Wednesday, 1 May 2013

'Tales That Start With A Whisper' - A Review

A brilliant show called Metal Evolution did an interview with Dave Mustaine, asking the Megadeth guitarist and vocalist if he still considered his band to be a 'thrash metal' band. Mustaine's reply was in the affirmative. Megadeth are a thrash metal band, he said, but we're also so much more.

The Thirteen Shots are a horror punk band. But they are so much more. Rising from the darkness to give the ancient genre of horror punk a kick up the skeletal backside, their d├ębut album, Vaudeville, gained rave reviews from all corners of the alternative music scene, including the legend that is Michale Graves (and if you don't know who he is, leave the hall. Now!).
A year later, The Thirteen Shots have released their follow-up to the 8-track attack that was Vaudeville, beautifully titled Tales That Start With a Whisper. It's a brilliant album. It's a horror punk album. And it's so much more...

The opening track, 'Death Jam 2000', kicks off with hoards of cheering fans and a grand announcement, before the music kicks off. It's a seriously catchy song, combining horror punk with 1960's rock and roll, and dare I say it, the tiniest hint of heavy metal. A fast-paced rocker that is short in length and directly acknowledges the band itself – We could be talking 'Death Jam 2000' or 'We Are Motorhead' here. Izzy's guitar really powers this tune, with a delicious driving riff. The Thirteen Shots grab you by the balls from track 1, and they don't let go!

'Zombies From The USSR' is a bonkers tune, the catchy garage-rock music backed up with some splendidly silly lyrics. It was a good choice as the album's big single, and the music video that accompanies it is brilliant too. Let's face it, we all love zombies, don't we?

'Bewitched' is a straight-up horror punk song, with a heavy bass sound courtesy of 'GMT', and frantic drumming from the ever-brilliant Chelsea. The riff, the chorus, and Johnny Rose's howling vocals invoke classic Blitzkid, with a nice Thirteen Shots twist, and a haunting dose of Gothic. 'Bewitched' is definitely a stand-out song for me, and belongs in any essential horror punk play-list.

'Psycho Jukebox' kicks things up a notch, returning to the cheeky, tongue-in-cheek swinging grooves of some of the Thirteen Shots' earlier work, combing swinging garage-rock, rock and roll, and even a dose of indie! This song should be played in every horror-punk and Goth club, at every Halloween party and event, so catchy and upbeat is it. This is the sound of a band who are having a blast, and you're invited along to their insane shenanigans! A song to dance to, and maybe kill to, as well!

'Get In My Crypt' has a heavy main riff that instantly brings to mine Graves-era Misfits...and then it all goes crazy. Just when you think you have a handle on the record, it throws you in a totally different direction. Heavier than 'Psycho Jukebox', but less melancholy than 'Bewitched', 'Get In My Crypt' is an ode to living it up on the dark side. Paying tribute to Zombina, Dracula, Zombies and all things that go bump in the night, this is a battle-cry for Horror Punks everywhere. The song also has a KILLER guitar solo, and delightful backing-vocals, and it's a wonder how any band could pack so much into two minutes and thirty-four seconds. But they pull it off admirably. Another stand-out track, another one for that 'Essential Horror Punk Play-List' I was talking about earlier.

'Nekro-Sexual' is groovy, groovy song. The lyrics are hilarious, and Johnny Rose is once again on fire here. Riffs, solos, pounding drums, and bone-shaking bass, 'Nekro-Sexual's cry of “Stomp on my balls!” will lodge itself into your head, and you will humming the tune for weeks. This album really does lay it on heavy, all killer, no filler. Fast songs, slower songs, heavy songs, softer songs, but the variety really brings it to life. Or un-life. Or [INSERT UN-DEAD PUN HERE]. You know what I mean.

I have been reviewing this album in track-list order. The final studio track of the album, 'Tales That Start With A Whisper', is more than just a beautiful title. The catchy riff (this album is chock-full of them), the Wednesday 13-esque tongue-in-cheek lyrics, the fist-pumping chorus...As you listen to the album, you choose a favourite song. And then you hear another, and you change your mind. And then you reach the end of the record and hear the title track, and you realise that the awesomeness never ends. A glorious song about the state of Vampires today, a serious issue for us proper horror fans, 'Tales That Start With A Whisper' is simply incredible. As mentioned earlier, Johnny Rose is letting out his inner Wednesday 13 where the lyrics are concerned (“They're horny old men searching for a fuck!”), but although the Thirteen Shots' influences are clear, they have their own identity, an identity that has evolved through the course of two brilliant albums and endless touring. 'Tales That Start With A Whisper', the song and the album, is a clear statement of who the Thirteen Shots are. Talented, original, and full of surprises, and more than capable of creating a record that never disappoints.

'Tales The Start With A Whisper' is a must-buy for any serious horror-punk fan, any metalhead with a love for horror, anyone really who is looking for a good time. Lyrically fantastic, musically flawless, and vocally deranged, this is one record you will want to take with you to the grave. In an age where horror punk has become rather stale and predictable, the Thirteen Shots have injected new life into this Frankenstein Monster of a genre.

The Thirteen Shots are a horror punk band. But my God, they are so much more!

- Death Jam 2000
- Bewitched
- Get In My Crypt
- Nekro-Sexual
-Tales That Start With A Whisper

Johnny Rose – Vocals
Izzy – Guitar/Backing Vocals
GMT – Bass
Chelsea - Drums

Raizing Hell, The Misfits, Wednesday 13, Astrovamps, Blitzkid, The Creepshow

For more from the Thirteen Shots: