Stereo Terror – Schoolyard Heroes – Abominations
1) Dude, Where’s My Skin
2) Plastic Surgery Hall Of Fame
3) Cemetery Girls
4) Violence Is All The Rage
5) Children Of The Night
6) The Last Man On Earth
7) Razorblade Kisses
8) Sometimes They Come Back
9) Beautiful Woman Hunter
10) All The Pretty Corpses
11) Screaming “Theater” In A Crowded Fire
Let’s take a little trip back in time shall we? In 2007 the band Schoolyard Heroes had already released a few albums and had a bit of a reputation throughout the horrorpunk community. They had crafted a rather seamless blend of poppy punk with a dark edge. What helped separate them from the heaps of other bands doing the same was the vocals of Ryann Donnelly. There are certainly other bands focused on horror that have female vocals but Ryann is much of a different breed. There are absolutely no psychobilly influences to be found, and she has some of the most powerful pipes I’ve ever heard. In some songs you throw her angelic voice against the backing vocals of bassist Jonah Bergman and you have a recipe for some awesome horrorpunk.
Sadly, outside of a short Xmas themed EP in 2008, Abominations would be the band’s swan song as they announced their break up in 2009. Much like some of the greatest bands the world has ever seen (Blitzkid, I’m looking in your direction) while the band’s end may crush many people, we always have the music they crafted together to enjoy and bathe ourselves in.
Wasting no time the album and band get right in your face with the awesomely titled Dude, Where’s My Skin. Starting with the clapping intro seguing into Ryann’s vocals, it’s a perfect intro track. Moving through the album into one of the album’s strongest cuts with Cemetery Girls you know once you hit the bridge of “I am the Devil, and I’ve come to do the Devil’s work” that you are listening to a band that loves the dark side of life.
The band keeps the momentum going through Violence Is All The Rage and Children Of The Night before slowing it down for The Last Man On Earth which is more a showcase for the vocals as the band takes a bit of a backseat. But the band opts not to go that route for long and immediately gets back up to speed with Razorblade Kisses and Sometimes They Come Back.
Once again slowing down for Beautiful Woman Hunter before blasting through the gates with the one-two punch of All The Pretty Corpses and my pick for strongest track on the album, the creatively titled Screaming “Theater” In A Crowded Fire which I would say is maybe the best representation of the band at their best.
The band seems to always opt to leave a strong impression with the final song on each album being incredible. A perfect example of this would be on their 2003 debut album leaving Sincerely Yours, Jonathan Harker as the finale. It’s hard to pinpoint what makes these songs severed heads above the rest, but it may be the fact that they seem to just feel more epic than all the tracks preceding them. It is almost like the band purposely builds to these epic conclusions, to ensure that you keep coming back for more when they release new music.
Sadly, this would be the last we would get of Schoolyard Heroes outside of the aforementioned Xmas EP. After their breakup it appeared we might get some more horror-infused rock from a new band called Blood Cells featuring Ryann and Jonah but it was unfortunately not long for this world, as Ryann would move to New York City and start a career working on dance pop. It sucks, but it is sadly what it is.
We can only hope that one day Schoolyard Heroes decides to give it another go, but until then, we always have the music.
Screaming “Theater” In A Crowded Fire