The Misfits - American Psycho (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

The Misfits

American Psycho (1997)

Geffen Records

Of the punk albums to be released in 1997 The Misfits’ American Psycho was probably one of the most underrated. This being the band’s first release since they broke up in 1983 and after years of court battles would also prove to be one of the most controversial. It was also their first record where the band really broke out into the mainstream (by getting some music videos on MTV) and most importantly it was their first record without Glenn Danzig on lead vocals making it ground zero for loyal Misfits fans to beg the now twenty year old question, “Is this really The Misfits without Danzig singing?” Looking back that seems to be the mistake the band made. With the line up consisting of Michale Graves on lead vocals, Doyle Von Frankenstein on guitar, Jerry Only on bass and Dr. Chud on drums they should have named themselves something else and still covered Misfits tunes. Despite that major error and all of the other drama behind the scenes, this line up of The Misfits wrote a really great horror-punk record.

Fans that said that this album was not really a Misfits record only because Danzig wasn’t singing sort of cut the argument short. Today it is a little stale, but still valid nonetheless. American Psycho sounded nothing like the original Misfits and that’s what makes it fantastic. The band was smart enough not to try to do the same thing that they did in 80’s and instead modernized their sound, but still keeping their horror punk theme. The change was pretty drastic when compared to the Danzig-era material. The production was definitely of higher quality and in punk rock that can either be acceptable or it can backfire completely. The Misfits just barely missed overproducing this album. Everything from the vocals to the guitar and the drums was very crisp sounding. One of the reasons for this very well could have been because they went in more of a metal direction especially when it came riffs in “The Shining” and the blasting drums and crunchy guitar in “Mars Attacks.“ But the most blatant change was the lead vocals. While Danzig could masterfully change from melody to yelling and back and doing both equally well in one song. Michale Graves really only stuck to doing what he could do well, which was melody especially in tracks like “From Hell They Came” and “Don’t Open ’Til Doomsday.”

Keeping the horror-punk theme (the band’s main selling point) was crucial for this incarnation of the The Misfits. Otherwise what would be the point? The lyrics were not as brutal as some of the lines in tracks such as “Skulls” or “Hybrid Moments” (and perhaps campy-er), but lines like, “Inside a wall street mind a psycho lurks/Lines of cocaine cut in hell/Obsessive hands gently grab your neck/Compulsively you’ll die…I hate people” showed that at least in this respect the band stuck to their roots.

Unfortunately, this new sound that this version of The Misfits switched to on American Psycho would be the Pandora’s box that unleashed several mediocre releases that would follow later on. This was the record though where this version of the band made it work really well — at least for a while. Though it still doesn’t compare to the original line up’s material, American Psycho was definitely the best of the Danzig-less Misfits.