Soundchecks Music Reviews
TRANSYLVANIA 90210: SONGS OF DEATH, DYING, AND THE DEAD
review by Octavio Ramos Jr
After stints in bands such as Frankenstein Drag Queens From Planet 13 and Murderdolls, vocalist Wednesday 13 strikes out on his own with the aptly named Transylvania 90210: Songs Of Death, Dying, And The Dead. You see, Mr 13 has a thing for horror, as evidenced by his music, lyrics, appearance, and even his moniker. 'Wednesday 13' combines two of his favourite television shows: The Munsters (1313 is their street address) and The Addams Family (little Wednesday Addams).
The CD starts off with Post Mortem Boredom, a strange little ditty with chimes and samples that set the stage quite well and remind me a little of what Rob Zombie likes to do. Next up is Look What The Bats Dragged In, and immediately the energy of punk rock and Rob Zombie comes to the forefront. Ghastly's drums crunch and bash while Pig's thick guitar riffs make it difficult not to break into air-guitar. I Walked With A Zombie hearkens to the days of the Misfits, with its 1950s foundation and drive (think of Saturday Night from the Famous Monsters CD). Bad Things is a silly song with weak lyrics, but Ghastly's guitar licks and Kid Kid's thunderous woofer give it a groove-laden edge that salvages it from the grave.
Wednesday 13's Alice Cooper voice comes to the forefront in House By The Cemetery, one of my favorite tracks. The eerie keyboard sting is a nice touch, as are the grinding guitars of both Wednesday 13 and Ghastly. Favorite phrase: "This house of horrors has 13 doors/ Behind each one there is 13 more." God Is A Lie brings with it some Marilyn Manson-styled preaching, but the groovy nature of the music makes it an okay listen. Things get back on track quickly with Haunt Me, with its resonating bass work, creepy effects, and slap-in-the-face guitar screeches. This song also shows how Wednesday 13 can effectively set a romantic yet sinister mood. The title track is another silly addition, but once again the music, particularly the keyboard stings, saves it from the morgue.
I Want You... Dead is a punk thrasher propelled forward by relentless percussion and histrionic guitar riffs, and the hilarious Buried By Christmas combines the humour of Alice Cooper with the simple but effective playing prowess of the Misfits, but the humour gets a little out of hand with Elect Death For President, which goes over the top and feels a little forced. Rot For Me mixes in some industrial overtones with straight-ahead metal, with Mr 13 even changing his voice a little to fit the change in pace. Even the dead will move to this one.
My absolute favourite track is Ghost Of Vincent Price, which showcases Mr 13's ability to craft excellent lyrics and graft them into a simple but effective song that's about as flawless as it gets. Man, I've played this one so much and yet can't help but hit the repeat button again and again. Favourite line: "I know that life can be a gas/ Locked inside that house of wax/ Some people prefer the finer things in life/ But I'm alright hanging out with the ghost of Vincent Price." The closer, Bullet Named Christ, pushes another sermon (although the nod to Type O Negative is appreciated), so I go back to Ghost Of Vincent Price.
Transylvania 90210: Songs Of Death, Dying, And The Dead is campy and fun. The music has a way of pumping itself into the veins and one cannot help but move. It's like an Ed Wood (to whom Mr 13 dedicated this CD) film - you can't help but enjoy the fruits of such twisted labour.
for PIGASUS Press