“From within the thighs of hell’s most wanton temptress, a tempest of psychobilly grooves and rockabilly hooks will converge upon mankind to turn its existence into one incessant stomp of devilish predation and virulent demonic revelry.”
Obviously that is not one of the more well-known pestilences deemed suitable to be included in religious teachings but if it was, it would go under the name of Norm & The Nightmarez and debut album Psychobilly Infection. Thirteen tracks of wickedly contagious and warped rock ‘n’ roll cultured with rockabilly seeded guitar and psychotic imagination, the release is a storming slab of rapacious psychobilly which sets a new provocative and sinisterly sculpted template for emerging genre bands.
Hailing from Birmingham, Norm And The Nightmarez is the creation of vocalist/guitarist Norm Elliot. From first band The Phantom Zone in the eighties, the musician has played in a few bands, last year most notably Mickey & The Mutants where he linked up with ex-Meteors/ex-Guana Batz bassist Mick White and Sharks drummer Paul ‘Hodge’ Leigh. The trio released the outstanding album Touch The Madness, a release it was hard to see anything bettering in UK psychobilly for a long-time to come but then we did not foresee Norm & The Nightmarez preying on the passions. Completed by drummer Frank Creamer (ex- Colbert Hamilton & the Hellrazors) and double bassist Mark Bending (ex-Sgt Bilko’s Krazy Combo) for the Western Star released album, the band embraces the decades of rockabilly infusing their ripest essences into the insatiable jaws of old school bred psychobilly irreverence and invention. It is a varied and riveting incitement which steals the will of everything from feet through to emotions, taking all on a skilful and hungry romp of mischievous enterprise.
Produced by Alan Wilson, the album is straight away gnawing on the senses with opener Stompin in My Grave, its initial earth encrusted riffs immediate potent bait to which the wrist flicking rhythms of Creamer and the dark hearted slaps of Bending add even juicier lures. Unfurling around a repetitive hook led by Elliot’s guitar, his potent vocals colour the imagination with their lyrical enticement. A flame of melodic scorching also adds a rich hue before the song takes a breather, allowing the listener’s body one too before it revs up its hypnotic suasion all over again.
The addictive start is swiftly matched by The Mischief Maker, a dark hearted slice of intimidation with robust basslines and sultry grooves which enslave attentions whilst beats slowly bruise the senses. Whether unleashing a keen gait or stalking ears, the track is an incendiary protagonist to give a blissful appetite further hungry urges which are rapidly fed by the acidic twang of The Lights Went Out. There is a scorched country-esque lilt to the invigorating prowl, the guitar of Elliot entwining ears with citric melodies and pungent hooks whilst vocally he snarls with a grizzled tone which sparks perfectly off of the heated climate of the song. The track has whispers of Tiger Army and The Quakes to its rich imposing breath but as with all songs no matter the hints it stands alone as something distinct to album and Norm And The Nightmarez.
The title track, though living up to its title, is rockabilly spawned even with its slight punkish nature. The bass and guitars sculpt a weave of riff and lures which play with body and soul like a sly puppeteer, twisting and turning imagination and passions inside out for a fevered submission. Its contagion lingers far beyond its stay though both Nightmare and Ton Up ensure in their company it is a distant memory at least. The first of the two right away triggers thoughts of The Reverend Horton Heat and Matchbox with flavourings of Johnny Burnette and Hasil Adkins also spicing the fiery encounter. Rhythmically and sonically the song entrances before the adrenaline rampage of its successor rumbles across the senses. Beats descend on ears with an unrelenting coaxing whilst the bass call of Bending brings delicious dark textures to the irresistible road trip. Elliot as ever commands the scenery with his vocals and guitar exploits whilst the trio unite for another ridiculously compelling and magnetic parade of roguish rockabilly incitement.
The flirtatious Sex Kitten teases senses with a salacious sexuality next, its smouldering grooves and sensual melodic curves as infectious as they are seductive. There is no denying a certain Stray Cats swagger to the song but also a danger to its stroll which could be compared to something with the edge of Guana Batz and addictiveness of Gene Vincent. It is an inescapable persuasion though one soon left in the shadow of the wonderful instrumental Devil Girl From Mars. There is something poetic to an intensively crafted piece of psychobilly music with its primal predation and sonic toxicity, and certainly it comes with no finer shape and beauty than here. Imagine a blend of The Tornadoes and The Frantic Flintstones and you get a whiff of its virulent might.
Both Pardon Me and The Past is a Place that I Just Can’t Go have energies and passions in a raw riot of pleasure, the first with its caustic sonic grazing and thumping rhythmic enticement whilst the following track stretches a menacing bait over ears again with jagged riffs, pulsating throaty slaps, and ear crowding beats. As impressive as its predecessor was, the second of the pair is another merciless encroaching on freedom with its rhythmic slavery, melodic venom, and vocal rapacity. It is impossible to choose a track which stands out over the rest on the album but this is always a forceful contender.
The fun filled Elvis Was a Zombie keeps things stomping along nicely and though it lacks the spark of other tracks for personal tastes it is impossible to dismiss because of that mischief and its rhythmic badgering. Its paler presence is soon swamped by the brilliant closing of the album. Massacre at Devils Plain with its Native American croon and howls over a gritty stride of sonic stabs and heavy footed rhythms, sets the imagination alight next whilst final song The Man with the X-Ray Eyes, leaves Psychobilly Infection on arguably its highest pinnacle. Bursting from a sample from the film of the same name, the track is a psychobilly irritant at its most potent and brilliant. It is a predator of a track, rhythms climbing all over the senses whilst guitar and vocals stir up the imagination with rich imposing hues. It is fair to say the song has elements of The Meteors all over it; The Hills Have Eyes springing to mind, but again Norm And The Nightmarez defuse any comparisons with their distinct invention and adventure.
From start to finish there is no escaping the might and sheer glory of Psychobilly Infection and the emergence of a brand new creative devil in our midst, though whether the UK, come to that the world is ready for Norm And The Nightmarez and their hellacious tempting only time will tell.
Psychobilly Infection is available now via Western Star Recordings @ http://www.western-star.co.uk/western-star-releases—cds_36/psychobilly-infection—norm-and-the-nightmarez_146.aspx
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