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I wanted to love the new Misfits album. Really, I did. I of course, love the original incarnation of the band. I really dug the 90’s Misfits too, even if it was without question an entirely different band with a different sound & different direction. I mean, I like Samhain, Danzig, The Undead, Graves, Gotham Road, and most of the slew of other related bands, so why not the new Misfits?
I think Jerry Only has surrounded himself with people too afraid or too dumb to tell him no or keep him in check. ([cough]John Cafiero?[cough]) Danzig arguably has the same problem. As an artist you need a healthy amount of “I’m going to do something crazy” room in your creative process. Sometimes, that’s the only way to achieve the next level of awesome. It gave us the Danzig album out of Samhain, and it gave us the Shocking Return of the Misfits (a.k.a. The Misfits™ or M95). It gave us my favorite Danzig song, “You and Me (Less Than Zero)”. It also gave us Kryst the Conqueror.
American Psycho and Famous Monsters are solid albums, with a slight metal tinge to the old horror punk vibe and a lot more camp. I was hoping that Devil’s Rain would be somewhat close to that. It’s like the cutting-room floor material for those albums. I would be embarrassed to have my name on this album were I involved in recording or production. The songs don’t flow well.
There is stuff here with some potential, but it lacks a certain tweaking. I have said the same stuff about Michale Graves‘ solo work. I think he’s a great singer & songwriter, he’s just better tempered with a band. With the 90’s Misfits, they all brought songs to the table. Chud, Michale, Jerry, & Doyle all wrote songs or parts. Right now, I feel like it’s the Jerry Only show, with a few scraps for Dez… and a leash for Goat, I mean… Eric “Chupacabra” Arce. (Was Robo just sent a plane ticket home, or what?)
Jerry in a Jerry T-Shirt
Jerry went wrong some time around when he started to wear the T-shirt of himself. Was this before or after the band was falling apart? It’s all such a blur.
I remember talking to him backstage on more than a few occasions. He’s unarguably a great entertainer, an excellent showman, and a very cool guy to stick around to talk to fans, give interviews, and sign anything you’ll put in front of him. (Although, I did one see him refuse to sign a teenage girl’s boob… and it was hilarious – Kudos to him for not being a creeper.) Where it goes from there is open to debate.
That being said, lackluster vocals can kill an album. (See the Gorgeous Frankenstein album, then dig up the demo of the song “Gorgeous Frankenstein”. with Michale Graves on vocals.) The aforementioned poor vocals do a spectacular job killing Devil’s Rain. I can’t put my finger on it. Jerry’s vocals aren’t bad live, but with this recording it’s evident that his range & the vocal power just aren’t where they need to be. Dez would be great on a dirty punk record, but here it sounds like an old guy telling kids to get off his lawn. The vocals have always been strong with the Misfits, be it Glenn or Michale. On Devil’s Rain they fall flat (literally and figuratively).
The guitar tone is “eh”. It lacks the metal punch that Doyle had going after Kryst the Conqueror, and it’s not quite the old dirty punk vibe. I’m not big on the fills and solos. I mean, we all know Franché Coma & Bobby Steele could do that, but they didn’t. It wasn’t the Misfits’ thing with a few notable exceptions. (I still think 12 Hits Form Hell is a damn-near perfect album & the Undead’s version is cool too.)
If the past Misfits stuff is campy, this album is just downright corny lyric-wise. I mean, I like some goofy stuff (like Peelander-Z!), but this is the wrong kind of goofy entirely.
Father almighty turn the darkness to day
Father providing turning desert to grain
God’s son the Pharaoh speaks to Ra calling his name
Oh Ra, devour those who dare open my grave
Place a curse in his hand
I can listen to “Land of the Dead” which still needs something, but it’s undoubtedly the best of the bunch.
This is just one man’s opinion. I’d be interested in yours.
Misfits | Devil's Rain