With Bloodsucking Zombies From Outer Space (or BZFOS for short), it’s hard to judge if they have truly ‘made it’ or not. Not that it matters to them I assume, nor does it affect their music one bit, yet it’s hard to gauge if people know them as a band or just heard the name and thought ‘What the hell is that?’ If you’re a regular RAMzine reader and have never delved into the world of horror-punk – you are missing out, trust me.
To describe horror-punk is a bit of a complicated one. It’s almost describing to someone what is classed as a ‘cult movie’ – I don’t think anyone is really 100% sure. The subgenre is rooted in bands like Misfits, The Cramps, The Damned and even the likes of Alice Cooper. The most well-known example of this is Wednesday 13, despite his leaning towards the metal side of the sub-genre. The lyrics generally consist of horror movie references, or similar such as spooky stories, serial killers and the macabre. Using this album, All These Fiendish Things, as an example lead single ‘Nice Day For An Excorism’ is the best way to understand the tropes of this style. It has themes of horror, possession, and starts with a quote from Child’s Play.
BZFOS themselves have been around for quite a while now and have only made a dent in the mainland European punk scene, and only seem to be known to British audiences in small circles. Having said that All These Fiendish Things may be the record to bring them to the forefront of the rock and alternative music scene. There’s a lot of experimentation with genre styles on this one, as BZFOS have a rockabilly vibe to them but there are a few tracks, such as ‘Sleepaway Camp 95’, that are similar to punk-pop acts, most notably AFI and Alkaline Trio. ‘Helluzinations’ is a huge departure being the most ‘metal’ track on the album, and could even be a Wednesday 13 tune.
There are even a few nods to the likes of Alice Cooper or Rob Zombie with a few glam-inspired tracks like ‘Rock N Roll Vampires’ which kind of reminds me of The Lost Boys, not sure if that is their intent though. A highlight of this record has to be ‘Don’t Answer The Phone’ again based on horror movie tropes. It’s the lyrics that really sell this one, “My cellphone is your tombstone…” is one of the best lines I’ve heard in their subgenre. As mentioned earlier this might be the most accessible album in BZFOS’ discovery and could even get fans of Green Day, Rancid or… dare I say it… My Chemical Romance into the more ‘horror-fying’ side of the punk subculture.
The album ends with a semi-acoustic affair, ‘Gods Own Mistake’ which takes a more serious tone in comparison to the slightly tongue-in-cheek vibe of the other 12 tracks. This might still be about horror movies and I’m not getting it, but this is as close as I’ve heard this kind of band try a power ballad complete with a full-on guitar solo and change in direction towards the end. Although the tracks are fairly short, this still feels like a long album.
Overall this is a great return for the Austrian horror-punks, maybe a good way for them to crossover outside of the subgenre and horror-punk subculture. They certainly deserve it as they have the talent. This has great replay-abliity and already a contender for best of the year… and we’re barely into February. It would be great to see a band like this at a festival like Download or Bloodstock.