I know that there are a lot of you that will dismiss the “The Devil’s Rain” before actually giving it a listen and I understand how you feel… But don’t do that; don’t ignore this CD simply because it’s not Glenn Danzig’s Misfits. This is a pretty damn good CD and it’s better than a lot of the stuff Danzig has released. The last full CD that he put out that I would actually call “good” was “Danzig 4” back in ’94.
I’ve been listening to The Misfits for over twenty years and at first I was pretty skeptical (and possibly angry) when I read that The Misfits were going to release a CD (I’m talking about 1997’s “American Psycho” album) without Glenn Danzig’s signature vocals. But I still went out and bought the disc when it came out (disaster or not, I had to hear it) and, after a few listens I can honestly say that I liked the album, a lot. I thought Michale Graves’ was a pretty good replacement for Glenn. Their voices are very different but Michale really seemed to fit the new direction that The Misfits were going. Lyrically, the horror movie themes and the trademark “Whoa-ho’s” were still there but the music had become a bit more metal than punk. It wasn’t the band that I discovered way back in 9th grade but they were good in their own way.
And now this new-new version of the group, featuring Jerry Only, Dez Cadena and Eric Arce have released a CD and again I was skeptical (I didn’t think Jerry Only could sing). But, just like with the previous line-up, it only took a few listens to make me a fan. The Misfits sound has been changed again, but only a little bit this time around. The music on “The Devil’s Rain” for the most part sounds similar to the “American Psycho” and “Famous Monsters” records but the thing that sets the new album apart from those others is the vocals. Jerry Only sounds like a singer from the late 50’s or early 60’s. The songs “The Black Hole” and “Where Do They Go?” sound like something that would have been played at a sock-hop, the latter even has hand claps and female backup singers. Most of the other songs, with the exceptions of “Jack The Ripper” and “Death Ray” (both sung by Dez Cadena) have a rockabilly feel to them. If I had to compare this version of The Misfits to another band, I’d say that they sound somewhat like a heavier version of “The Rosedales”.
This disc is packed with some really good songs but I wanted to take a minute and talk about a few that I think are standouts.
My favorite song on “The Devil’s Rain” is called “Father”. This track is great on many levels. It starts out with a haunting round of whoa-whoa-whoas before Jerry Only comes in to tell the story of a man who is questioning his father about whether or not he is a vampire and it ends with an old fashioned church organ. It’s great musically and lyrically and shows that the band can paint a dark picture without having to sound exactly like they did in the early ’80’s.
Two other very good ones are “Twilight Of The Dead” and “Land Of The Dead”. Both are songs about zombies, based on George Romero movies and were released as a single back in 2009. These songs have more of a Michale Graves era Misfits sound to them.
Another song that I like a lot is the title track. This one is more of a hard rock song and uses a sample from a thunder storm as if it were an instrument. The whole song actually builds and falls like it is part of the storm.
I read several other reviews for this album before writing mine and I noticed that a lot of times they compared this disc to classic Misfits albums. If you are looking for that Danzig-Misfits sound, you’re not really going to find it here, and in my opinion, that’s a good thing. Sure, this band is called The Misfits but it’s an entirely new animal (actually it’s the third version of this animal). I think the best way to judge this or any other CD where the band has change its vocalist is on its own, don’t expect it to sound like the previous albums that the group has released, just think of it as a new band. Sure, the band may have been better when (fill in name here) was singing but is the music still good? In the case of “The Devil’s Rain” I think the answer is yes. You might not like it as much as “Walk Among Us” and neither do I but it’s still good. And it’s a lot better than most of the other horror-punk that has come out recently.