1) Good To Be Bad
2) Scream Come True
3) Drink The Blood
4) Home Is Where The Haunt Is
5) Look Who’s Stalking
8) Never Sleep Again
9) Life In Space
10) End Of The Line
11) Creeping Beauty Part 2
12) You Are What We Eat
It is finally here. After a long wait, a Kickstarter campaign and much hype, the new album from Al B. Damned is finally upon us. We were teased of the sound of the new album with the release of the Look Who’s Stalking single, which we reviewed here as well as our Deadhouse Interview with the man himself, which you can find here. And now it is here. Will the album live up to the hype that has surrounded it for longtime fans of both Al B. Damned as well as The Texas Drag Queen Massacre?
I can firmly say that it is absolutely worth the hype. Starting with the epic sounding Good To Be Bad the album wastes no time getting right in your face and kicking your ass. I’ve already told the man himself that this song may be my favorite intro track to an album ever, it is most certainly in the top 3 that I have ever heard in the genre for sure. Beginning with a 45 second or so of just music, leading into the slow first verse which builds and builds until the chorus where the song explodes. It’s hard to explain in words, but everything about the song comes at you in a perfect way. The song also features lyrical throwbacks to the band’s previous works, The Darker Side Of Me and Sick Little Things from the Texas Drag Queen Massacre days.
Scream Come True continues the momentum from the opening track, and is a song that is completely driven by the guitar riff through the verses, and maintains through the chorus, as Damned sings about a love that is rejected by everyone, but is still pursued. If you aren’t singing along with the chorus by the end of the song, you may be dead and need to have someone check your pulse. Drink The Blood is an interesting animal. The first few times I listened to this clear tribute to The Lost Boys I wasn’t completely taken with it. But with repeat listens it has become one of my favorite tracks on the album. As Damned sings “Party all night, never grow up and never die” there is no way you can’t at the very least admire how damned catchy the band has made the song. I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention the drumming from longtime collaborator Pip Sickness, who helps anchor the songs throughout the album. Drink The Blood also may have the best bridge of any song on the album, as everything slows down and you can hear a sense of longing and pain in Damned‘s voice. It also features some of the best backing vocals on the album courtesy of Pip.
Home Is Where The Haunt Is starts slow before the whole band comes in bringing up the tempo, but still remaining one of the more mellow songs on the album. I am reminded of Everything Can Burn from Damned‘s 2010 release The Darker Side Of Me if it grew up and learned to hit a little harder. After the in-your-face style of the first three tracks Home serves as a nice intermission that also makes you question if the album is moving in a slower direction. Throwing that notion out the window, the first single from the album, Look Who’s Stalking bursts into action kicking ass and taking names. I won’t go into too much detail with this song, as I already covered it in my review of the single, which you can find here.
Exorsister is a fun track that I can’t help but think of as a spiritual successor to the classic Texas Drag Queen Massacre song Possessed. In complete contrast to that song though, Exorsister is a fast unrelenting track, with a quick yet solid guitar solo leading into the bridge. Modified follows and features very eerie verses with a chorus that for some reason reminds me of early 2000’s metal if they were singing about dismemberment and Frankensteining bodies together. If you have ever seen the video for B-Movie Monster from The Seven EP, this song would easily fit that video without a doubt.
Never Sleep Again is a song that should be familiar to any Al B. Damned fan as he released it back in 2014 as a one-off track, but it’s been brought back for inclusion on this album. The ode to Freddy Krueger and the Nightmare On Elm Street films certainly fits amongst the other tracks on For Old Time’s Stake. I recall hearing that it was being reworked for this album, but I do not notice any changes, so if there are any they are very subtle. Life In Space is a very interesting track. It’s the first almost ballad-like song on the album, slowing everything for its four minute duration. Damned sings of disappearing from the lackluster human race to live amongst the stars and its vast emptiness. You can hear a sense of pain in his singing, which helps elevate the song beyond standard rock ballad fare.
End Of The Line turns the aggression back up for a good old fashioned end of the world story. Basing the song around the need of having someone to face the apocalypse with, by the time Damned sings “I just want a kiss from your apoca-lips” there is almost no chance you won’t be enthralled with the song and singing along. Following the apocalyptic themes, Damned and Sickness revisit one of the most popular Texas Drag Queen Massacre songs, Creeping Beauty off of 2008’s Sick Little Things. Creeping Beauty Part 2 begins with the ending of the original TDQM song, before coming into its own. Given that the original Creeping Beauty is such a favorite of many fans, Part 2 has rather large shoes to fill. Thankfully the song takes the lead from the original song, and runs with it and surpasses the greatness of the original. Since receiving the album, it’s safe to say that this song has been the one I have listened to the most. At times, I have thrown it on repeat and listened to it for hours on end.
Tackling Cannibal Holocaust and the whole cannibal subgenre of horror movies, You Are What We Eat is a catchy and fast rock song. The chorus may be the most accessible portion of the album, and the song would be a fantastic track to introduce new fans to Al B. Damned and the song also features a great guitar solo leading into the bridge. The album then comes to a close with the interesting Mommy. A slow and eerie song clearly taking influence from Psycho‘s Norman Bates or Ed Gein, who was the basis for Bates in the first place. In my mind I almost see the song as a follow-up to Are You Proud Of Me Now? off of Sick Little Things by The Texas Drag Queen Massacre, but I am likely reading into it too much. All that aside, Mommy ends the album on a creepy note, and there is not much more you can ask for from a horrorpunk album.
It is abundantly clear that Al B. Damned and Pip Sickness put their heart and soul into For Old Time’s Stake, as every song clearly represents a piece of the band. It’s been five years since the release of their debut album, The Darker Side Of Me, and in that five years the only other music we’ve received was the well-received Seven EP but longtime fans like myself have clamored for a new full-length album. For Old Time’s Stake does not disappoint in any way. It represents the best of both men’s combined history, and any fan should be able to find something to like within the album’s 13 songs. The only thing we can hope for now is that this isn’t the last we hear of the band and that down the line we get more music from them down the line. But if for whatever reason we do not, we can take solace in the fact that with For Old Time’s Stake, they are going out with one hell of a bang.
Creeping Beauty Part 2