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The Misfits: Collection IICollection II (1995)
Reviewer Rating: 4.5
Due to the shocking lack of Misfits reviews on this site I figured I'd write one for this collection, which should be used by newcomers to get into one of the greatest bands I've ever heard.
This CD was compiled by Glenn Danzig himself, so the cuts that make it here are quality.
The record starts with the genius that is 'We Are 138'. I could talk about this song all day, I shit ye not. Whilst people I've forced it on say things like 'it's just three chords over and over and the guitar solo's stupid and the lyrics are stupid and the ending is sloppy', they are wrong. This song is fast, the chords suit the song fine, the bass is audible and whatever the fuck is making the noise in the background entertains me just as much as lines like 'is it time to be an android not a man?'. Put simply, this is the shit. With the lyrics based vaguely around the plot of an early George Lucas film about robots not being allowed to have any emotion, the song bares very little relevance to real life and confuses just about anyone who isn't into the band. This makes it even more amazing. The guitar solo is amazingly funny, and I'd even go as far as calling it good, and the fact that they get away with playing two notes over and over in a time when idiots like Jimmy Page were playing fast and technical guitar solos makes me love this band all the more. This is the opening track on 'Static Age', the first Misfits records and Glenn's vocals let you know whats going down from here onwards. The crazed drawl is present, as are the yells at the end of the track. If I'd been picking the tracks for this collection, 'We Are 138' would have been in it at least twelve times.
The next track is 'Attitude'. I have to make a confession here. Yes, I love this band, and even love their more recent efforts depite the god that is Glenn Danzig not being present (hell, I love Samhain and Danzig too), but given that this song is at the start of the album, next to absolute classics like 'Last Caress', it seems a bit lacking. The lyrics are violent, but not weird. There's no talk of killing babies or creeping through the streets at night or anything. Don't get me wrong, it's still a great song and it beats the crap out of the new Nofx album, but I don't think it should have been on this cd.
If it was up to me, I would have 'Die Die My Darling' on here instead of 'Attitude'. The absence of this song badly marrs this cd. If it had been on here, this album might as well be a classic in it's own right, but it's not so it isn't. I'll tell you now, either download that song or buy 'Earth AD' just for it. Everything about is brilliant, in the same way that 'We Are 138' is.
The next track is 'Cough-Cool', and this is just fucking weird. Glenn tells us of prowling New York coughing up blood from having tuberculosis and just generally other crazy stuff. It's great, but it's much slower than your typical Misfits song. Still, it's good and worthy of being on here.
Fourth up is 'Last Caress'. This is on a par with the opening track. I love it. 'I got something to say!' Oh right Glenn, what could that possibly be? 'I killed yo' baby today an' it doesn't matter much to me, as long as it's dead!'. If you haven't worked it out by now, this man is a god. The fact that he appears to have not aged in 20 years further proves this claim. This song covers all the bases 'We Are 138' misses, it's uber catchy, using the same chord pattern as 'Blitzkrieg Bop' by the Ramones and the melody is as sweet as the lyrics are sick. Yes, there's talk of spreading your mother, yes, he feels the need to tell us about his baby killing more than once (the second time being the highlight of the song) and yes this is probably the best song you'll ever hear if you don't ever listen to 'We Are 138'.
Following this classic are 'Return Of The Fly' and 'Children In Heat'. The former is a trademark Misfits song, name checking horror movie legends and accusing us of being guinea pigs with human hands and feet. This is weirdness at it's best. The music stumbles along like an old man about to hack your leg off at the start of the song and by the time the 'Oo-oo-oo-oo!' backing vocals have kicked in, the song is over, you're in love and you're buying the band's back catalogue off of the internet. 'Children In Heat' assaults you following the relative calm of 'Return Of The Fly' with rough guitar and Glenn's most abbrasive voice. The lyrics talk about 'cellophane sex' and let's face it, children in heat. This song has 99% convinced me to change my name to Chicago.
I have absolutely idea what's up with 'Ratt Fink', but I do advise getting a buddy and walking through your town yelling it out at the top of your lungs. This is also top quality stuff.
After this are three typical Misfits songs, 'Horror Hotel', 'Halloween' and 'Halloween II'. The first of these is fast paced and has a great lead in to a killer chorus with 'say something, say something, you wanna start something with me?!'. 'Halloween' is a classic, covered by the also wondrous AFI back when they were in their prime, full of talk about 'dead cats hanging from poles'. If you wanna hear a direct link from this to modern music, check out the AFI song 'Fall Children', cause if that's not their take on this, I have no idea what is (apart from maybe their cover of this, but shush). 'Halloween II' is odd. Featuring Glenn yelling at us in latin about werewolves hiding in trees over a slowed down version of Halloween, it's a pointer to his work to come, for example the end of the Danzig track 'Godless'. Check it out; you'll see what I mean.
'Hatebreeders' is fun, I was genuinely surprised by the sound of the drums on this track; they sound really solid. The subject matter for 'Brain Eaters' is self-explanatory, whilst the music leans towards a more Oi! sound. The lyrics are fantastic.
'Nike-A-Go-Go' is great stuff, nothing extraordinary, but again, it beats most of the stuff being done today. 'Devil's Whorehouse' is also stellar, if only for the subject matter alone.
'Mephisto Waltz' is as good as most of the other songs, but I was a bit annoyed to find out that this isn't really the Misfits, it's just Glenn and Eerie Von playing a song that Jerry and the gang were too shitty to play. Well, that's what Glenn says, and seeing as it's his compilation and he's far more likely to come fuck me up than Jerry is, I'll agree with him.
'We Bite' is a classic. Overlooked by many, this is a late boost to the album, the shouts of 'WE BITE!' are great and the melody in the verse is catchy. Another success for the Misfits then, catchy and lyrically disturbing/funny.
'Queen Wasp' is fast punk rock about some wasps attacking something. 'Demonomania' is a hard-to-say, hard-to-sing violent burst of insanity. AFI tried to cover this and in my opinion, failed. This is decent, but only in terms of it's self.
'Hellhound' is good, but it sounds a little too together for my liking. The closing track 'Bloodfeast' starts off well. It's probably the weirdest song Glenn wrote for the Misfits. The music is suitably unsettling, with a keyboard or something in the mix. However. There is one huge flaw with this song. The backing vocals. They aren't rousing, inspiring, threatening or even remotely good. I don't know whether they're meant to sound spooky or what, and I like the song other than this, but the backing vocals really do ruin it for me.
On the whole, this is a great CD. Many of the early classics are here and it's a decent representation of the Danzig years of this band. If it wasn't for the backing vocals on ‘Bloodfeast’ and the choice of other songs above 'Die Die My Darling' or 'Skulls', I'd give this a straight-up ten. But nay. This gets a nine. These might be Glenn's favourite songs from this era, but I'm telling you, 'Hellhound' isn't better than a song telling your girlfriend that her future's in an oblong box. If you're new to the band, then get this.
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