|Zombina and the Skeletones|
This five member group of the undead hails from Liverpool and brings to us some of the best glam and punk music around. The five members of this band consist of Zombina Venus Hatchett (vocals), Doc Horror (guitar/bass/vocals), Jonny Tokyo (bass/keys/vocals), Taylor Woah (guitar) and Kit Shivers (drums). They formed their band a few years ago and in 2002 released their debut album Taste The Blood of Zombina & The Skeletones which was highly acclaimed and quickly sold out of the first thousand printed.
Since the release of this highly acclaimed album they've toured all around England and Germany and with that typical D.I.Y. punk rock attitiude, they have turned down several record deals over the years. The band continues to perform and returned to the studio to record and release their debut single I Was A Human Bomb For The F.B.I.. This was followed shortly by another four-track single Mondo Zombina where they continued to develop their sound and just have fun making music. They continued to work on their next album, and in the meantime released the final piece of their 7" trilogy Staci Stasis. Each of these have been a gem in any fan's CD collection. 2006 finally saw the release of their sophomore full-length album titled Death Valley High. This work was a great addition to their discography in the form of a concept album that could have been something of a stage musical. Since then the band has remained active releasing various EP's and two more albums, the latest officially released in 2014 under the title Charnel House Rock
The music of this band is an incredible style of fun glam and horror punk. Like the legendary Toy Dolls, this band adds a wonderful touch of humor to their upbeat punk tracks. Goth and death rock fans will love the vampire and sci-fi themes. This great band is making waves all over the world. Be sure to check out their fun garage punk sound on Gothic Paradise radio.
Charnel House Rock - Review
Though the band has been extremely busy releasing several EP's and another album since our previous review, we've been out of touch but are glad to have reconnected and have this new album from this dynamic, creative and fun band. Keeping up their focus on the morbid and macabre, this new album is perfect being named after the vaults and buildings where skeletal remains are stored. Presented on the CD are 13 dynamic, fast-paced tracks spanning all the genres and styles we've grown to love from this band over the years. It comes in a nice cardboard digi-pack with a booklet containing art, lyrics and other info.
Almost entirely from start to finish we're presented with hard-hitting, fast-paced horror-punk tracks on this album. The band even gets into some of the standard punk styles with socially charged lyrics as well on "Walk With Me" and "The Negative Zone". However, most of the album is still mostly tongue-in-cheek humor. There are definitely plenty of favorites to choose from and listeners on our club mix show will well be familiar with some of these. "Mortuary Academy" is the first of these stand-out tracks (not that the entire album isn't great). This one features more prominent male vocals taking the lead and really moves with a solid beat and grinding guitars for a heavy punk and rock-a-billy sound. The sci-fi horror track "How To Make A Monster" really goes back with the heavy swing sound and the saxophone taking a prominent part of the music really brings out that classic style. "The Negative Zone" picks up a bit on the sci-fi influenced rock-a-billy, school girl style we've enjoyed on so many tracks in the past. This just keeps going right into "Don't Go Into The Light", definitely picking up the pace and intensity as well as bringing the saxophone into more of a prominent role. Of course my favorite is the lyrics "Come into the light, my putrid one". Nearly every track from here on out to the end of the album is a gem from "Unspeakable Things" with a sort of old-west renegade sond like the classic track from Burl Ives with a modern punk-rock twist, to the satire-filled "Misery" with the line "I'm in love with your misery" really telling it all.
We have a set of 3 bonus tracks on the CD that are nice additions. "Ginferno" is a nice modern take on a classic instrumental sound featuring all the great instruments and styles without really one instrument taking the lead, though the saxophone is prominent, the percussion and heavy guitar definitely are reminiscent of "Wipe Out" from the Surfaris with a real heavy, modern twist. My favorite though of this trio of extras and a definite favorite from the album is "That Doll Just Tried To Kill Me", starting off with a short-ballad-like story that gives way to a moving, punk-swing style that we've grown to love from this band. "Born Without a Head" wraps the album up as a fast-paced, high-energy piece for a sort of finale feel to the album, kind of leaving the listener breathless. With that the album comes to a close, another real classic horror-punk gem from this band that fans will love.
