Good news, my creeps: Michale Graves‘ new horror rock opus WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE is almost here, and I’ve had a chance to let it fill up my eerie earholes! Read on for a full review, an interview with the man himself, and more!
MICHALE GRAVES – WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE (MUSIC REVIEW)
• RELEASE DATE: Available Now
I can’t even describe how excited I was to get my greedy lil’ claws on the latest release from Michale Graves. Not only is this the newest entry in his legacy of horror-punk-terror tunes, this album promised a first: a sequel to a song he penned back in his tenure in the group that started the whole shebang, the Misfits… and not just any song, my fiends—this would be a follow up to what is undoubtedly his signature song, Crying on a Saturday Night! Admittedly, that is a s–t-ton to live up to, so let’s slap on the ol’ haunted headphones and see how this arcane audio pans out!
The first thing you will notice is that this album is so much more than a horror punk release. Graves continues to mix and match styles as he’s done on all of his Hydraulic releases; you get slower, somber jams mixed and matched Frankenstein-style with heavier, almost metal material (closest to his Misfits 95 days) as well as the more traditional punk flavored selections. There are also some serious grooves laid down here that are a new addition to Michale’s repertoire and bring to mind echoes of Black Sabbath.
Of course, all of these share a common thread: the subject matter that would be right at home on a Saturday monster movie matinee on any given local television station of our misspent youth. Simply put, it’s this constant experimentation (as well as growth) that has not only kept Michale’s music vibrant and alive, but relevant as well. I mean, I love Glenn Danzig as much as the next cat, but every horror rock offering doesn’t have to be a carbon copy of a signature style, and Graves has never fallen into that rut. With WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE, he moves even further away from that milieu while still giving us horror hounds what we crave!
Make no mistake—every track on this thing is comprised of a catchy energy that’s completely irresistible, and all are worthy entries into Michael’s extensive catalogue, but if I had to pick a few tracks as favs I would call out the riff laden, groove-rockers Robot Monster and The Beginning of the End as well as the anthemic Three Days Till Dawn which I would best describe as an almost distant cousin to U2’s Sunday Bloody Sunday (an odd comparison to be making on a horror rock album review, but my lord is this song oh so right… and there again is this materials biggest strength, outside influences making things fresh)!
Now to tackle the subject on every creep’s mind: how is that follow up to Saturday Night (titled Dying On a Sunday Morning, incidentally). The word I’d use to describe it is “classy”. C’mon, I know you were nervous to hear Graves was attempting a bold move like following up that classic, but believe me, this is an entirely new composition that echoes the original when it needs to. It’s not a sequel; it’s a companion piece… a beautiful continuation of what we all loved, and I hope that when it’s performed live, the songs are put together to create one big narrative.
I’m not going to mince words—this is the strongest release Graves has put out to date. It’s nothing like you’d expect it to be, but still gives you what you want; and it’s the album I would tell any fiend is an absolute essential for their collection! Just look at all those skulls I’m giving it!!
So now that ya know WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE is the bat’s knees, let’s have a lil’ chit chat with some very special guests in the Crypt o’ XIII: Michale Graves and Hydraulic Entertainment‘s Mark Allen Stuart!
Famous Monsters. Tell my faithful coffin club all about the new horror rock extravaganza WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE!
Michale Graves. Well, the album is the sequel to our 2013 CD LOST SKELETON RETURNS, which if any of you don’t yet have, you MUST go get. LSR was my reemergence into the Monster Rock category.
The new album builds on that emergence and takes on influences from it and other great bands and artists that cover all of the key genres that influence me—punk, hard rock, monster rock, horror punk. This record really takes on a new sound, and we are tremendously excited about it. You’ll hear the influence of David Bowie, The Ramones, and Sex Pistols. Listen for the grudge of Kyuss and the dark stomp of Life Of Agony and maybe even some early Danzig. That’s one of two reasons we decided to title the album WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE. The project was in development for over a year and came together in an incredible way—in many ways, this might be our best work to date. I feel like we have almost perfected the Monster Rock concept using the two mediums to create.
FM. Many of the tracks on the album are based on legendary fright flicks. How did you come up with what films to use as inspiration for the sinister songs?
Mark Allen Stuart. We are stuck (in a good way) in the world of horror and Sci-Fi films—hey, the first FM I ever bought was Issue 56! Nine of the songs from the album were pulled from classic films. Our process is pretty straightforward—select the film/title name, watch the original film, use the concept of the film as the origin of a music demo, then build out the lyrics. Only two songs on the album aren’t classic films—3 Days til Dawn (this happens to be a horror film concept we are working on) and Dying on Sunday Morning, the sequel to Crying on Saturday Night.
MG. Mark is the one that built the spine of what WWC is. He came up with a list of great films that eventually become the songs of this record. Most of the movies I had only maybe heard of, but once I watched them I began to sense that the selections were really tapped into the zeitgeist. In all honesty, this was one of the toughest records I have ever had to write. But all of a sudden, when it came to down to crunch time, it all began to make sense and the allegories came pouring through in great clarity.
FM. The biggest terror tidbit about the album is that it features a sequel to Michale’s most beloved tune, Crying On Saturday Night. How daunting was it to come up with a follow up to that cla-sick?
MG. To be honest, when we first talked about doing the sequel I was concerned about the idea because the original song is such a fan favorite. I listened to the original song several times and simply wrote the continuation of the story. The music was heavily influenced by the original, but I knew it had to be distinct—I am really excited about how the song came out. I think fans will be happy with it!
FM. You also have released a new music video. Can ya tell us all about the makin’ of the clip?
MAS. One of the songs we did for the album was Old Dark House (based on the classic 1932 film). When Michale sent me the original music demo, it was obvious that he had captured what an old dark house would “feel” like. We wanted to do a music video for the song and were looking for video clips. We didn’t realize that HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL, the William Castle cult hit, is actually in the public domain, so we decided to film a new intro using Michale and a few actor fans and then we edited the original film down to a 3 minute mini-movie to create an homage to the classic.
FM. What does the future hold for promotion of this arcane album? A tour? More videos?
MG. The 54-city ‘When Worlds Collide’ American Tour begins February 25th and runs through May. 2016 will be filled with more videos, music, films and projects that we are working on every day. Come see us on tour!
Fangs, guys! Now for the rest of you creeps, be sure to pick up WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE and see Michale on tour!