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The Misfits: Famous MonstersFamous Monsters (1999)
Reviewer Rating: 3.5
Okay, let me just say a couple of things. This is a Misfits review. It's of a record without Glenn Danzig, but that doesn't mean we should just dismiss it. Lots of bands don't have Glenn Danzig in, but I bet you still like them, right? Good examples of this include Guns n' Roses, Bad Religion and Mozart. So, no, he's not in it, but that doesn't mean it automatically blows. However, because I'm bored, I will include a 'Glenn-o-meter' which will keep you up to speed with what would be happening on this record if Glenn had been involved.
This review won't be as in depth as my review of the Collection II record because that took ages and I'm not quite as inspired by this as I was by the songs on that. Anyway, the record opens with an instrumental called 'Kong At The Gates'. Basically, there's some drums which are meant to be King Kong attacking some random fortress. So far so pointless.
'The Forbidden Zone' gets things going nicely enough, and carry on from where 'American Psycho' left off, giving us a beefier guitar sound, which may or may not have something to do with this record being on Roadrunner.
'Lost In Space' keeps up the momentum, with a great chorus and verses telling us of giant spiders and other strange things. Word has it that Jerry wrote this to be included in the movie of the same name, but it wasn't, so it ended up here. Even so, it's a decent song.
The next song is 'Dust To Dust', which is a great tune about electrecuting yourself and members of your family. It'd good stuff, riffy, like metal, and not so much punk, but I like it anyway. You gotta give this stuff a chance, y'know?.
'The Crawling Eye' and 'Witch Hunt' aren't shocking, but they're not particularly memorable, but they do lead us onto the single, 'Scream!'. The video for this is so damn cool. This is a turning point for the album. Opening with a mean guitar line, followed by 'whoas' then launching into a stomping song that seems to be about making some victim scream a whole bunch. It's good stuff. Jerry and Doyle have got Michael Graves in to do lead vocals, and his voice suits the style of the music, melancholy but still powerful. This is a great song on it's own, let alone the album.
'Saturday Night' is a hilarious song in a ballad format about killing your girlfriend and then remembering you had something more to say (Glenn-o-meter: It was most likely about you killing her baby) before she died, and walking round town missing her. It's fun to sing along to, and gives the album some contrast.
'Pumpkin Head' and 'Scarecrow Man' are straightforward enough and are both funny and good at the same time. 'Pumpkin Head' has a great chorus, and the story told in the lyrics is a great one. 'Scarecrow Man' is about being a scarecrow, sneaking into town at night and eating people. Simple but great, although it does quote the Wizard of Oz at the start ('How 'bout a lil fire, scarecrow?'). Still it's all gravy, and these are two great songs.
There are two other noteworthy tracks on this album, and whilst the other songs aren't terrible, they weren't quite up to scratch with my expectations. However, 'Descending Angel' is a really good song, about, surprisingly, descending angels. The 'whoa-oh-oh-ohs' in the chorus are fantastic, and there's a nifty little solo, proving that Doyle isn't such a fucktard on guitar. Michael's voice is on form here and isn't dominating the music; the drums and guitar are still at the forefront of the sound.
The last above average song on this album is 'Helena'. Based around the film 'Boxing Helena', it's about cutting up the woman you love for some reason I can't quite grasp. Anyway, the main lyric, 'if I cut off your arms and I cut off your legs, would you still love me anyway?' is as shocking to strangers as it is entertaining to fans. When the tempo picks up, the song turns from a slow, stomping pledge into some crazy psycho ballad. It's nothing short of fantastic, and whilst it's closer to metal than it is to the punk of Misfits yesteryear, it's still amazing. They should have ended the album on this song, it would have left a better mark than the stupid King Kong outro they used.
In conclusion, this is an above average rock album, and a pretty tame Misfits album. It's best songs are brilliant, and should be remembered, but there's way too much filler on this record for it to go down as a classic.
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