DieMonsterDie 'Fall to Your Knees' - CD Review

Since the very name of this “Graveyard Shock 'N' Roll” outfit is an homage to a creepy Boris Karloff flick (itself based on the H.P. Lovecraft tale The Colour Out of Space), you may think you know what you're getting into when you give DieMonsterDie a spin... but these dudes ain't just another gang of devil-locked, black-jacketed horror rockers doing psychobilly riffs on surfin' undead and Harley-hoppin' werewolves. No, we're talking about a band that’s a bit less predictable... and more dangerous. (I can't even begin to imagine how they managed to get started in Utah.) Their very first record, recorded under the band name Casa Diablo, was titled The Continuing Mission to Destroy Rock 'N' Roll, and that very well might be the team's official motto... because destroying stuff is what they do best.

This month they're back in full force with their new full-length studio release Fall to Your Knees... so I had to dive in and find out if they're still kickin' the ghoulish groove. Once I saw the track listing, I figured I was in for a hell of a ride... we’re talking some of the best song titles ever. But does the music match the evil promise of those titles? Hit the jump and find out!

Since their formation, DieMonsterDie has toured with music legends like Type O Negative, Misfits, GWAR, Celtic Frost, Mortiis, The Red Chord, Calabrese, Genitorturers and many more covered in these very pages – but so far they've managed to remain under the mainstream radar. That's a shame, really, because they've got a demonic intensity that commands your attention while simultaneously creeping you out with the notion that those songs about bloodletting, human sacrifice and cannibalism might be more sincere than you're prepared to deal with – especially if you're down in the pit, withering beneath their wicked, mask-shrouded, blood-smeared faces.

But don't let their splattery stage antics distract you from their strong musicianship, which they've tightened and honed to a razor edge over the past decade, deftly balancing elements of gothic atmosphere with hardcore horror-metal and garage-rock riffage, spiking that concoction with a hearty shot of old-school punk attitude. It's a blend that makes them pretty tricky to pigeonhole, but very easy to like if you're into the extreme side of horror rock... in other words, if you're tough enough to handle it.

If you want to kick off your album in the creepiest way possible, why not begin with a long title in Latin? How does the handle Quid Quid Latine Dictum, Sit Altum Vidatur grab ya? This ultra-ominous cut opens the proceedings nicely with deep, dark and coarse riffs that offset the swirling gothic baritone of frontman Zero Delorean (pictured above), a blend that this band uses to great effect throughout the album. We then dive into the blackly-comic sci-fi/horror piece Lyka the Russian Space Dog Will Have Her Revenge, the lyrics of which are pretty much summed up by the title. Double Murder Suicide is a hard-driving, grungy cut that features Zero doing his best Lemmy (of Motörhead) impression, but She Looks Like You slips back into smoother vocal territory, amazingly catchy thanks to a simple but surprisingly massive chorus.

Sky Bleeds Red is a fairly straightforward horror-punk effort, but still pretty entertaining... but far more memorable is the following cut Lucky Number 666 – musically more playful, but indulging in some hardcore sexual blasphemy to balance things out (totally hilarious, assuming you're pretty open-minded). Dead Flowers has a more classic roadhouse-rock feel, but the whiskey-soaked mood isn't quite a good fit against the rest. But then there's one of my official favorite song titles ever, All Covered in Blood and Dressed Like a Whore... also one of the band's coolest-sounding efforts thanks to a great chugging, harmonics-scratching riff under the verses. The World Needs Monsters is another song title near and dear to my heart, and a good rallying anthem for horror fans everywhere.

Ship with Black Sails is a gritty mood-piece about a “monster with a boyish face and a heart of stone,” and the two following cuts From Screaming Graves We Rise and Midnight Run to Houston work well together as a sort of sub-theme to Near Dark and its finger-lickin' redneck vamps. A Priest and a Zombie Rent a Fishing Boat as Friends (again, it's hard not to love any band who can come up with titles like this) may sound like the makings of a novelty number, but it's actually a rousing, fist-pumping punk killer with some great lyrical interplay showcasing Zero's smooth vocal & lyrical skills.

Deep Space Isolation Psychosis is one of the band's rare major-key efforts, but packs a heavy garage crunch that works amazingly well with the brighter melodic feel. How Many People Do I Have to Kill serves up a pitch-black love ballad from a serial killer's blood-drenched perspective, after which the impressive closer The Dead Shall Inherit the Earth brings the moody, heavy shock vibe full-circle with another doomy punk anti-anthem (complete with the requisite “whoa-whoa-ohs”) but with a cranked-up tempo and chaotic energy to spare.

As I mentioned, it's hard to pin a specific genre on DieMonsterDie beyond simply “Extreme Horror Rock,” which may have made it more difficult for them to broaden their audience appeal. While I wish them huge success with Fall to Your Knees and projects to come, I'd selfishly love to see them keep that ruthless, in-your-face edge that might be sadly lost if they made a bid for a Misfits-sized scope. You never know, though... they're so sincere in their musical madness that a bigger-budget presentation might actually amplify the crazy. Come to think of it, it would be an interesting experiment... ah yes, yes... (Insert deep, lecherous laughter here.)