Misfits

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Earth AD

Misfits - Earth AD ©1983 Caroline
1. Earth A.D.
2. Queen Wasp
3. Devilock
4. Death Comes Ripping
5. Green Hell
6. Mommy, Can I Go Out & Kill Tonight
7. Wolfs Blood
8. Demonomania
9. Bloodfeast
10. Hellhound
11. Die, Die My Darling
12. We Bite

After Metallica covered two Misfits songs on Garage Days Re-revisisted, legions of their fans ran out to purchase old Misfits records to find out exactly why Cliff Burton and Co. all wore Misfits shirts onstage all the time. And as quickly as they bought the albums, they returned them en masse, unable to fathom how their overproduced gods could listen to such lo-fi schlock such as this. Chances are most of those fans came across Earth AD.

Both short and badly mixed, Earth AD was the sign of a band no longer possessing a unified, solid direction. The band's lineup had seen multiple changes by the time this album was recorded in 1983 and their early demented pop with a punk angle had been diminished into a blurry, unchallenging thrashy haze. Glenn Danzig's impressive vocals had been reduced to a mere background roar and lacked what made the Misfits so good initially: swagger and melody. The songs on this short album sound completely rushed and hastily written. Moreover, the final mix reduces everything to mush, completely rendering the songs perfectly harmless. The cumulative effect of listening to Earth AD is akin to being bit on the hand on by a small puppy. A very small puppy. As a result, the lackluster response to this album resulted in the band splitting apart and being fairly unknown till revitalized interest turned them into the cult phenomenom they are today. However, for those wishing to find out what the hubbub is all about, I really must point you towards anything but Earth AD.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 09/2002

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Legacy Of Brutality

Misfits - Legacy Of Brutality ©1985 Plan 9/Caroline
1. Static Age
2. TV Casualty
3. Hybrid Moments
4. Spinal Remains
5. Come Back
6. Some Kinda Hate
7. Theme For A Jackal
8. Angelfuck
9. Who Killed Marilyn
10. Where Eagles Dare
11. She
12. Halloween
13. American Nightmare

After the implosion of the Misfits, Caroline found themselves with the distinct problem of a cult band situation...and no band. Thus began the confusing barrage of compilations and reissues that have done nothing except confuse all but the most ardent students of Misfits History. For example, this compilation features early Misfits material that would also reappear on the self titled Misfits collection as well as Static Age. Moreover, the songs on Legacy of Brutality aren't given much of a remaster or glossover, so those who have heard versions of the songs elsewhere might be put off by the sound quality.

Interestingly, Legacy of Brutality focuses more on the band's early melodic phase rather than the blur of noise that was the signature of their last album. Most of the tracks were culled from the Static Age sessions back in 1978. The remainder are leftovers from singles and other studio sessions. The result is the album is far from uniform and if you are one of the listeners, like me, who has heard these songs on other releases, you may not be fully pleased with what you hear. For instance, the Static Age songs lack a bottom end, are way too reverbed out, and lack the meat that the proper Static Age sports.

On the flipside, the songs themselves are classic. Unlike many of their contemporaries, the Misfits shied away from political issues and stuck to their own peculiar brand of horror business. Glenn Danzig's Elvis/Morrison roar contained more melody and swing than any singer around him and the songs, although basic and simplified to Ramones minimalism, were catchier than the West Nile virus in a swarm of mosquitos. The final track, "American Nightmare", fully dives into Elvis groove.

