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Monday, January 30, 2012

Flesh Eaters - Destroyed By Fire (Greatest Hits)

Name: Flesh Eaters
Album: Destroyed By Fire (Greatest Hits)
Year: 1987
Style: Punk, Gothic Rock/Metal.
Similar Bands: Cows, X, Social Distortion, Dead Milkmen, Iggy Pop, Bay of Pigs, Danzig
"One-Word" Review: 3-chord-Chaotic-Jagger-Punk
Based Out Of: LA, Cali
Label: SST Records, Shakeytown Music BMI
Destroyed By Fire - Cover, Liner Notes, Tape

Destroyed By Fire (1987)
  1. See You In The Boneyard 3:29
  2. Cyrano De Berger's Back 3:20
  3. Dominoes 1:58
  4. Impossible Crime 1:53
  5. Secret Life 4:54
  6. Hard Road to Follow 5:25
  7. Divine Horsemen 7:07 /
  8. The Wedding Dice 4:16
  9. Pony Dress 2:31
  10. We'll Never Die 3:20
  11. Everytime I Call Yr Name 4:07
  12. Lake of Burning Fire 7:41
  13. Drag My Name in Mud 6:33
Album Rating (1-10): 6.0

Members & Other Bands:
Dave Alvin - Guitar (Blasters, Knitters, Dollar Store)
Bill Bateman - Drums (Blasters, Red Devils)
Steve Berlin - Saxophone (Los Lobos, Blasters)
D.J. Bonebrake - Marimba (X, Original Sinners)
Chris Desjardins - Producer, Vocals Composer (Divine Horsemen)
John Doe - Bass (X)
Robin Jameson - Bass
Jill Jordan - Vocals (Background)
Don Kirk - Guitar, Composer
Christopher Wahl - Drums, Composer
Ed Colver - Flesh Eaters Picture

Unknown-ness: I don’t believe I’ve heard of them. The name is very symbolic with a type of music, that I could only assume this is going to be dark punk, perhaps with Gothic tones. Maybe I’ve heard of them before, but I can’t really recall what the music is like or where I’ve heard of them from. So as this is a greatest hits collection, I do not expect a cohesive album, but a good introduction to their sound.

Album Review: “See You In The Boneyard” begins with a jazzy sax and rocking, driving drum beat. The vocals are gloomy but cartoonish with a side of evil. There is a Stray Cats big band element to the music, but the energy from the rambling lyrics and the shriek energy at the end of each verse gives is a classic dirty punk element. Like an organic Social Distortion.
“Cyrano De Berger's Back” feels like a 50’s greaser love ballad, full of sax and rock-a-billy qualities covered by a morbid punk act. The vocals are raw and full of emotion while the music is just a repetitive canvas for the poetic vocals to flow across.
“Dominoes” starts out as a lazy side swaying melody, but you can feel the tension building, and it launches into a faster, straightforward punk song. It lacks the brass or jazzy backing instruments. But it goes back and forth between the two sections of slow catch-your-breath sections and fast-forwarding circle pit action.
“Impossible Crime” is a nervous, speedy three chord punk song. It changes key for the chorus but quickly changes back for the short verse sections. It is repetitive and driving, never letting down like a good short punk song should be. It actually reminds me of “Tiny Town” by Dead Milkmen. “Secret Life” starts with a nice bouncy bass beat. And the vocals sound drunk, and tripping all over the place up and down off key. But the shrill expression reminds me of Mick Jagger at his most chaotic, and more so, Iggy Pop. The sax is back, but not as produced and prevalent as the start of the record, and it feels less Americana punk, and more smooth jazz.
“Hard Road to Follow” is another drunken King Missile sounding song with minimal, actual singing, and a more slurred tempo. But the range of vocal styles and pitch changes keeps it very interesting, and the music is less punk, and more dark, heavy rock. This reminds me of the other album I reviewed by Bay of Pigs. The guitar has a sounds that is like “Money for Nothing” but heavier.
“Divine Horsemen” starts with some sort of sax sound that reminds me of Akira Kurosawa’s film Dreams, specifically the Peach Orchard sequence. But the music is just a repetitive back and forth guitar and bass section, with a repeating 2 note xylophone bit. The vocals are erratic and agitated, good for the dark punk atmosphere they like to project. The instrumental section at the end just goes on without much variation, to the point where I’d assume it would be quite boring to play.

“The Wedding Dice” starts out with dark prog, like Black Sabbath. And then the pace picks up to a driving punk pace. The vocals lack sobriety, but they parallel the melody to the point of repetitive boredom. During the instrumental break, we revisit the slow prog guitars, which are backed by a squealing sax loop.
“Pony Dress” revisits the short speed punk with erratic singing. It is a simple fast verse, rearranged melody for the chorus, and return to the verse. The monotony is broken up with a bit different section referring to the title of the song at the end. It is repetitive in itself, but as a whole it is refreshing.
“We'll Never Die” starts with a guitar hook that is quite catchy, and then the vocals range from deep, nasally and yowling all in the same lyrical line. At their darkest, they are deep and nearly crooning, like Danzig; at their highest they are raspy and a bit screechy. But there is an undeniable energy the entire time.
“Everytime I Call Yr Name” begins with a fuzzed out metal guitar played at a punk rock pace. The deep vocals again remind me of Danzig or X at their lowest and like an angry feral cat at their highest. Like most other songs, the music does not diverge much from the initial melody, so you have this long song without much change, except it acts as a blank canvas for vocal experimentation and exaggeration.
“Lake of Burning Fire” sounds like it should be a prog song, and it comes off that way with an unconventional beat and a backing sax. The vocals are whine-yelling at first, I’m guessing like they are stuck in hell. It feels a little like a Half-Japanese song. The vocals are the same cadence, but lower than Jad Fair. Then they surpass Fair, and resemble Megadeath’s shouty vocals. The repetitive loop of jazzy prog continues and more yelling moans overlap and feels like an unsupervised jam session. The song then comes back to more lyrics, but nothing new is brought to the song. And they revert back to the howling jam session which is very tedious and extended.
“Drag My Name in Mud” is a heavy sax influenced metal stomp. The drums kick in and it begins at a fast, driving pace, but the vocals feel like they are constantly trying to catch up to the music. This is three chord metal-punk. The slower stomp-tempo is brought back for a breakdown section about 2 min in. By this point, listening to this much, the song feels like it is just rehashing everything that has come before, and the result is a forced feeling, like ideas have all been used up and that well is dry.

Stand Out Track: See You in the Boneyard

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