The term ‘Horror Punk’ was coined during the early years of the Misfits and The Damned, eventually it became a genre of its own; a style of punk churned together with camp lyrics and interspersed with a horror-themed aesthetic that grounded itself during the late ’70s and the ’80s due to the spread of cheap/low-budget horror films and a keen interest in all things spooky/schlocky at the time. Several bands hold the torch high for this genre, keeping its eerie black light burning bright and much like the horror films of those decades, Wednesday 13 has been equally prolific and popular (just like zombies).
When you listen to any of Wednesday 13’s works, you can immediately tell the musician (real name Joseph Poole) lived off whatever spooky bits and pieces he could scavenge for, but always remained a gore glutton. Having produced a steady output of content over the years and true to his roots, he remains as hilariously gruesome as always; his latest product ‘Condolences’ is an album in the same corrupt vein of corny creepiness fit for the lead ghoul.
‘Condolences’ (released through German record label Nuclear Blast) fires off with “What the Night Brings” a macabre and cheesy track, or in other words: what any fan has come to expect and want from a Wednesday 13 album, replete with howling guitars, hammering drums and screechy vocals; a very ‘Transylvania 90210’-era sounding track.
“Blood Sick” cranks up the volume with high-tuned guitar playing that matches the pitch of the vocals. ‘Condolences’ features less screeching than previous albums, but still carries the signature vocal style that fans love. “Blood Sick” is an infectious track, like West Nile fever except without the crippling vomiting and brain inflammation.
“Good Riddance” is a direct sneer at previous regrets and resentments, with a more drum-driven beat than other tracks on the album.
“You Breathe, I Kill” is a medium-paced track with plenty of punch and violent imagery to satiate any gore whore. The kind you would find in a trashy slasher film that spent more money on music than special effects. It’s difficult to not chant the chorus and bang your head to the drums.
What Wednesday 13 album would be complete without slicing the neck of religion? “Omen Amen” makes a neat Chelsea grin with a catchy riff – service with a smirk. Amen!
“Lonesome Road to Hell” plays like Wednesday happily giving everyone the finger and chortling like a maniac as he sprints towards his comfortable grave with the final note feeding into the album title track.
“Condolences” is the final funeral dirge that Wednesday has set for himself and has a style churned out as groovy doom metal, patiently awaiting the casket lid to close.
“Death Infinity” ends the album with a power ballad like a ghost floating out of frame to the “great hereafter”.
Wednesday 13 has always been the sort of horror show that one views not only for the music but the antics and playful morbid mystery he weaves in every album, many revel in it and this is what he is best known for; thirteen years and 6 albums later, Wednesday 13 has produced the most mature and sincere (used lightly in this review) album to date.
‘Condolences’ may be less camp than previous albums but it compensates with a weightier, more grounded style; a more established playing tone is noticeable and is evident in the heavier, traditional metal approach. The pace cracks from mid- to fast-tempo in between tracks on this album and there are chunks from previous albums such as ‘Skeletons’ and ‘Monsters Of The Universe’ , and this needs to be said: this is no longer horror punk but horror metal with the catchy riffs and drum beats to match.
‘Condolences‘ still has its tongue so firmly in its cheek that it chomps it off and then proceeds to barbecue it before serving it to the funeral mourners at the wake. It is sure to firmly grab and munch on new brains whilst satisfying old fans.
‘Condolences’ track listing:
1. Last Rites
2. What the Night Brings
4. Blood Sick
5. Good Riddance
6. You Breathe, I Kill
7. Omen Amen
8. Cruel to You
9. Eulogy XIII
10. Prey for Me
11. Lonesome Road to Hell
13. Death Infinity
Wednesday 13 are:
Wednesday 13 – Lead vocals, guitar
Roman Surman – Lead guitarist
Jack Tankersley – Rhythm Guitarist
Troy Doebbler – Bassist
Kyle Castronovo – Drummer
Wednesday 13 Online: