Horror punk’s dead, undead, undead, undead

V/A: Horror Punk’s Not Dead! Vol. 1

Release year: 2022
Label: We Are Horror Records

Horror punk’s not dead – but should it be? The oddball genre, pioneered by seminal act The Misfits, has always been maligned and sneered at by fans of most other forms of punk rock. And, to be honest, it’s an easy genre to mock, considering large parts of it seem content with just emulating The Misfits – but of course, doing it just a bit worse.

The people at We Are Horror Records obviously don’t want to see it dead. Quite the contrary: with this collection, intended to be the first in a series, they offer to the listener a whopping 28 pieces of evidence for the fact that horror punk is indeed not dead – and should not be.

Let’s dig in, said the corpse molester by the graveside.

OK, first of all: yes, the shadow of The Misfits does loom heavily over this compilation. With a rough guesstimate, I’d say in about half of the tracks the obvious debt owed to the fathers or horror punk can be heard. Some are downright pastiches – somewhat amusingly, more of the later eras than the original Glenn Danzig era. Case in point: Silent Horror with Astrofiends. Evelyn’s Casket with the track Evelyn boldly add a bit of Danzig-stylings to their melodic Misfits-horror punk: a task set up for obvious failure, but these guys manage decently enough. Voice Of Doom, on the other hand, who open the compilation, go even for a slightly Danzig style sound (band, not man), with maybe a bit of a rocking Rob Zombie touch.

The compilation has unearhed plenty of tracks which take horror punk in other directions, too, which is definitely to the credit of the compilers. My Girlfriend’s A Zombie by The Tomb Tones starts out sounding like the poptastic psychobilly ballads of Tiger Army (the vocalist really sounds like Nick 13!) before going into a nicely swinging horror punk rock & roll groove. Ripsnorter kick things off with a riff that sounds almost like early 80’s UK oi! before mixing it up with some glenntastic vocal stylings. And speaking of oi!, Los Morts with Elm Street sound very much like 90’s Brazilian oi! – this one could have been on one of the Oi! Um Grito De Uniao compilations and nobody would have batted an eyelid.

Special mention goes to the rowdy, sleazy punk rock of Damage 66 – if for no other reason, then for the commendable and wholesome sentiment of ther track, Fuck You (If You’re Not Bruce Campbell). Indeed.

If you dislike horror punk with a passion, your bias will probably mean this compilation only confirms your prejudices. Yes, there’s a lot of The Misfits here, and a lot of the subject matter is a bit on the silly or goofy side, and whatever. But if you check your pre-formed opinions at the door, this compilation might surprise you positively. There’s a bit of psychobilly (though quite little slapped bass), elements from other eras and styles of punk, and more than a few genuinely good tracks.

I’ll admit I’m not the biggest fan of horror punk. Might strike you as odd, considering I am a huge psychobilly fan. But that’s just how it is. But, I digress: as such, I approached this compilation with some reservations – which were rather swiftly dispelled. Presenting the listener with 28 specimens from the murky depths of the horror punk underground, Horror Punk’s Not Dead! Vol. 1 makes a convincing case. Horror punk truly isn’t dead – and in the year of 2022, it’s a far more diverse genre than often given credit for.

Check out the compilation on the label’s Bandcamp and visit their Facebook

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