The best part about Autumn, other than pumpkin spice lattes, is arguably Halloween. Especially for the rock community who relish in everything ghoulish. The Haxans also seem to love Halloween as their new album Party Monsters is so seasonal in almost smells of carved pumpkins singed by candles. The artwork even features retro Halloween masks you would get in discount shops. Also it is released on Friday the 13th – not long before the big day. So will this album be a trick or a treat?
For those who don’t know: The Haxans are made up of New Year’s Day vocalist Ash Costello, and bassist Matt Montgomery aka Piggy D who has worked with Rob Zombie, Wednesday 13, Alice Cooper and more. Quite an interesting meeting of minds as both have a background in all things horror and goth-rock. Yet, from the beginning I can’t really put my finger on whether this is a more raw rock sound for Costello, or a much lighter pop-y departure for both musicians. There’s nothing wrong with going in a less heavy direction, just ask William Control. The awesome first track ‘Lights Out’ embodies this, there is an old school rockabilly feel to it but also a modern punk-y feel to it. This wouldn’t even sound wrong if Rob Zombie provided vocals for it.
As the album progresses we spot a few difference influences from the likes of The Cramps and Misfits to The B-52s…and I can’t be the only one who gets a Lady Gaga vibe from this. The tracks are really Halloween party through-and-through, its almost a concept album. Tracks like ‘Black Cat Bone’ and Misfits cover ‘Vampira’ are the best examples of this. The lyrics are filled with references to monster mythology and cult horror b-movies, which is a great touch.
So the duo have a winning formula, which is good, but this also the downfall of Party Monsters. It gets to a point Where each track just sounds like the last. At 40 minutes long this feels a little gimmick-y towards the end. Dare I say it has an air of Disney soundtrack to it?
Some New Year’s Day fans will love this, but if it wasn’t for Montgomery and Costello’s previous pedigree I’d struggle to see a clear audience for this album. It’s way too pop orientated for rock fans, but too horror themed for pop fans. This is not at all a bad album, but there is still room for improvement. If you are a big New Year’s Day fan, and want to hear Ash Costello singing horror-pop, give it a listen. Also if you want something a bit different to listen to at a Halloween party, this is the one. Trick or treat? Well this is more like the house that gives you raisins instead of sweets.