Fiends rejoice! Horror punk legends, the Misfits, return with The Devil’s Rain after quite a wait. This is the first album since 2003′s Project 1950 and the first of original material since 1999′s Famous Monsters. This album features the solid lineup of Jerry Only, former Black Flag member Dez Cadena, and former Murphy’s Law member Eric “Chupacabra” Arce. Sure, some fans are still going to gripe and say that witout Glenn Danzig this isn’t the “true” Misfits. While a part of me is always going to agree with that you just gotta respect Jerry Only for what he’s done. He has fought and worked hard to keep the band and it’s spirit alive. I say he’s done a fine job with it. He also does great as the lead vocalist which he already proved on Project 1950. His Elvis from Hell vocal style fits the music and its themes nicely. The Devil’s Rain is packed full of horror and sci-fi themes keeping with the tradition of the genre the band created. It’s all delivered with their trademark mix of punk and 50′s inspired rock.
Some of the songs have a much mellower approach than past offerings from the band. Especially compared to the previous two albums with Michale Graves that had a more metal edge to them. That’s not to say they’ve lost steam or eased away from their punk roots any though. The punk attitude and style the Misfits helped perfect is still present and strong. The Devil’s Rain is an attempt to bring together all of the elements the band has utilized over the years. For the most part it succeeds. Things kick off with the title track, “The Devil’s Rain.” It has a nice grooving rhythm and shows early on the excellent guitar touches by Cadena on the album. Arce provides a somewhat tribal beat that helps build the atmosphere. This track along with “Dark Shadows” and “Cold in Hell” represent some of the less aggressive songs on the album. “Where Do They Go” even has a doo-wop vibe to it with the female backing vocals.
“Vivid Red” shows more of a driving force with that classic punk rock vibe coming out. “Land of the Dead” is easily my favorite track. It has a great rhythm and some some nice riffs coming from Cadena. It has such a catchy sing-along chorus(many of the songs do) that’s impossible not to get into. “Father” is another standout track with it’s dark heavy vibe. It features yet another hellishly good chorus. It’s just too bad a lot of the songs don’t leave this impression. Many just lack that driving aggressive nature I was looking for.
Musically, things are pretty tight. There’s plenty of great heavy riffs from Cadena and pulsing bass grooves from Only. Eric Arce’s drumming fits the music perfectly. Dez Cadena has a few shining moments on the album. Aside from the excellent riffs he lays down track after track, he let’s loose some killer solos like on “Curse of the Mummy’s Hand” and “Jack the Ripper.” While there is a good mix of the laid back groove and straightforward punk it’s a little unbalanced. There’s less of the heavier punk and metal elements and throughout sixteen tracks it can be a little disappointing. There’s also the blatant predictability this album falls victim to at times. That can be a good thing in this genre, but not all the time.
The Devil’s Rain is a solid album to add to The Misfits catalog and legacy. It’s not exactly what I was hoping and waiting for, but it’s fun to listen to and has plenty of addictive songs. At the end of the day we have another Misfits album thanks to Only. It’s damn sure better than no Misfits at all! Let’s all keep in mind that that the Jerry Only-led era of the band has been around longer than the original Danzig-era was. The original spirit is still intact and this IS The Misfits we have now.
It pains me as a longtime fan and diehard fiend not to rate this album higher, but I feel this is what it honestly deserves.