Review: “Necrophaze” by Wednesday 13

Technically studio album number eight for Wednesday 13, if you’re not counting any of the Murderdolls, Gunfire 76, Frankenstein Drag Queens From Planet 13 or Bourbon Crow output, “Necrophaze” sees a cast of collaborators and co-conspirators join the blood drive. The band itself comprises vocalist Wednesday 13, guitarists Roman Surman and Jack Tankersley, bassist Troy Doebbler and drummer Kyle Castonovo while in addition Hellyeah and Stone Sour sticksman Roy Mayorga, also famed for his participation in Soulfly and Medication adds haunting synths throughout. Then you have guest appearances from Alexi Laiho of Children Of Bodom, Cristina Scabbia of Lucana Coil and Alice Cooper not to mention the fact that Devildriver guitarist Mike Spreitzer handled the recording, production and mastering for the album. “There’s A Party… But Bring Your Own Blood!”…

Having an introduction for the album within the track itself, “Necrophaze” has a horror themed spoken word part about eating the worms of corpses that brings in some industrial elements before letting fly into the riffs. The spoken word aspect adds the b-movie vibe that Wednesday 13 has always had and getting Alice Cooper on it probably fulfills a dream for Wednesday himself. It’s a tidy place to start with solid riffs and necessary evil. “Bring Your Own Blood” pokes fun at the horror films with a cheesy intro of its own while the industrial parts that litter the verses are subtle enough that it doesn’t come off as the band attempting to sound like Motionless in White. The lyrics and vocal delivery are hilariously good fun “if you’re gonna call a Doctor, call Frankenstein” is a fine example. You can’t listen to this and not crack a smile. “Zodiac” could probably be renamed “Zodiac Killer” and it’s slow dark burn groove is a fine example of the more recent years of the band. Buried samples are the order of the day while there is a chord progression that Surmon has borrowed from somewhere else that we can’t place at the time of writing.

“Monster” sees Cristina Scabbia of Lucana Coil appear and opens up the possibility of their pair of bands touring together. Rather than a ballad, they opt for a song that’s a headbangable cut with some fine lead flourishes. “You made me a monster, and now this monsters coming after you” perhaps has sentiment buried in broken relationships lyrically. What’s interesting about it is that Scabbia doesn’t get her own part, instead they user her vocals as a contrast and a counterweight throughout the track as a bright backing vocal that’s higher up in the mix, which works really well. After an opening synth part that brings in a meloncholy tone “Decompose” returns to the riffs with little bits synth nuancing out at various points and adding a strange and eccentric note. It’s perhaps a sing-a-long but it lacks a bit of bite and perhaps a killer solo. Jeff Clayton delivers the spoken word introduction “Be Warned” is suitably eerie haunting fireside tales of the dead that could have been used to being in the album but instead acts as a momentary pause before “The Hearse”.

Driving you to your farewell, “The Hearse” is a stomper of a tune with Kyle Castonovo taking the edge off some blast beats to give a the track a slow headbang appeal and some hints at Black Metal influences. “Tie Me A Noose” continues the flow of lyrical themes like the chapters of a book developing a story while Surmon gets the opportunity to lay down a guantlet with a fine solo. The rasping vocals of Wednesday himself are at their best here with the “whoa” moments being perfectly understated and more of a gang chant than an 80s hair Metal throwback. “Life Will Kill Us All” is a classic new take on previous tunes from the band that talk about a boredom in life with some tongue in cheek humour. It may come over as being a little bit flat the first few times but actually with another bright solo from Surmon, it is one that grows on you.

“Bury The Hatchet” takes the vibe of the previous track musically and adds a bit more pace and energy with a tongue in cheek humour that only Wednesday 13 possesses. It’s one that will if performed live will be better as the band will go hell for leather and see who can place faster. Essentially a Metal version of a song with a Punk Rock heart it is something we’ve heard from Wednesday before on the likes of “Calling All Corpses” and could use that extra 10% adrenaline. The end credit style of “Necrophaze Main Theme” is a fine addition with synths, piano, warped voices and evil laughter adding the closing you’d expect from an 80’s horror film without the spoken word part of the introduction. It also acts as a break before W.A.S.P. cover “Animal (F*** Like A Beast)” goes full throttle with a guest appearance from Children Of Bodom mastermind Alexi Laiho. There is no doubt that Blackie Lawless is  an influence for both bands and this take on a classic is a fine tribute. It’s been brought up to date with modernized production and using the albums crunchy guitar tones to give it a bit more punch while the solo is exactly what you’d expect [7.5/10]

Track listing

  1. Necrophaze (Ft. Alice Cooper)
  2. Bring Your Own Blood
  3. Zodiac
  4. Monster (Ft. Cristina Scabbia of Lucana Coil)
  5. Decompose
  6. Be Warned (Ft. Jeff Clayton)
  7. The Hearse
  8. Tie Me A Noose
  9. Life Will Kill Us All
  10. Bury The Hatchet
  11. Necrophaze Main Theme (End Credits)
  12. Animal (F*** Like A Beast (Ft. Alexi Laiho of Children Of Bodom) (W.A.S.P. Cover)

“Nercrophaze” by Wednesday 13 is out now via Nuclear Blast

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