The Misfits - American Psycho (Cover Artwork)

The Misfits

American Psycho (1997)

geffen records

To give American Psycho the ongoing benefit of the doubt, I have reviewed the record at face value, not by comparison to other releases, or the bands history. So Danzig comparisons aside, let us continue this trip down Misfits memory lane.

The Graves era Misfits is a controversial subject among those involved in the punk rock subculture. In the 90’s, Misfits bassist (and only ongoing member throughout every incarnation of the band) Jerry Only had recently resolved a legal dispute with original vocalist Glenn Danzig in order to legally use The Misfits name going forward. New Jersey native Michale Graves was brought on board following an audition, who previously had been unaware of the bands past catalogue, Graves learned the necessary songs to complete the audition at the last minute. In hindsight this may have worked well, as the band was able to start this new chapter with a relatively clean creative slate as far as the vocals are concerned. Many fans disregard this period of the band in its entirety, but for those of us, myself included, who were not teenagers in the 70’s or 80’s, this version of The Misfits may have been many young punk rock fans introduction to the band. Without American Psycho I may have missed getting into this legendary band all together.

American Psycho is a solid stand alone record, and the first release without original vocalist Danzig. The album moves between original Misfits gothic styled hardcore and hook laden pop oriented choruses. Musically the band could find itself appealing to anyone from hardcore kids to pop punk fans and everyone in between, with the exception of OG line up purists of course. The band definitely kicked it up a notch in the novelty horror department during this period, which undeniably adds a cheesiness factor to this era of the band, but it isn’t totally without its charm, although the branding power does seem a little bit shameless as an adult listener. The campy antics of the Graves era Misfits set the stage for many more horror focused bands to come (Okay, that may or may not be a good thing, but lets go with it).

The songs here are well written and cohesive, the album flows nicely from start to finish with few breaks for filler. The song “Dig up her bones” was an undeniable hit at the time that has aged well in the following decades. Vocalist Michale Graves has a strong vocal range that suits the band well, and while he is not Danzig, as far as choosing a replacement for such a prolific front man, the band made a good choice. The anthemic style of the songs has aged well, and Graves moves gracefully from hoarse yelling to melodic crooning without any difficulty.

American Psycho is a record that will continue to be a conversational hand grenade among Misfits fans for years to come. Whether you love it or hate it, objectively, the band produced a successful and well-crafted 90’s punk rock record. The aesthetic kept the campy horror vibes alive, and was well matched by catchy and memorable choruses and hard-hitting guitar riffs. While we lost some of the bands initial substance a long the way, specifically in the lyrics department, the hooks in "American Psycho", "The Haunting" and "Dig Up Her Bones" live on. Despite the fact that American Psycho is most definitely not Walk Among us, and yes Jerry may have just been in it for the money; American Psycho earned its place in the bands discography by pulling in a new generation of fans.