Nekromantix – [Album]

Saturday, 27 August 2011

It's unfortunate how rockabilly music has become increasingly reliant upon outside sounds and cliches to keep it looking even passably vital as time and trends have passed. Like some kind of parasite, rockabilly will attach itself to another kind of music (rock, punk, hardcore and the soundtracks to horror movies have all been previous victims) and sycophantically leach its essence until there's nothing usable left to take, and then move on to another victim. Nothing really changes and rockabilly hasn't grown any stronger for a prolonged period of time, there are just a few new interesting noises which explode out of the music briefly, and then it goes back underground in a state of torpor or the corpse atrophies completely. After a twenty-two-year stretch of siphoning the essence from both punk and horror movie soundtracks, it's starting to look like The Nekrmantix may be on their last legs now, but at least they're bidding adieu with some dignity on What Happens In Hell, Stays In Hell. At least we can hope the band is on its way out because while no announcement has been made and WHIHSIH isn't horrible (well, it could be worse), it's plain to see that the tires are beginning to go bald.

Refreshed after having taken four years to drain some more scary/punky fluid, bassist/singer Kim Nekroman, new(ish) guitarist Fransisco Mesa and new(ish) drummer Lux hit the ground running as they open the curtains on their eighth LP with “Bats In My Pants.” Seeming like they may be full-to-bursting with amphetamine power, the band sets new personal records for speed as Lux shoves the procession into gear and Mesa blazes through incendiary run after incendiary run while Nekroman growls his way out of the garage. It's a solid start and it's easy to fall under the band's spell again but, even as early as “Nekrotastic Extasy” though, the band begins to languish as the sound seems to get thinner and the “run to you” refrain which closes that song sounds a little more like Bryan Adams than anyone could possibly be comfortable with. “Sleepwalker With A Gun” slips a little further still by sounding a little too urbane and contained for its own good, and listeners won't be able to help but wonder where the band is headed.

Where you ask? Straight down the toilet.

As What Happens In Hell… continues, the returns continue to diminish as the title track, “Once We Were Lovers,” “Love You Deadly” and “Bela Lugosi's Star” all get more limp by measurable increments. The band clearly seems to be struggling to find a solid footing as the continually thin sound takes its toll and the lack of hooks becomes the consistent problem which eventually tanks the record. There isn't even one thing that a listener could point to and say if it were changed, things would improve; the songs just don't have the spark which fans would hope for. By the time “Triskaedaekaphobia” rolls around to close out the record wordlessly, listeners will find themselves happy to see the whole thing end and that they won't be subjected to more of this embarrassment.

So what happens now? After such a solid career, to say that What Happens In Hell, Stays In Hell is a letdown is an understatement is the mother of all understatements. The best thing that could possibly happen (though that doesn't mean it will) is that The Nekromantix will either cut their losses as fades away with dignity, or find a new host to drain for inspiration; the reserves are clearly dry here.



What Happens In Hell, Stays In Hell
is out now. Buy it here on Amazon .

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