October 04, 2011 - Misfits
Dead kings rise? That's debatable. Striving to keep the legacy that is iconic horror-punk brigade Misfits alive for longer than their initial reign, bassist/sole original member—and now vocalist—Jerry Only has finally pushed cohorts Dez Cadena (guitar) and Eric Arce (drums) into the studio for their first album of new material in about a decade. To be fair, 1997’s American Psycho and 1999’s Famous Monsters proved that Only is a solid songwriter even without Danzig's somber hand. The sinewy guitar progressions and coupling of cryptic lyrics with floating melodies on The Devil's Rain is admirable and occasionally infectious. Moreover, production values on these straight-to-the-point punk songs mimic the aforementioned releases, giving these 16 tracks brightness and color. That said, this is far from a classic release.
An overabundance of half-time pacing has all but eliminated the hard, aggressive edge Misfits were once revered for, but that’s not the biggest problem. Point blank: Only is a crooner; a throaty singer worthy of Rat Pack or Damned tribute albums. He's nowhere near maintaining the dark grit, ferocious gusto or guttural severity Misfits songs require. Instead, he sounds like he’s trying way too hard for something that should come naturally, thereby turning potentially catchy tunes into something akin to those albums when Tom Jones and William Shatner tried to be metal. It's just kind of goofy.
The Devil's Rain yields little more than incredible frustration, a mixed bag witih some great tunes worthy of inclusion in Misfits' second generation yet sorely lacking in primeval vitality. While the band’s heritage has been hanging on by a thread for decades, The Devil's Rain is but an undercharged defibrillator to its decomposing corpse.