The album kicks off with Blood Sucker, which opens with a groovy bass line before powering on in true WEDNESDAY style with horror-themed lyrics and a crushing beat throughout. Something this album has that has been lacking on previous releases, is guitar solos. One could argue that they are not an essential part of punk music, but on The Dixie Dead they compliment the songs perfectly. Perhaps it’s because the latest album is far heavier than its predecessors, but guitarist ROMAN SURMAN’s contributions are a standout from the start. The musicianship and production value for the record is outstanding, although it is SURMAN’s guitar work that is most noteworthy, and compliments WEDNESDAY’s vocals most effectively.
Get Your Grave On is one of the heaviest tracks on the album. The song features a lyrical throwback to God Is A Lie from 2005’s Transylvania 90210, but couldn’t be more different from that album in every other way. The opening two songs set the tone for the rest of the record perfectly. In many ways, the entire release sounds like it could be an accompaniment to one of those b –grade horror films we all love. The tongue-in-cheek lyrics and references to all things creepy ensure that, even though the music is a little different for WEDNESDAY 13, each song has his trademark sense of humour and an undeniable sense of ghoulish fun.
Curse The Living and Too Fast For Blood follow a similar formula, without falling into the trap of sounding the same as the other songs on the first half of the album. The consistency, both in terms of the musical style and the quality, is what gets the record off to such a good start.
WEDNESDAY’s Southern roots and love for outlaw country music is evident throughout album, with subtle Southern influences sneaking into his typical rock sound. This is most apparent in the record’s title track. The Dixie Dead carries a feeling of rock ‘n roll meets Texas cowboy; a catchy, upbeat number that somehow incorporates the darkness of country music into what is otherwise a fun song.
It just wouldn’t be a WEDNESDAY 13 album without a track to send chills down your spine. Ghost Stories does just that. There is a maturity to the song that does not come across in some of the other tracks. It is a hauntingly beautiful song that somehow maintains the same heaviness of the rest of the album, but takes on a much creepier tone. The emotive elements of the song are evocative of the Skeletons album, but musically it is unlike anything WEDNESDAY has released before. The elegance of the song comes from the simplicity and minimalism of the music, despite the addition of a piano track. This combined with the slow, strained vocals, creates a truly unique song that should sound out of place on the album. However, it works in relation to the other songs. Stylistically, Ghost Stories stands apart from the remainder of The Dixie Dead , but if the album is viewed as a story or a soundtrack, it fits perfectly amongst the violence and horror.
There isn’t a great number of WEDNESDAY 13 songs that come across as being particularly personal. It doesn’t get much more personal than Fuck You (In Memory Of...). The song is reminiscent of FRANKENSTEIN DRAG QUEENS’ I Love To Say Fuck, in that it’s bound to be a crowd favourite, with a catchy chorus and more swearing than you could poke a fucking stick at. Not only that, it also has a genuine, fun quality to it that takes the listener back to the Transylvania 90210 days.
The album ends on a high with Hands of the Ripper. The wailing guitar solo in particular ties the album up nicely. Artists such as WEDNESDAY 13 aren’t given the credit they deserve, mostly due to the fact that the music is far from serious. But it’s the clever combination of humour and horror that makes The Dixie Dead such an enjoyable listening experience. It’s a mixture of clever song writing and outstanding musical talent, blended with inspiration taken from b-grade horror films, which makes this album so unique.
The record features WEDNESDAY’s trademark rock ‘n roll sound, and contains throwbacks to his previous releases both musically and lyrically. However The Dixie Dead is not a rehash of past albums. Instead it stays true to what fans have come to expect from a WEDNEDAY 13 release, but with a fresh new take.
The Dixie Dead is without a doubt WEDNESDAY 13’s heaviest release yet. It is also his most technical in terms of extra effects, guitar solos, and high production value, which combine to make it his best album so far.
The Dixie Dead will be released February 22nd on 3Wise Records.
Review by Sofie Marsden