Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell: Social Distortion

Rating: 90%

Social_Distortion_-_Somewhere_Between_Heaven_and_Hell_cover1992 was the year that “Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell” by Social D was released. The album features some very talented musicians. The musicianship is incredible. Lead vocalist and lead guitarist Mike Ness whose voice is whiskey drench sings the blues or country and punk as if those genres were created for him. His leads and riffs are so precise. Rhythm guitarist Dennis Danell throws out such good riffs. He actually compliments Mike Ness’s style. Plenty of great bass by John Maurer. The drum lines by Christopher Reece are wonderfully done.

Musically, this album is rock solid from start to finish. It flows very well. The influences from Punk, Country, Blues, Rock n’ Roll, and Rockabilly are  so balanced. It’s heavy, but it could be played on any radio station no matter the genre. It’s very energetic and powerful. Everything in so in tuned here from the melodies to the harmony of the instruments to the vocals.

Track listing:

“Cold Feelings” – 3:31
“Bad Luck” – 4:26
“Making Believe” (Jimmy Work) – 4:12
“Born to Lose” – 4:09
“Bye Bye Baby” – 3:06
“When She Begins” – 5:04
“99 to Life” – 4:28
“King of Fools” (W.E. Bruce) – 2:50
“Sometimes I Do” – 4:01
“This Time Darlin’ ” – 4:08
“Ghost Town Blues” – 4:38

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Hell, Sweet Hell: The Hellfreaks

Rating: 80%

r-3639021-1338405574-1039-jpegIn 2010, Hungarian band the Hellfreaks released their debut record called “Hell, Sweet Hell.” This is their attempt at Psychobilly and Horror Punk. For the most part, their aim is pretty good. The music is enjoyable and sounds like the HorrorPops meets Hank III and Rev. Horton Heat.

The album credits as far as the musicians are concern, you have vocalist Shakey Sue, guitarist Freaky Tiki, bassist Bloody Holly, stand up bassist Kevin Crime, and drummers Willy Cruel and Sick Rick.  The musicianship is very good.

Musically, there’s lot’s of harmony, lot’s of great melodies. The stand up bass is excellent. I love hearing the rap-pa-tap- of the bass. With regards to the guitars, there’s lot’s of fast riffs, and some good lead solos. There’s a lot of good tempos being set by the drummer and I love hearing that double bass. The female vocals are OK. For Punk music they are right on. Shakey Sue’s voice is very whiny and Pop sounding. Their evil sounding and that balances things out.

3714d51964b8453db5ef75e2b90fbc73Highlights on this album include, “Queen Of The Psycho Scene”, “Boogieman” and “Psycho Wrecking Tonight.”

 

Track listing:

Intro
Go Go Hellfreaks
Hell Sweet Hell
If I Die Today
Boogieman
Living Dead Cat
Paperweight
Mr Dead Kiss
Sick Soul
Queen Of The Psycho Scene
Psycho Wrecking Tonight
We Prefer
Horrorshow
Outro

Hell Yeah!: HorrorPops

Rating: 90%

Hell_Yeah!.jpgThe HorrorPops is a great band that mixes the 1950’s Rockabilly with 1970’s Punk music. It then blends some of the surf music into it’s sound. It’s almost as if Elvis meets the Misfits and the Cramps. The band is led by Patricia Day on upright bass and lead vocals, guitarist Karsten and drummer Niedermeier.

There are several tracks on this album that are good. This is an enjoyable album to listen to. The musicianship is just breath taking. Lot’s of great vocals by Patricia Day. Man, she has plenty of range with her gritty style of vocals. The chorus lines are just as amazing with the harmony of the band itself. Lot’s of great guitar riffs and leads. The drumming is really good.

The overall sound is what makes this band so good. It’s not polished enough to ruin their sound, but it’s crisp and clean. Although, nothing explosive, meaning no overly distorted guitars, you can almost feel the influences of the Misfits, the Cramps, and No Doubt. Plenty of energy and power within the band and their music. It’s good to see that this Danish band has taken the old traditional sounds of America and England to create their own blend on Punk and Psychobilly music. High points of this record include, “Psychobitches Outta Hell”, “Horrorbeach”, “Miss Take”, and “Ghouls.”

Track Listing:

“Julia” – 2:45
“Drama Queen” – 2:22
“Ghouls”  – 2:06
“Girl in a Cage” – 2:58
“Miss Take” – 3:58
“Where They Wander” – 3:00
“Kool Flattop”– 3:09
“Psychobitches Outta Hell” – 3:12
“Dotted With Hearts” – 3:53
“Baby Lou Tattoo” – 3:11
“What’s Under My Bed” – 3:15
“Emotional Abuse”– 3:21
“Horrorbeach” – 2:52

Run For Your Life: The Creepshow

Rating: 85%

61F27Hflq6LCanadian Psychobilly band the Creepshow released their second record “Run for Your Life” in 2008. After the departure of Jen “Hellcat” Blackwood on vocals and guitar, the band hired Sarah “Sin” Blackwood as her replacement. The rest of the band consisted of Sean “Sickboy” McNab playing the upright bass, keyboardist Paul “The Reverend” McGinty and drummer Matt “Pomade” Gee.

The production work in the final product is good. Not much background noise in the production. Musically, this record is very strong, solid, with catchy riffs and toe tapping rhythms. The musicianship is top notch.  The keyboards, bass, and drums work well with good tempos, and good upbeats. Not a lot of filler on this record, but good ol’ fashion rockabilly running on steroids, with punk thrown in.

The upright bass work of McNab is thunderous as he slaps those strings and lets his fingers dance up and down the bass neck. Blackwood’s guitar work is very impressive. Lots of good leads and good licks. Her chord work and scales are tight. Vocally, Sarah Blackwood’s vocals are strong, crisp, and the harmony with the male background vocalists is out of this world. Lyrically the verses and chorus lines are dark. Gee’s drumming is classy. McGinty’s keys are not overwhelming and adds to the sound of the music that is refreshing and enlightening.

Track listing:

“The Sermon II” (0:55)
“Rue Morgue Radio” (2:43)
“Demon Lover” (3:14)
“Run for Your Life” (3:53)
“Buried Alive” (3:01)
“Take My Hand” (2:09)
“You’ll Come Crawlin’ ” (3:27)
“Dearly Departed” (2:35)
“Rock ‘n’ Roll Sweetheart” (2:51)
“Long Way Down” (3:26)
“Pet Sematary” (Ramones bonus track)

Psychobilly Music

One genre of Punk music I like is called Psychobilly. Psychobilly mixes elements of punk rock, rock and roll, rockabilly, and rhythm and blues together. Hearing the music of Psychobilly and Rockabilly one may not hear a difference, but if you were to see the groups live, then you’ll realize very quickly, that Psychobilly is not the classic Johnny Cash or Carl Perkins of the 1950’s. One feature of Psychobilly that stands out is the darker lyrical theme, while the musicians play the hallow body guitar and the stand up bass.

The Cramps are considered the forerunners of creating Psychobilly music in the mid to late 1970’s, although; the Misfits American Nightmare is also considered the beginning. However, UK’s the Meteors are given credit for being the first band to write musical and lyrical themes that included horror, punk and rockabilly. This was during the first wave of Psychobilly that began in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. The Second wave began in the mid 1980’s and the third wave began in the mid 1990’s.

Some of my favorite Psychobilly bands are:

  1. Horrorpops
  2. Rev. Horton Heat
  3. Big John Bates
  4. The Creepshow
  5. The Cramps
  6. The Hangmen
  7. Zombie Ghost Train
  8. Tiger Army
  9. Hank3