees.
There is filler on here – Funeral March especially is like a Frankenstein’s Monster of other bands dead song bits sewn together with cliché stitch.
Rise is a great little mover and shaker with a bit of a Cult vibe and picks up the pace a bit at the end for a crescendo that I could throw some shapes to in the right light with a prevailing wind.
The Others have a formula and I bet it works for them and if it were on in the background at a party I would twist my ancient limbs to it. But it all sounds a little death warmed up to me.
Fans of the band will lap this CD up like so much fake blood in October. It has its appeal to me, but when you can delve into the originals why bother?
A little too much horror business I reckon.
(5/10 Matt Mason)