10

Fiendforce Records deliver the goods in style

Fiendforce Records have put together a compilation of 28 songs all about horror - with themes ranging from corpses to Halloween. You have to give them credit, they've done a bloody good job too, it's just a shame about the timing of the release. This is just the sort of thing you need to listen to if you've had a hard day at work it'll cheer you right up.

As you might expect with having that many songs, there are some questionable tracks and the album length is rather too long. But let me start with the ones that derserve a mention. Three proves to be a magic number as The Deep Eynde give us a sparkler with 'She Likes Skulls'. It kicks off the silliness that spreads throughout the whole album, and is infectious. My worries that it's a carbon copy of the Yeah Yeah Yeah's 'Pin' are soon allayed as it turns out to be fast and furious classic punk with totally manic riffing.

It's not long until the silliness carries on either, as '1,000 Corpses' launches itself on us. Without a doubt, this is one of the best songs on the album whilst it turns the average love song on its head with punky fiendishness. Every time I hear this, I want to laugh, the lyrics are so funny despite the stupidity (although I think that's part of their charm.)

However, Nim Vind put both of them to shame when it comes to twisting love songs around with a most inappropriate song title of 'Killing Saturday Night'. Rock 'n' Roll meets punk on the dancefloor before 50s doo wop cuts in it's good, but not a surprise given how long the band have been at this game. It's unfortunate then, that they're almost upstaged by 'Serpent Girl' which may be straightforward punk but it's catchier than flames in Hell. The anguished, gravel vocals match the frantic guitar well, which pays a tribute to the legacy of similar DC punk bands before them. Metal riffing finishes it off nicely.

Whilst some bands prefer to just sing about the opposite sex in a spooky way, others choose to put the horror theme in the music with varying degrees of success. There's the truly creepy beginning of Bella Morte's 'The Fallen' children singing against high pitched keyboards really freaks me out every time. It's a shame about the rest of the tune, though, as it's nothing special. The Bloodjunkies take horror into their own hands, play with it a bit and come up with 'All Hallows Eve'. It comes complete with fairground keyboards and mentions of wolves, but I'm still left undecided on it.

After the chilled out, ska-tinged punk of 'Dia de los Muertos', I begin to start thinking that this may have been better on two CDs. There are some damn good songs on the second half, however, and the best thing of all is that theres a fair amount of variety.

Sheer stupidity starts up again with the first note of 'Devil's Night in the USA'. I'm reminded a lot of the Minutemen, and The Memphis Murder Men's own brand of punkabilly is so carefree and fun, it's hard not to like it. So, it's good to see American Werewolves picking up not long after. It's ska punk you have to dance to the silliness is infectious.

Doomtree and The Young Werewolves take a different route instead, chosing to play wicked punk rock. 'Down Below' is so good, you can't get tired of it. Singer Steve Zing's past as a singer for heavy rock icons Samhain and Songs of Sam is evident, and it makes the song really good they're good at what they do. Likewise with 'Blackjack and Roulette', which picks you up and deposits you on the dancefloor with a ready-made dance partner. The added bonus of this one is that it's more chilled out, and seems to channel the spirit of the Beach Boys on ska.

But, despite the abundance of really good tunes on the album, there are some duff ones. Regardless of whether Plan 9 are an established band or not, there's something missing from 'Blood'. It's punk alright, and it ticks all the boxes, but it lacks the spark of a really good song punk by numbers you could say. 'It's Midnight' sounds suspciously like 'Nowhere' by Therapy?, and indeed the rest of the song seems to follow suit. Well, most of it does, apart from the bizarre little piano interlude. As much as I do like this one, there are definitely better songs on the album and this is nothing special.

Further on down the track listing, repeated listens of the Gutter Demons reveals that the song is just too long. If it had been two minutes or less, it would've been great, but the punk rockery gets far too repetitive by the time three minutes rolls around. 'Rest in Pieces', too, is okay for the first few listens but after that, it loses any sparkle it had and gets boring.

For all that, given the length of the album, there are an astonishing amount of really good tracks. It doesn't all sound the same and, as a showcase for artists, Fiendforce have done a good job. My only complaint is that, at 28 songs, it really could've done with a shorter length. For all that, I can see 'This is Horrorpunk 2' enjoying a long stay in my CD player.