CD Review of Fang Bang by Wednesday 13

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Fang Bang
starstarstarstarno star Label: Rykodisc
Released: 2006
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Sometimes just looking at the cover and packaging of a CD can give you a bad feeling. Between the hot-topic glamour shots covering the liner-notes, excessive use of the punk ransom-note font, and the vertigo-inducing cover art, you might not have high hopes for Fang Bang, the latest release from horror-obsessed punk rocker Wednesday 13. The pun-filled track listing, featuring song titles like “Morgue than Words” and “Happily Ever Cadaver,” doesn’t help matters much, either. However, unlike many of his compatriots, Wednesday 13 gets the joke, and if you can look past the stupidity of it all, there’s a lot of fun to be had here.

Wednesday 13 is best-known to metal heads as the lead singer of the Static-X/Slipknot collaboration Murderdolls (another warning to the potential-awfulness of this album). Before that he was in the hilariously-named Frankenstein Drag Queens from Planet 13, and as that name clearly shows, this is one leather-clad gothic menace that doesn’t take himself very seriously. That’s probably for the best, because 13 tracks about how the devil kicks ass, serial killers rule and how marriage is worse than death would probably get old fast if he did.

Fang Bang sure as hell kicks off with a bang, with the opening track “Morgue than Words” setting the tone for the entire album with its equal parts horror-rock, old-school punk and glam metal. It’s the Ramones by way of Transylvania, with a quick stop in L.A. for some hairspray. Filled with grotesquely funny lyrics like “You had such beautiful eyes / It’s hard to tell now they’re covered in flies,” it’s the funniest teenage death song since “Last Kiss” (oh wait, that was supposed to be serious?)

A good deal of the songs on Fang Bang are directly inspired by the horror flicks that Wednesday 13 no doubt watches religiously. The party-metal throwback “American Werewolves in London” praises the highlife of being a hairy mass murderer, such as rioting in Piccadilly tearing innocent victims apart “piece by piece, limb by limb.” Sadly, much like the movie that inspired it, not once is the original European Lycanthrope anthem, Warren Zevon’s hit “Werewolves of London,” mentioned.

Another tribute to the horror films of Wednesday’s youth is “Haddonfield” which, as most of you slasher fans out there know, is the hometown of “Halloween’s” Michael Myers. “Haddonfield” isn’t exactly well written or even that original (it’s pretty much just retelling the entire story of the first “Halloween” film), but it’s catchy and a lot of fun. Wednesday sides with Myers in “Haddonfield” and he continues his role as cheerleader for undead slashers with “Till Death Do Us Party,” an ode to the mother of all slasher flicks “Friday The 13th” that is written from the point of view of the drug-fueled, sex-crazed teenagers who always end up on the wrong end of Jason’s machete, axe, hammer, dagger, etc. As he roots for Jason to kill them all, he feels contempt for the dumb boner-fueled retards that always seem to end up at Crystal Lake; they beg for Jason to “kill them please” as they bring the pot but “leave our brains at the door.”

When Wednesday 13 isn’t waxing nostalgic on horror films, he’s screaming about the real horrors of the world, such as shitty girlfriends and running out of booze. “Too Much Blood” is a slamming collision of Andrew W.K. cock rock and loud and snotty Sex Pistols’-era punk about not getting drunk enough, and “Buried with Children” (a song that is far better than its punny title) shows what Wednesday 13 really thinks is pure evil – a committed relationship.

Wednesday 13 may appear to be nothing more than a wannabe Marylyn Manson (or Alice Cooper – depending on what decade you were born in) but unlike the many that have taken that dark, blood-paved road before, he actually lets you know that it’s okay to laugh at it, and in the process makes sure no one laughs at him. Even with many of the songs directly inspired by “Halloween” and other horror mainstays, this is one terror-filled rocker that sounds just as good in the middle of summer as it does on October 31st.

~James B. Eldred