At long last Wednesday 13’s brand new album Necrophaze is upon us! Recorded and produced by Devildriver guitarist Michael Spreitzer, it is the long awaited follow up to 2017’s Condolences and is the band’s second album on the Nuclear Blast label. But that however is where the similarities end. Unlike its darker predecessor, this album plays out like an 80’s horror movie, with the opening title track featuring an eerie synth intro one might expect from the likes of Friday the 13th or Nightmare on Elm Street. This opening number also boasts some great spoken word performed by none other than the legendary Alice Cooper.
Continuing to build upon the horror movie aesthetic, “Bring Your Own Blood” sounds like a cross between a vampire gathering and a teenage house party. It could easily be on The Lost Boys soundtrack if the movie wasn’t already such a classic. And in a similar fashion, “Zodiac” really sets the mood with news report samples about the Zodiac Killer. It also reprises the satisfyingly eerie synths from earlier along with an unrelenting twin guitar attack courtesy of Roman Surman and Jack Tankersley that is second to none.
Next track “Monster” hearkens back to some of Wednesday 13’s earlier work with the terrific horror melodies the band are famous for making a triumphant return. However on this occasion Wednesday 13 is not alone in his endeavour as he is joined by the unmistakable vocals of Christina Scabbia of Lacuna Coil. “Decompose” was both the album’s first single released on the 26th of July and one of the first songs written for the album by drummer Kyle Castronovo. It begins more calmly than the earlier portion of the album featuring yet another guest appearance in the form of piano played by Roy Mayorga of Stone Sour. Roy also provided the synth soundscape or “soundtrack” for the majority of the album too. The song soon builds up to an epic crescendo that brings the first act of the album to a close.
At the midway point “Be Warned” is a spoken word interlude featuring Jeff Clayton of ANTiSEEN & GG Allin’s Murder Junkies. The track sounds like an excerpt from the finale of a horror movie, wherein the heroes mentor or other advisory figure prepares the hero for the final battle against the antagonist. It is a perfect interlude to bridge the gap between the previous two “classic Wednesday” tracks and the hell that is unleashed on “The Hearse” and “Time Me A Noose”, two of the heaviest cuts on the album.
Despite the misleading title “Life Will Kill Us All” is surprisingly light at first and along with “Bury The Hatchet” is another homage to Wednesday 13 of old. Both songs encompass everything that die-hard fans will identify as being the band’s classic sound and yet there is an intriguing sense of maturity that comes with this being their eighth album overall. The line-up has remained unchanged for the past five years or so and although these recent efforts may be a far cry from “I Walked With A Zombie” or “Bad Things” they are equally as full of energy and as provocative as ever.
The penultimate track is aptly named “Necrophaze Main Theme (End Credits)” and is somewhat of a reprise of the intro, just like the end credits of a movie as you might have guessed. This brings the record full circle and gives me the impression that Necrophaze is almost a concept album but not quite. And just when you thought the album was over, in comes “Animal (Fuck Like A Beast)” complete with Alexi Laiho of Children of Bodom. This is the extra song that comes on after the main feature to reward you if you’ve hung around until the end of the credits, just like all good movie-goers should.
With the constant back and forth between “dark and gloomy” and “80’s B-movie”, there is something for everybody and plenty of horror punk to be admired here. Necrophaze is sure to be a hit amongst the band’s more recent fans, their hardcore fanbase from way back, and even brand new Wednesday 13 converts to boot.
Necrophaze will be released on the 27th September.