THE BRONX CASKET CO Hellectric Regain Records (2005)
I have always been aware of the fact that there is some sort of connection between the legendary Speed/Thrash metal outfit Overkill, and The Bronx Casket Co, and even though I am a devoted fan of the former, I had to wait for the release of "Hellectric" in order to be introduced to the music of the latter. Quite confusing things really, but now that I had the promo of the band's third studio album in my hands, I was about to solve this little mystery once and for all.
One of the first things that I searched for, while reading through Regain's press release, was the band's line up. As an Overkill devotee, I was of course thrilled to see two of the band's members (D.D.Verni: bass, Tim Mallare: drums) being involved in this project, but I was also quite surprised by the remaining three musicians that put together The Bronx Casket Co. Charlie Calv (keyboards) may not be that well-known amongst the metalheads, but that doesn't apply to the remaining two musicians. The guitar duties are handled by Seven Witches shredder Jack Frost (also ex-Savatage), and the man behind the microphone is SpY - a musician that has been previously spreading images of horror as a member of the Misfits! Now, with such an impressive line up, how many chances do you get to release a bad album?
Not so many, but it seems that the members of The Bronx Casket Co have partly managed to achieve that, and disappointed me a little bit with "Hellectric". Is it that, instead of creating an explosive cocktail of Overkill/Savatage riffs, they decided to indulge themselves in weak and most of the times boring Goth Metal melodies? Well, that is indeed the reason! Musicians have to be free to express themselves, though, and bearing that in mind, I committed myself to listening to these twelve compositions that are featured in the band's latest release.
The first five songs did not manage to raise my eyebrow, and it was more than obvious that "Little Dead Girl" and "Dream of Angels" were created with the purpose of promoting "Hellectric" to the world market. It is true that there are a lot of catchy melodies here and there, but the guitars sound very weak and SpY's voice is not powerful enough to give them the energy that they obviously needed. Things get much better with "Motorcrypt" - a song with a certain Death SS feel to it, and the amazing "Let My People Go" - a beautifully made epic composition, which is by far the best song of the album. Some of you old rockers out there will probably get quite upset with the band's interpretation of the classic Lynyrd Skynyrd anthem "Free Bird", but I am afraid that I see it as a very good cover! Of the remaining four compositions, the one that manages to stand out is the Goth ballad "Can't Stop The Rain", and the quite doomy "Live For Death", which slightly managed to change my negative impression of "Hellectric".
I am not quite sure whether I give justice to "Hellectric" by this review, but you have to remember that what you read here is the opinion that I currently have about this twelve-track album. I am already quite curious to see how I am going to feel about it in the months to come, and I do intend to listen to it more, but for the time being...
Review by John Stefanis