By Octavio Ramos Jr.
Following up 2013’s Abominator, Doyle (spawned from the band Gorgeous Frankenstein in 2012) strikes back with As We Die, which showcases 13 tracks that mix horror punk, elements of thrash metal, and hard rock. The undercurrent of straightforward rock and roll, peppered at times
with old-fashioned horror punk and slamming thrash metal, make this is a standout release, particularly when the band mixes hard-driving rhythms with epic-sounding background vocals and punk-laden lead vocals.
Up front is of course Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein, who pushes the six-string “abominator” to its limits, still echoing his chainsaw-driven rhythms but also setting down some hook-laden leads that tap into various facets of music, from power metal and American rock to subtle
elements of progressive metal and of course punk rock. This potent mix is showcased on tracks such as the opener, “Kiss Me as We Die,” as well as “Darkside” and “Virgin Sacrifice,” all of which showcase Doyle’s development as a song arranger. Of course, the horror punk remains a
signature sound, and tracks such as “Beast like Me,” “God of Flies” (a scorcher), and “Witchcraft” do not disappoint.
Vocalist Alex “Wolfman” Story is no slouch either, leading each track with his signature snarls and growls. The Wolfman’s delivery is right out of punk rock, but he also injects each track with facets of melody to set down plenty of groove and rock sensibility. Background vocals, including
some female crooners, add to a keen sense of dance-driven melody and harmony. Also of note is the Wolfman’s ability to shift his vocal approach. On the aforementioned “God of Flies,” he shifts from a low-end tease to a ripping roar with ease. A distinct Danzig-like sound is showcased on “Witchcraft,” bringing back the memories of the Misfits for those who dare bend an ear in that direction.
As a lyricist, the Wolfman sticks with elements of visceral horror, exploring the nature of death, anger, and unrestrained violence. For example, “Run for Your Life” articulates a battle between predator and prey, where the horror of pursuit can be relieved only by inevitable confrontation
and death. “King of the Dead” takes a different approach to being pursued, this time adding a sense of sexual tension that oozes from the words and is captured on the music.
Rounding out the band is Brandon Pertzborn on drums and Brandon State on bass. Pertzborn is a percussive machine, shifting gears at will from punishing blitzes to rock-driven rolls and fills. He manages to keep the pace fast, slowing down only to evoke atmosphere. Strate’s four-string beats
throb to every track, usually shadowing Doyle’s rollicking axe-grinder.
Released on Doyle’s label Monsterman Records, As We Die is a solid amalgamation of punk, metal and hard rock. Moving through these genres like a chainsaw through flesh, Doyle always ensures that punishment is complemented with reward, so the crash-and-burn approach is gifted
with rhythm and melody, as well as an undercurrent of chest-pumping groove. One listen to a track like “We Belong Dead” or “Night of Sin” and you will catch a groove that will not leave you for a long time indeed.
Photo credit to Robert Chadwick
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