Fear Of The Park, the debut album from Italian horror rockers Splatters is a release which is a flawed and frustrating but still offers plenty to be enthused about even if some is in promise for the future. It is an album open in its heart and honest in its intent but given no favours by the poor production. Despite that it still has moments which please and excite the punk inside and douses the ear in feisty slabs of rock n roll.
Fear Of The Park is a raw mix of Frankenstein Drag Queens from Planet 13, Balzac, and Motley Crue which does what it says on the label, unleash songs which growl and stomp with the blood of horror movies and simplicity of punk n roll. Consisting of vocalist/guitarist Drow, guitarist Alex Damned, bassist Mr. Sprinkler, and Paul Destroyer on drums, Splatters set the scene with Intro, an obvious but enjoyable Funhouse/Park threat with ivory teasing a la Halloween. This leads into Killer Clown, an eager stomp of punishing rhythms, fiery guitars, and the gruff tones of Drow. It is as easy going and relatively obvious song which still feeds horror rock demands with ease. As mentioned and can be repeated across the whole album, the production is unfair. The rhythms are at odds within their twin attack and the guitars are given a haze to fight through, whilst there is no real balance to the sound, certain elements at different heights to others so it is credit to band and song that it works as well as it does.
Welcome To Zombieland is a great slice of metal, a riot of twisted melodic guitar and stormy riffs with Drow and backing vocals bringing a good anthemic and catchy presence to romp in with. When things come together like here the album is great rock n roll and rises above the limitations forced upon it. The guitar of Damned is impressive and throughout the release shows a definite skill and invention steeped in old school sounds to enjoy fully.
Tracks like Here Comes The Monsters and Die In A Leather Jacket get the job done to leave one satisfied if not exactly drowning in enthusiasm, though again one knows they would have worked better with a kinder treatment. Fear Of The Park easily compensates though when it really hits the spot as with the trio of songs Hope, Why Do They Always Have To Die In This Way?, and Sinner In Heaven. The first growls along before bursting into a rampant energy speared with great blues spiced guitar whilst the second and best track on the album is a smouldering mix of piano, clean vocals, and guitar scorching solos. Drow shows he has a better clean voice than his abrasive growls and one hopes this is featured more in the songwriting ahead. From the reserved mellow start the song erupts into a predatory stalking of the ear, chewing riffs and blistering sonic spears driving the assault. It is the most inventive song on the album and one which fires up the passions the strongest.
Sinner In Heaven is a classic rock fuelled track with a great punk infused groove. With a strong bass pull and rapier beats, the track easily captivates with the guitars an extra compulsive pleasure to greedily devour. It is horror punk /rock of a high level and shows what the band can do given the chance and want. The remaining songs fail to live up to these standards though My Lucky 13 is a valiant and pleasing effort.
Closing with Minotaurs and Dark Way, the first a decent muscle of metal and the last a song which was the least effective in giving satisfaction, Fear Of The Park is an appetising release which you can easily meet up with again and again. Sadly though it could have been much better given the right touch and care to its sound. You feel though that the future will receive a real thriller from the band at some point.
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