REVIEW: WEDNESDAY 13 – “Condolences”
If The Addams Family and The Munsters found themselves with a love spawn of their own, a little tongue in cheek ghoul with an affinity for all things horror, the likelihood is their offspring would have been dressed in black, sporting a cowboy hat and named Wednesday 13. For fans of the artist, this is a far more plausible tale of upbringing than one Joseph Poole from Charlotte, North Carolina. And as a fan of conspiracy theories in both his lyrics and personal life, Wednesday himself would probably take little convincing with regard to supporting it. Having been the face of more than a few bands in his time, the most popular being his ongoing collaboration with Joey Jordison (ex – Slipknot and current drummer for VIMIC) in the horror – punk band Murderdolls, Wednesday 13 ventured down the solo path well over a decade ago and has come a long way since his always enjoyable debut album, ‘Transylvania 90210’. Today, what will be his seventh studio album, ‘Condolences’ is set for a June release and while it may not act as the generic feel good hit of the summer (not that it ever wanted to be), there is a lot to be said for this record.
As he likes to do with most of his albums, the opening moments of ‘Condolences’ is a brief intro comprised of spooky sounds, this time in the form of manic laughter, unsettling whispers and an Edgar Allen Poe heart beat that feels ready to explode by the end. And it all falls under the title “Last Rites”. Once the intro concludes we are met with the first full length track and the records leading single, “What the Night Brings”. A fun, fiery and catchy number, but a pretty run of the mill Wednesday 13 song. Up to this point, ‘Condolences’ has presented itself as a pretty standard shock rock horror record, but what arrives next suggests that it may have all been a ruse to get the listener to feel comfortable, to buy into the preconception that this was a recycled and regurgitated version of something you had heard once before.
Once “Cadaverous” kicks in it presents us with a heavier, more edgy and direct Wednesday 13. It is in “Cadaverous” that for the first time we really get a sense of something fresh, and of what the unity between these musicians can bring, seen in the albums latest release, “Blood Sick,” with the intensity continuing to peak on “Good Riddance.” Throughout the record it is, unmistakably, the guitars and drums that stand unapologetic at the forefront of these songs, emulating old school horror sounds like the Theremin and church organs in earlier tracks, as well as defining the albums new heavier direction, particularly in “Omen Amen” and “Lonesome Road to Hell” later on.
This noticeable change in direction may have something to do with handing over the role of producer (a position Wednesday takes very seriously) to Chris “Zeuss” Harris, who also produced the last Murderdolls album before their hiatus. As opposed to passing demos back and forth over email, this time around the band went about writing the material for ‘Condolences’ in a much more old school and organic fashion by getting into a room together and writing material before embarking on an intense, month long solid recording process. Although this approach may not always be feasible and schedule permitting, the evidence of its benefits are heard in the results of the final production, most notable on tracks like “You Breathe, I Kill” and “Cruel To You”.