OK, here’s where the Misfits have to prove themselves. 1997s American Psycho got them a few dozen tours where they mixed a lot of the old Danzig songs with their own originals — satisfying the old school diehard Misfits fans. Now with the release of Famous Monsters , an album of songs that bear little or no relation to the songs of between fifteen and twenty-three years ago, the Misfits have completely separated themselves from the Danzig stigma. There’s a different sound on this album. There’s no metal, nor punk anthems, per se.
The eighteen songs are about monster movies — exclusively (except for “Fiend Club” which is a nice praise of the Misfits’ international fanbase).
The subjects range from old classics to newer films, including King Kong (“Kong at the Gates” and “Kong Unleashed,” hard and heavy instrumentals), Planet of the Apes (“The Forbidden Zone” — which has a little “anthem” in it), Boxing Helena (“Helena” — not a nice song, not a nice movie, either, but fun if you see it with a girl you’re not that crazy about), and Night of the Living Dead (“Hunting Humans,” a rousing punk song that they kind of did twenty years ago…). “Die Monster Die” is a bit of a mystery. As a filmed version of H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Colour Out of Space,” starring Boris Karloff and Nick Adams, it’s marginally worth seeing. As far as the song goes, Marilyn Monroe rises up from the dead to kill someone — Glenn Danzig? Could be, could be, maybe we’ll never know for sure… “Scream,” “Lost In Space,” “Pumpkinhead,” and “Crawling Eye” are clear analogues to the films of the same respective names, however. “Living Hell” has a lot of zing to it, too.
The best songs — and this album is full of great songs — are “Them” (the movie of the same name) and “Descending Angel” (taken from Prophecy , starring Christopher Walken). “Them” has excellent lyrics and powerful vocal harmony that tells a scary tale of giant ants come to destroy Los Angeles — and the world! “Descending Angel,” while I thought Prophecy was half decent (the filmmakers screwed up their theology in the end; while Satan would be the opposite of Gabriel or, better still Michael, humans don’t escape Hell simply by rejecting the Devil), it’s got lots of melody, tight, crisp vocals, and this song has one of the best background choruses I’ve heard in years.
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