Chances are any serious Misfits fanatic will already have this and the casual fan might just stick to the collections. Legacy of Brutality was a good package to have at the time of its release, but it has been surpassed by more recent reissues.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 10/2002

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Misfits

Misfits - Misfits ©1986 Caroline
1. She
2. Hollywood Babylon
3. Bullet
4. Horror Business
5. Teenagers From Mars
6. Night Of The Living Dead
7. Where Eagles Dare
8. Vampira
9. I Turned Into A Martian
10. Skulls
11. London Dungeon
12. Ghouls Night Out
13. Astro Zombies
14. Mommy Can I Go Out And Kill Tonight?
15. Die, Die My Darling
16. Earth A.D.
17. Devilock
18. Death Comes Ripping
19. Green Hell
20. Wolfsblood

At one point, this particular collection of Misfits tunes was a great place to get your fix for this legendary hokey Grade-B schlock punk outfit. Today there are so many versions of these songs floating around as well as collector's items such as the coffin box that it has to be confusing for someone curious about this group. A lot of attention on the Misfits of course can be attributed to Metallica's fascination with Danzig and his wretched crew of barely-mediocre musicians. And over the past fifteen years since the end of the Misfits (and not counting the Misfits of the late 90s) the cult following has only grown. I'm sure you've all seen little black-dyed devil-locked kids at punk rock shows. So for whatever it's worth, the Misfits have carved a niche into their culture that can never be erased.

But behind the t-shirts, image and devil-locks, the Misfits' actual music is one of those strange things that only the punk world could have embraced at the time. Glenn Danzig's powerful Elvis-gone-evil baritone roar was the key factor in the band's sound as the musicians were, at best, barely able to play rudimentary levels of skill. Yet at the same time, these songs are still sung by kids driving around in their beat up little used cars and are being covered and emulated by punk bands everywhere. The Grade-B horror movie schlock is kind of cute in a twisted sort of way. One can argue the Misfits should have existed in the fifties when Ed Wood was still making films. Much of the Misfits was steeped in serious camp. Obviously a song like "Astro Zombies" is not going to tackle social issues like, say, political punk bands of the era. Regardless of the band's questionable skills, a ledger full of fun songs erupted from their discography: "Bullet", "She", "Green Hell", "Die, Die My Darling" and "Skulls" are all quite good in their sordid little way. Chances are the casual fan need not search any further than one of the compilation albums from the Misfits. It's good to know the surface of their sound and influence, but delving too seriously into them can lead to expensive hair dye habits.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 03/1999

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Static Age

Misfits - Static Age ©1997 Caroline
1. Static Age
2. TV Casualty
3. Some Kinda Hate
4. Last Caress
5. Return Of The Fly
6. Hybrid Moments
7. We Are 138
8. Teenagers From Mars
9. Come Back
10. Angelfuck
11. Hollywood Babylon
12. Attitude
13. Bullet
14. Theme For A Jackal
15. She
16. Spinal Remains
17. In The Doorway

Static Age is the legendary first recordings of the Misfits. The sessions happened due to a deal where the band received thirty hours of recording time in exchange for surrendering the name to their record label. The band, featuring Glenn Danzig, Jerry Only, Franche Coma and Mr. Jim, was forced to rush through their seventeen tracks during late night sessions. Nevertheless, as this belatedly released CD proves, the Misfits were truly onto something special in their early days.

Unlike later recordings which many fans may be considerably more familiar with, Static Age has a good sound quality and doesn't sound like it was recording in a Port-O-Potty using a handheld mini cassette recorder. The band also tended to play slower and with more swing and groove than a lot of the later material. Glenn Danzig's bellow is full force, even this early in his singing career. What makes Static Age more impressive is that it seems as though the songs actually are tailored towards his voice, which you and I both know is the most impressive aspect of the Misfits in any incarnation. Despite the basic songwriting approach (a touch of Ramones mixed with the Misfits' famous campy horror movie bent), the songs here simply shine with highly memorably melodies, groovy hooks and downright fun attitude. Even when Danzig sings about being a "Teenager from Mars", you know it's in the spirit of silly B-grade horror movies and as you sing along, you should be smiling like a fool.

Quite a few of these songs have been released on different EPs or collections over the years, but that doesn't mean you aren't required to pick up Static Age the next time you see it. Although it took nearly twenty years to see a proper release, it stands as perhaps the Misfits most definitive statement and the best sounding one as well.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 07/2002

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