“Lonely Rider” by Finnish horror-rockers Flesh Roxon was recently showcased as our Horror Music Video of the Week, and it's high time we gave their debut album Flesh to the Bone a spin. The trio of Nicky Rothen (guitars & lead vocals) Petri Torkell (drums) and “Mr. Willy” (upright bass, vocals) joined forces in Tampere, Finland just last year, but they bring years of collective experience in punk, metal and psychobilly to the game, along with a shared love of old-school horror and exploitation movies. The “Lonely Rider” video, a gritty homage to those inspirations – even throwing in a few VHS tracking glitches for fun – sums up their undying love for the genre while rocking out with one of the album's most accessible and hooky tunes, which makes for an ideal single. But grittier, more violent tales of terror are lurking within the grooves of Flesh to the Bone, and that's what I came to hear.
Both the album's title track and the whiplash opening cut "Running Away" feature Roxon in more upbeat mode, boasting a fast and muscular punk attitude, including all the old school “whoa-ah-oh” horror chants we've come to know, but with just enough melodic purity (and some nice vocal harmonies) to keep the hooks sharp. Non-horror songs like “Angel” and “Born to Lose” give them a chance to show off authentic southern rockabilly chops, which is kind of a cool ironic touch juxtaposed with Rothen's Finnish-accented vocal delivery. But while those songs are memorable and snappy, the band's darker side still demands to be heard... and it crawls its way to the surface in the sleazy, angry beat of "Don’t You Dare," where Rothen's croon is transformed into a snarl of rage. They proceed into full-on horror for the memorable “Suck My Chainsaw,” and I can totally hear fans madly shouting that chorus, but the swaggering psychobilly strut of “Zombie” is sure to be the band's biggest crowd-pleaser, and it definitely gets my vote for the album's standout track.
The lyrics get decidedly necromantic for the creepy speed-ballad "Back From Your Grave," which sports a wicked chorus of stacked rough melodic vocals. It's also the subject of the album's first music video, which goes for more of a classic horror vibe. Check it out here:
It's refreshing to hear horror punk served up straight, no chaser: that is, simple songs with catchy choruses and no-nonsense production (no horror sound effects or atmospherics) that lets the gruff but robust melodies bust through. These cats are clearly having a blast, but Flesh to the Bone is more than just a collection of horror-nerd jams; the songs are musically tight, even at often furious tempos, with just enough dynamics and rhythmic change-ups to keep the energy level high.
If you dig Flesh Roxon's sounds and want to share in their celebration of all things horror, you might want to join in the band's ongoing “Zombie Rock” photo contest, where they're inviting fans to get “filthy, funny, naughty, serious, hell… downright disgusting” by transforming themselves into zombies, then upload images of the results with the hashtag #zombierock to the band's Instagram site. They'll be posting their favorite pics on Facebook, with monthly prizes awarded to the winning dead.