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The Haxans - Party Monsters

WREN   (342 reviews)

Posted: 09/26/2017 | Comments: 0 | Rate:

At the time of this review, it’s been over a year since I was first introduced to The Haxans via an Instragram follow after posting a photo of myself and Rob Zombie (and his band). The band features Matt Montgomery (aka Piggy D, bassist for Rob Zombie) on guitar and Ash Costello (New Year’s Day) on vocals. After that IG follow, I didn’t hear much from them other than occasional photo that looked like photo-shoots from a new version of The Munsters or The Addams Family. Music was promised soon. In April, news was released that their debut album, Party Monsters, would be released on October 13 and accompanying the news we got our first taste with the band in an acoustic cover of the Misfits, Vampira.

Well, October 13 is right around the corner and I have finally heard the album. On the surface this is a gothic alt-rock with hints of pop but is deeply rooted in nostalgia. The albums opener, Lights Out, is a pretty high octane rock lick that has a 50’s surf rock a go-go foundation and a chunky guitar riff. It’s an infectious opener that will induce more monkey and mashpotatoing in the crowd than moshing, which Costello and Montgomery are used to. The theme continues into the second song of the album, Young Blood. At track 3, The Haxans flip the script with Dirty Magic, which is a sleazy nod to the 80’s as I can picture a stripper scene in any cheesy 80’s action film having this playing in the background. The same can be said with Black Cat Bone, which reminds me of when Country artists first tried the mainstream rock thing back in the 80’s. The album livens back up in a cover of the “zombie version” of 45 Graves, Party Time (from the Return Of The Living Dead Soundtrack). It’s a pretty straight on cover from the original version. From there it’s back to the ghoulish surf rock from the start of the record in for the next two tracks. Skipping ahead, the highlight of the record is track 10’s, Slick Black Coffin. For me this falls somewhere between the 80’s dance of The Feint and the peppiness of The Start, but knowing Montgomery and Costello, it was probably inspired more by The Cure or New Order. The album concludes with the previously mentioned Vampira cover, which is a smoky acoustic version of the song that I could see Costello laying on the top of a piano in a martini lounge in the prohibition era while Montgomery plays the guitar in a zoot suit.

While I generally enjoy most of the record, there are two songs that I continuously skip over because I can just not get into them and, coincidentally, they are the only two modern sounding songs on the album in Professional Weirdo and Boo!. Those two tracks are pretty straight forward Goth-rock songs that are more in vain of weaker Rob Zombie songs than anything else on this record. Modern goth doesn’t really do it for me and that’s why I just can’t latch onto these two particular tracks like the rest of them. They are missing the character.

Back to things I do like about this album, the production. This album sounds big. The guitars are thick, the bass is the rich, the drums are overproduced to make them sound huge, there are synths, weird sounds, and loops all lurking in the background throughout the entire record that really give it personality. Montgomery wears his influences on his sleeve and seems to have taken notes during his time with the Zombie crew when it comes to crafting songs, distortion choices, and production. This is my introduction to Ash Costello, as I’ve never listened to a single song by her other band, but she has some serious pipes and can add grit when the songs need it. I’m not entirely sure of how these two connected and decided to do a project together but it has been proven to be a solid idea for the both of them.

While this might not end up being a major project for either of these two, because of their other bands, but it should be a lot of fun while it lasts. I must say, in the future I hope they go more for The Cure like 80’s synth pop found on Slick Black Coffin and Bones (a Japanese bonus track) because I really think they hit their stride on those types of songs. This isn’t typically a style of music I lean towards at all but there must have been some of witch’s magic in the air because this won me over from the first listen. With the heavy handed Halloween theme in the lyrics, this will easily be revisited every October when I need a pick me up from wanting to kill myself from listening to too much Type O Negative.

*Note: I cannot comment on the track I Think Of Demons because the song would not load for me, even after multiple attempts.

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