Death Valley High - Review
It's a been a long wait since their last full-length album, although they have given us plenty of music from their recent EP releases we've enjoyed. They have refocused their efforts on this fun concept album of a new "High School Musical" that fans will love. The disc contains thirteen fun tracks as only this group can do and they all mesh well together as part of the thematic work about Janie and her outcast sad days at Death Valley High.
The main thing with this disc is that you really need to listen to it from start to finish to get the whole musical experience. Even though individual pieces are fun, listening to the whole thing together just can't be beat as you're taken through this sci-fi horror-punk experience. "The Kids Are All Dead" starts it all off with an old-school punk style with most of the band getting in on the vocals. Without so much as a breath or break, "Lost Boys" picks right up with a good mix from the previous track adding a lot of sass and pizazz. "At The Megaplex" is not especially unforgettable, but provides a nice segue and addition to the album. However, not much can really measure up to the fun, yet heart-breaking tune "My T.V.". This quickly became a favorite track on the album, the story of our introvert protagonist who loves her T.V. as her only friend. It has a sort of oldies feel with modern punk for a sort of rock-a-billy sound.
At this point the album shifts gears slightly with "Villain", though still in the style of a fun oldies sound with some great fun electronics forming the solid foundation with a driving rhythm. Anyone who has been publicly humiliated by something private will relate to and love "Guess What!? (I Love You)". Poor Janie... the loveletter the evil kids found sends her further into humiliation and towards a psychotic break - another great oldies sound, some jazz organ, driving drums and an awesome bass.
Oh "Prom Night", how could anyone forget that horrible high school occasion? This piece is a Doo-wop, excellently written and performed and leads us up to the gruesome tale of "Your Girlfriend's Head". As I write this and think about the titles of some of these tracks and flip through the booklet, it's comical to me and probably disturbing to any number of "normal" people I know if they saw or heard this album. But that just brings us to "The Fragile Heart". This is another favorite, sad song that ends with the sounds of someone screaming from an insane assylum.
While sitting in an assylum, what do you do? You wait, and so now we have "The Waiting" with a great punk sound on this track that continues to carry on the theme well. Punk fans from all ages will love this piece. Now we're building up to the final moments of the story, and what better way to usher in the disaster than with "Janie's Got a Dissolvo Ray". This is a futuristic sci-fi horror-punk piece with a great blend of electronics, jazz organ and guitar with a mix of male and female vocals for a fun and full sound. And if someone as crazy and tormented as Janie gets a Dissolvo Ray, it's definitely the "End Of The World". This piece has a great rock sound, think Joan Jett rocking out to this futuristic b-movie track. This is a great climax to the album and the story with the chorus "everybody's gonna die". As a sort of epilogue, we're left with "Bubblegum Machine", this is a sort of sweet piece to the tragic story of this musical.
That wraps it up and I don't think I could add much more. Punk, death-rock and goth fans, go pick up this album! You'll love it without a doubt!
Staci Stasis - Review
Started in 2004 the 7" trilogy EP set is finally finished with the 3-track EP Staci Stasis. Like the two previous EPs this disc continues on with that fun garage punk sound and this one jumps into the sci-fi scene a bit more with three out of this world tracks.
The title track kicks off this work and has quickly become an all-time favorite Zombina track for me. They manage to keep their same fun punk style going while pulling back a little on the guitar and craziness and pulling off a little more melodic elements, but overall this piece is just fun and good music. The music and beat is catchy and will have you singing along right away. Luckily this isn't the only great piece on this EP, as all three really stand out as fun and great pieces. "Astroboy" really revs it up and kicks off with tons of grinding guitar and a killer beat along with the fun school-girl vocals. This piece really delves into the old-school punk sound like The Ramones that punk fans will really love. "Red Planet" is the last of the three tracks and moves once again into a melodic style. As a finale for this EP, this track is perfect by wrapping up with this melodic punk style.
