The Casket Creatures – Deranged (2016)
Right off the bat, it’s my opinion that 2016 is already shaping up to be a good year for horror punk. It’s not hyperbole, and, while I’m not holding my breath for Glenn Danzig and Jerry Only to hug and make up, I have to say that the demon children of music who are following in their ghastly footprints are doing well to fill the void left by the Godfathers of Horror Punk… and The Casket Creatures are no exception.
Following the 2014 release of their EP She Screams, The Casket Creatures – frontman Ryan Cadaver, guitarist Derek Obscura, bassist Cliff Damange, and drummer J-Von Spookenstein – are back again and holding their position as one of the best horror punk outfits working today with their newest full-length album Deranged. From start to finish, Deranged is 100% a masterpiece, careening between horror punk and metal, with one dash of 60’s-inspired rock (“Gore On The Dance Floor 2 – One More Kill”) to give a bit of variety to the dark proceedings.
Deranged kicks off strongly with “Devil’s Trap,” which opens with Spookenstein’s drums and Obscura’s guitar building up to Ryan Cadaver’s first growling vocals of the album. The tracks continue through with the hard rockin’ tunes “Blood Junkies” and “Hexed,” combining the standard horror punk subject matter of vampirism and witchcraft with the Casket Creatures’ unique blend of screaming guitars and strong vocals. The title track continues the trend of the album’s strong, ferocious songs, with Cadaver screaming, “There’s something wrong with me / all you fuckers will agree!” Horror punk hasn’t sounded this angry in a while, and this is only four tracks in.
The aforementioned “Gore On The Dance Floor 2 (One More Kill)” breaks up the pace with the sound of 60’s-doo-wop-infused-rock, not too far removed from the sound of The Misfits’ latter-era classic “Saturday Night.” Anyone questioning whether Ryan Cadaver’s growling vocals could possibly express pathos or lovelorn misery, question no more, because this track is an absolute heartbreaker.
The pace and ferocity pick back up with “Springwood Slasher,” whose subject matter, of course, centers on our favorite dream-invading poster-boy-for-skin-grafts Freddy Krueger. Following that is “Raise The Dead,” which employs the classic “whoa-oh-oh” horror punk standard, but kicks it up to 11 with an excellent guitar solo and some cool vocal work toward the end of the track. This is followed by the excellent “Tucker and Dale,” an ode to the titular friendly hillbillies of Tucker and Dale Versus Evil, with hilarious lyrics starting with “I want to own some property / with my best friend / I want to meet some college kids / smile at them!” If there was ever a horror punk band to capture the sheer joy of a film like Tucker and Dale, it would be The Casket Creatures.
The album’s closing tracks – “Death Comes For You,” “Spirit of Vengeance,” and “The Man Who Cheated Death” – all continue to pack a punch, never letting up for a moment. Indeed, this is an album that doesn’t have a weak moment. Out of the last three tracks, “Spirit of Vengeance” is my personal favorite, but it’s notable and commendable that the album never lets up, and the band doesn’t try to usher any weak songs to the end of the record. The album ends with a bonus song – “VIG” (I’m not going to spoil the joke here) – but even this song, while a little more cheeky than the first eleven tracks, still carries the strength of the overall album.
The Casket Creatures continue to be major force in the landscape of current horror punk, and Deranged is another black jewel in their crown. While there are tracks that resonate with me a little more than others – “Deranged,” “Gore On The Dance Floor 2,” “Springwood Slasher,” and “Tucker and Dale,” this album is packed with killer songs from start to finish. I can’t wait to see what else these dudes have in store for us next, and, if this is the current state of horror punk, the state is fucking awesome.
Nathan Erdel is a screenwriter. He wrote Headless and some other stuff. He likes beer, metal, pizza, and horror. He has three cats and one wife.