The undoubted bastard sons of one unholy union between Misfits, The Ramones, and Calabrese with The Damned looking on with hellish mischief, US horror punk band Shriek is a band where once bitten by their insidiously infectious sounds a feverish addiction is inevitable. Such is the potent reaction after being devoured by their self-titled album, a release giving a fresh snarl and contagion to recognisable yet fully invigorating rampages of horror.
From Cincinnati, Shriek formed in December of 1998 to follow The Vladimirs as the only successful horror rock band in the city. As the band built a formidable reputation for their blistering live performances and riotous death drenched songs the band went from being a trio to expanding into a quartet and then back again whilst continuing to build a devoted fanbase and recognition in the state and further afield. A brief hiatus occurred in 2004 before the band returned a year later with more changes before their most recognisable line-up of band founders vocalist/guitarist Greg Gallows and bassist Ryan Stone alongside guitarist Josh Thompson and drummer Steve Cox emerged in 2008. The departure of Stone in 2012 was the last change and in many ways a new era for the band with Sean Sleaze coming in on bass whilst Derek Dargum also joined to add his guitar skills.
The intro Enter At Your Own Risk opens the door to the album with expected menace and foreboding , its slow crawl guiding one into the shadows and hungry energy of Corrupting the Youth (with the Truth). An urgent punk riot of thumping rhythms and enjoyably grazing riffs, the track is an immediate anthemic lure with the vocals of Gallows an addition temptation to join the cause vocally and with feisty limbs.
From the irrepressible start tracks like the stomping Walk Again and the ravenous Vampire with its classic metal whispers grip the passions with their arguably traditional horror punk claws whilst the psychobilly seduction brought by Back from the Dead enflames the ear to spark an additional ardour with its melodic flames and slightly lumbering gait. It would be honest to say the album does not offer anything openly new for the genre but there is no doubting its accomplished and impressive sadistic charms which sets the band apart from the majority of horror punk bands.
Into its stride the album continues to impress and gets better deeper in to its mausoleum of fun you go. As thrilling and inviting as the release is heading into the core of its heart it reveals with relish even greater triumphs in its latter half starting with My Girlfriend’s a Zombie. With the guitars tightly reining in their energy to offer a fire of sonic compulsion and the drums thrashing the ear with enthusiasm the track is another catchy temptation for the listener to add their companionship in voice and limbs to, though to be fair each and every song achieves that submission. The song is immediately followed by the best song on the album, Lycanthrope. The song is immense, a storm of savage riffs and equally threatening rhythms undermined by the sheer addictive call of the chorus. Combined it is a virulent persuasion which rivals anything the Misfits have offered over the past couple of decades.
Freddy’s Dead has a stronger punk voice to its malignant scourge which for its brief minute and a half coursing through the ears with a predatory breath whilst the necromantic love song Closed Casket Romantic is a smouldering blaze upon the senses with an uncomplicated decayed emotive caress. Both tracks add further pinnacles to the deeply enjoyable release soon accompanied by the enthralling bruising enticement of Haunted House to leave one in a flush of ardour and invigorated satisfaction.
The band saves one final impressive high with Night of The Creeps, a track which sounds like Danzig in an invasion of the soul with Blitzkid and Necromantix. It is a rabid coating of abrasive energy and once more submits an irresistible entrapment of the senses and heart through its anthemic chorus and serpentine hooks.
Shriek is a band which certainly through their album, does not take long to recruit the passions to a long term agreement with their rampant sounds. The release is one of the most exciting and pleasing horror punk releases in a long time and the band a sure soundtrack to your richest nightmares.
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