New Music Review: Nekromantix What Happens in Hell
One might expect a band that’s been around as long as the Nekromantix to slow down the pace. They haven’t. With What Happens in Hell, Stays in Hell, the trio, fronted by punk legend Kim Nekroman, are still serving fast, in your face, fresh out of the grave, psychobilly tracks.
Songs like “Bats in My Pants” and “NekroTastic Extasy” echo 2007’s Life is a Grave and I Dig It in a good way. Never stop raging, hard from hell. The latter song thrashes forward, sent home with an unrelenting guitar solo.
Highlights of the album include the band’s groovy gothic anthems. “Crazy” is a song all you rock and roll weirdos can relate to: “They give me medicine to keep me calm/afraid my head will explode like a nuclear bomb.” Close your eyes, sigh, you’re a freak. Love it. I am too.
“I Kissed a Ghoul” offers a chilling retelling of Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl,” with the hook, “I kissed a ghoul and I liked it/I kind of liked the bitter taste of her rotten lips/I kissed a ghoul I won’t deny it/I hope my girlfriend won’t find out…” The Nekromantix version is the superior song, boasting folk tale story telling and a touch of Poe.
What Happens in Hell though pales in comparison to the band’s legendary Return of the Loving Dead. While they keep up the grueling pace, the Nekromantix don’t deliver instant psychobilly classics like “Nice Day for a Resurrection” and “Gargoyles Over Copenhagen.” And nothing on the new album can compete lyrically with the evil, sinister masterpiece, “Who Killed the Cheerleader.”
It seems strange that Kim Nekroman doesn’t push his poetry and instead only pushes his speed.
Perhaps lyrics like, “I have sinned, I’ve even seen the devil smile…Doing my own thing makes it all worthwhile,” on the title track make the album succeed in a certain way. At its best, What Happens in Hell is an album of defiance, one for the die hard fans. Not released to impress anybody new. Sticking it to all the fuckers in the mainstream. Rocking in the cemetery muck.
And there are advances. The proof of progress lies in the subtle lead guitar riffs that play off the vocals, all but drowned out by the pounding drums. If you listen closely, you’ll hear it, like tortured whispers from the grave.
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