That pretty much wraps up another great short EP. Punk fans, get out and get this disc and look forward to the next album this band will come out with.
Mondo Zombina - Review
Hot on the heals of their previous EP, we now have their latest in the form of this fun punk EP titled Mondo Zombina. Staying true to their comical garage punk music with the horror-themed lyrics fans will really eat this one up.
The main direction this disc takes is a sort of rock-a-bily with elements of the 50's and 60's rock. This just seems to add a little to the humorous elements of the punk scene. "Zombie Hop" kicks it off and sort of sets the tone with this "oldies" sound, but there's still plenty of grinding punk guitars to please the hard-core punks that pick this up. In similar style "The New Orleans Incident" picks right up with a bouncy sort of "ska" element. Even more so along these lines is "Spring Heeled Jack". The disappointing thing about this track is the amount of vulgarity in it. This would probably be a favorite of the younger kids, but these lyrics are a little offensive for younger ears.
The EP wraps up with the excellent ballad-like track "Counting on your Suicide" with it's fun lyrics and even funner music.
So there you have it, another great follow-up that fans will enjoy.
I Was A Human Bomb For The F.B.I. - Review
After a couple of years of waiting we're finally presented with the follow-up release to the successful debut album, in the form of this 7" single. Picking up where they left off with the hard-hitting "Horror Highschool" this three-track single has some great material.
The title track is driving music with lots of grit and solid punk styles. Zombina picks it up with her sassy style and backed by the grinding guitars and fast-paced beat on this raw piece. My favorite track on this release is the extremely fun piece "I Love Rock 'n' Roll". This is an original and fun piece with two basic lines "I love you, I love you, but I love rock 'n' roll more than I love you" and "I love rock 'n' roll more than I love you" repeated throughout with that great punk sound for a short 90 second track. Much like the horror-punk anthem "Horror Highschool", "Punk Rock Vampires: Destroy!" becomes a new anthem for goth punks. This should be a new club classic that punk fans will love.
This is a great single that is hopefully a small glimpse into the future of what we can continue to expect from this great band.
Taste The Blood Of Zombina & The Skeletones - Review
I realize that as I write this review that this album was released three years ago. Even though I had heard selections before, this is the first I've had the full album in my hands and had a chance to listen to it all. In my mind this is a new classic for punk fans and so I'm happy to review it here and spread the word.
The classic sound of this album easily ranks alongside favorites from Toy Dolls, The Damned and even some of the earliest from Siouxsie and the Banshees with the darker post-punk style. The vampire, sci-fi and various dead-girl themes are right up the ally of fans of these previously mentioned bands. Just take the names of some of these tracks "The Grave... & Beyond", "Nobody Likes You (When You're Dead)" and "Horror Highschool" and you have a good idea of what this album has in store.
From the very start it's a wild ride of hard-core garage punk with fast-driving beats and grinding guitars. "The Grave... & Beyond" opens up the album with this extreme style and "Horror Highschool" wraps it up with an anthem-like ending. Everything in between isn't quite this intense, but is extremely fun while carrying a great tune and some nice variety.
It's extremely hard to pick out a favorite track from this album because they're all so good. The most accessible and melodic tracks are probably "Christina", "Braindead" and "Ape Man". Each of these have a slightly slower beat and are a little more melodic and still plenty of fun. "Nobody Likes You (When You're Dead)" has quickly become a favorite catchy track with the fun lyrics, sassy vocals and appealing tune.
The entire album is great and so I don't think breaking it down anymore would help or would do it justice. This is a real punk classic and would highly recommend it to anyone in the punk, post-punk, death rock and goth scene.