VARIOUS ARTISTS: Psycho Ward: CD

One thing I appreciate about most psychobilly comps is that they always include an obscene number of songs. What better way to spread the Gospel? How about make sure all twenty-five tracks rock and are pertinent to the concept, not just half of them? Knockout numbers (thirteen to be exact, how ‘billy is that?): Los Creepers, Henchmen, Hellbound Hearse, Big John Bates, Graveside Rockers, Mad Sin, Demon City Wreckers, Concombre Zombi, Blazing Haley, Phantom Rockers, Hellbillys, Koffin Kats, and the Rocketz. One complaint about the Blazing Haley song—don’t they have anything new? When I hear a Blazing Haley song, it’s almost always “Train to Nowhere.” There are three so-so tracks: Sick City Daggers sound like the Swingin’ Utters and Op Ivy; the Phenomenauts have a catchy tune that reminds me of Sigue Sigue Sputnik; and Speed Crazy has possibly the best bass line on the album, but the poor girl’s vocals flatline. Unfortunately, there are nine bad tracks: Barnyard Ballers (who I usually like), G-String (“Down with the Cops” does not sound tough with a French accent and a pop melody), Thee Merry Widows (I’m very disappointed—psycho really needs a female group, but not one that sounds like Tribe 8.), the Coffin Draggers (sounds like Ministry’s “Stigmata” in a wood chipper), Mad Ramblers (Credit: they know they’re extra metal but they want it that way—for the kids who like to pit hard. It’s just not my thing.), Slanderin’ (see full-length review this issue), Heartbreak Engines, Mad Masato and Scary Boom (I can’t pinpoint the reason on the last three). I was really excited to hear this and a little disappointed that I didn’t love most of the songs. However, overall, this isn’t a waste—there are enough good songs to make a full-length. You’ll know instinctively when to skip tracks. One more nit-pick: the album’s final artwork should have been spell-checked much more thoroughly, as should some of their advertisements.

 –thiringer (Split 7)