Grave Robber / Be Afraid
Heads Up! This article is 15 years old.
If I burst anybodyâ€™s bubble here, Iâ€™m sorry. Despite the spooky cover art, album title (Be Afraid) and, uh, the bandâ€™s name, Grave Robberâ€™s brand of ghoulish cool is more along the lines of the Munstersâ€™ hot rod than, say, Saw IV. This is great news if you like your punk rock spiked with a little arsenic and a healthy dose of dark humor.
Be Afraid kicks off, predictably enough, with a spooky ambient soundscape dominated, natch, by a droning organ on â€œThe Exorcist.â€ A subterranean voice intones what could only be construed as a garbled curse that forces your hand to turn the volume knob all the way to the right as soon as â€œSkeletonsâ€ kicks in. This high-speed, Misfits-fueled tune sets the mood for the rest of this assured, great-sounding album (expertly recorded at T.T. Bush Studios). Itâ€™s chock-full of great Goth-punk, with enough cheekiness to let you breathe a little as you tiptoe through the bone yard, and a little whiff of vintage Janeâ€™s Addiction-esque vibe is thrown in for good measure. Upping the hilarity quotient, â€œBurn, Witch, Burnâ€ brims with a Danzig-meets-Spinal Tap feel, while Grave Robberâ€™s unrelenting chainsaw guitars are offset by cartoonish content; itâ€™s easy to picture a mosh pit surrounding a hapless figure being burned at the stake, as vocalist Wretched warbles, â€œYouâ€™re guilty by a mile /Â your mouth is filled with bile.â€ Say what you want about that couplet, it rhymes.
â€œRigor Mortisâ€ features a few new-wave-y touches amongst its stuttering monster beat, while massed â€œwhoasâ€ and a hearty refrain of â€œRigor Mortisâ€ drum the songâ€™s title into your head repeatedly, a la Judas Priest. The breakneck tempos and super-tight arrangements never let up as Wretched gives you his best Danzig/Rob Halford throughout Be Afraid. The violent pace is broken up briefly by the leg-dragging, lumbering instrumental, â€œGolgotha,â€ then itâ€™s back up to speed (apparently Starbucks has opened a new joint in one of the local graveyards). â€œI Wanna Kill You Over and Over Againâ€ is not only a contender for Song Title of the Year, the song is also an unholy amalgam of old-school rock nâ€™ roll and blatant morbidity, and, if thatâ€™s not enough, the chorus is insanely catchy (â€œI want to kill you over and over again / my friendâ€). Even though these guys (Nameless on guitar, Maggot on bass, Dr. Cadaver on â€œdoom tubs,â€ and all contributing what the liner notes refer to as â€œVokillsâ€) clearly want to dispose of us in the most cruel and horrifying manner possible, you canâ€™t help but pull for â€˜em.Â
For more information, shamble over to www.myspace.com/graverobberpunk).