GRAVEYARD BASHERS - WRECK 'EM DEAD
Originally released May 21st 2021 Reviewed by Kate January 29th 2023 Released via Lycans Den in collaboration with Bad Billy Records Buy the album here: https://badbillyrecords.bigcartel.com/.../graveyard... (limited edition red vinyl) https://graveyardbashers.bandcamp.com/album/wreckem-dead (digital)
Graveyard Bashers are: Lusse Punxwille- Upright Bass / Vocals Panu De Ła Rocka - Guitar /Vocals Von Chippendale - Drums / Percussion.
What was your ‘lightbulb song’? Pretty much everyone I’ve spoken to in the rockin’ scene has a song or album that flicked the switch in their brain and made them realise that music with an upright bass was their preferred genre. For a lot of folks it was the Meteors, but for me it was watching Tiger Army’s ‘Cupids Victim’ video on MTV when I was in sixth form. Now, some twenty-odd years later, I’ve fallen down the slippery psychobilly slope and into the pit of heavier bands. So, when Finnish trio Graveyard Bashers’s most recent album to date was re-released by the fine people of Bad Billy Records, it was very much time to celebrate. Sadly, Graveyard Bashers officially ‘retired’ in 2022, but fingers crossed this re-release will give this metal-influenced, unrelenting, brutal, fury band the push they need to get back together. This is not a record for the faint hearted or those afraid of things getting a little bit messy….but the album described as ‘10 fierce and twisted new psycho tracks about murder, mayhem and sex-crazed maniacs’ is so intensely brilliant, it’ll be the ‘lightbulb moment’ for someone out there.
Graveyard Brothel - Wow, what a name for a first song. Starting with an evil laugh and breaking into some very, very fast bass from Lusse, it hits you like a really enjoyable hammer to the head. Vocally, it’s pure scratchy, growly, throat-killing metal, and wrecking to this would be a matter of survival. Wonderfully intense, its an auditory wakeup like a lemon in the eye.
66 Cuts - slower with poppier bass and an almost ska beat on the chorus, this is dark number focusing less on bludgeoning you and more on a sneaky assassination. You’ve got to resist the urge to raise your fist skyward on the shout of ‘kill! Kill! Kill!’
Psychobilly Sleazebags - This is probably my favourite track on the record, because I genuinely think UK swanbilly heroes Stage Frite could do a brilliant cover of this. Every song on this album is very sweary, but there’s something really fun about their call to ‘let’s all be f-in psychobilly sleazebags!’: I don’t know if you’ve ever felt the urge to do something self-destructive like drink too many mint juleps or spend all your money on crepe-soled shoes, but that urge is what I pick up on this punk-guitar paradise of a track.
Mystery - Fast and furious, but unlike a the acting in a cliche car movie the guitar and bass are more subtle, letting Chippendale’s drumming power the song along. Big screams on the bridge and doubtless big stomping from the crowd.
Mean Motherf-er - The bouncy rhythm and far more intelligible vocals make this track about a lecherous werwolf a sleazy delight and another favourite. At this point in the album they seem to be doing the tactic Kryptonix of alternating between heavier vocals and lighter rhythm, then heavier instruments and lighter vocals which really works now they’ve got into their stride and made it clear they are not going to be confused with a cute doo woo group any time soon.
Straightjacket - Thematically about un-aliving oneself, this could be one to skip if you’re affected by the topic. That said, it’s just over ninety seconds of punkabilly gold: short, shouty, loud and very intense.
Set You On Fire - The tune could be by the Nekromantix if you tuned out the absolute visceral hatred propelled from the depths of Lusse and Panu’s souls on the nu-metal vocals. A whole crowd of folk screaming along with ‘Liar, Liar, I set you on fire,’ must be so very cathartic. Twisted Nightmare- Horror punkabilly about being stalked by demonic voices, the anguished wails and red hot guitar make this one compelling. I like that they’re playing with the tempo a bit more rather than going full pelt on everything as it makes you appreciate the highs and lows. This number would make them excellent collaborators for Demented Are Go, and what a lineup that would be.
Pure Evil - Getting faster, they might be pure evil but they’re also incredibly talented. You might not be into what they’re doing but dang, they’re good at it. Shoutalong magic for those of us who feel like a healthy scream now and again.
Fun & Games - It always makes me nervous when a darker band has a nice title to a track, because you know it’s not going to be pleasant. Murder and torture abound on this sinister, slow number which increases power as the main character’s reign of terror accelerates. Never had a song made me want less to be called a ‘pretty lady’, and if The Joker wrote a psychobilly song this would be it.
This album may not be for everyone, and that’s fine. Part of the beauty of the psychobilly genre is that there’s room for everyone, from sixteen year old Kate enjoying Tiger Army to ladies doing their eyeliner and listening to Horrorpops’ Dotted With Hearts to bikers stomping to Banane Metallik. This album is heavy, murderous, sinister, and so close to Metal that if it were a magnet, you’d never get it unstuck. It’s a brilliant choice to re-release and hopefully bring one of the toughest bands out there back into the fold to get us all shouting along to sinister tales of vengeance once they re-form.