Misfits - Walk Among Us
Slash Records
Hardcore Punk
13 songs (24:56)
Release year: 1982
Reviewed by Koeppe

Having not been alive in ’82 when this album was released, I don’t have any awesome story about first hearing this, cruising with my droogs, real horrorshow like or anything of the such. Instead, I got into the Misfits when I was 16, searching for music, loving Danzig’s solo output and seeing all those classic photos of Burton, Hammett and Hetfield in cut-up Misfits shirts during Metallica’s hey-day. Twenty-five years after its release, however, I have ended up cruising late at night, hollering along to the classic horror punk tunes under the light of the moon. The influence of such a prolific band as the Misfits is hard to discern given how awful bands cite them as ab influence and how all the cool kids wear their logo-adorned beanies, but given how thrash bands like Anthrax and Slayer rocked their tees throughout the '80s and Jamey Jasta having named Hatebreed after a track on this album, it is hard to deny the band’s influence in the scene.

Sci-fi/horror b-movies are the thematic contents in residence here: the album cover a collage of monsters and UFOs with an image of the band, rocking their trademark devillocks. Fuck anarchy. No politics. Instead, what you get is hedonistic fun in the form of Ramones influenced punk set to the backdrop of ‘50s horror tropes. Glenn Danzig complained in an interview from the book, American Hardcore: A Tribal History how the production was forced, the pace sped up, leaving the album to be a simple punk album that ends before you know it began. How fortunate of an error, I say!

Glenn Danzig wrote and composed all the songs on the album, wearing his ‘50s influences on his sleeves from his classic croon to the simple melodies re-imagined through a punk lens. 20 Eyes instantly grabs the listener with its straightforward punk vibe, simple verse/chorus suited for chanting and catchy as hell riffs, but what stands out is Danzig’s wails. The drums never stand out, but they know the role they fill. I Turned Into A Martian showcasing Arthur Googy’s perfect fills. All Hell Breaks Loose paints a terrifying scene of a concert turned evil ritual, where the band’s fans sign their names in their parents’ blood with organs bursting in evil gesticulations as the music opens the gates to hell. Vampira is right out of the ‘50s, describing a tale of lust and seduction in a cemetery, as if Danzig was channeling a zombified Chuck Berry or Screaming Jay Hawkins.

Mommy Can I Go Out and Kill Tonight is where the album’s punk cred shines forth. A hardcore classic, the band opted to put a live recording on the studio album. No idea why but damn it works. Danzig calls out “Mommy” before that dirty rumbling bass kicks in and Danzig’s frantic, nearly demonic vocals are unleashed, setting a pace that undermines any majestic aura his croon might have established. The instruments cut out and Danzig calls out “Mommy…can I go out AND KILL TONIGHT!” The tale of a repressed young boy who strikes out on a murder spree to please his mother is so metal. Cannibal Corpse, eat your heart out.

Skulls’ morbidly romantic tale of decapitating all the pretty ladies shows the depths of the band where they stand out from Social Distortion or Black Flag, for example. The song predates the classic post-punk/gothic sound of something like The Damned’s Phantasmagoria, while maintaining firm roots in punk as the guys never slow down in order to establish the sound of a ballad. Devil’s Whorehouse opens with a classic bass line before the song hits a proto-psychobilly pace a la Guana Batz.

Some might have noticed that perhaps this review fetishizes Danzig’s work here as if it was one of his solo albums. Where is the discussion of Jerry Only? Fuck Jerry Only. Rejuvenating a band that he barely artistically contributed to and turning it into a fashion brand: not punk. In all honesty, the Misfits wouldn’t have existed without him laboring and footing the bill all those years, while Danzig “managed” their affairs. However, the influence of a band like the Misfits isn’t Only’s guitar playing, but instead how the aesthetic themes and punk energy combined to create classic tunes that formed what metal came to be.

Killing Songs :
Mommy, Can I Go Out and Kill Tonight; Skulls; Devil’s Whorehouse
Koeppe quoted CLASSIC
Other albums by Misfits that we have reviewed:
Misfits - Coffin Box reviewed by Ben and quoted no quote
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