The Dollyrots have released their annual song for the Holidays, this time they've cut a New Year's anthem, a spankin'…
Calabrese – They Call Us Death
They Call Us Death - Spookshow Records
The horror “genre” lives across a broad plain of existence. Nearly every scene has a horror branch, each with its own musical orientation. Cultish followings can be spotted in the shadowy depths of the electronic, rock, and goth scenes, with lyrical themes and atmospheric emphasis binding their seeming discord together. Personally, I’ve always been partial to the punk offshoot initially pioneered by theMisfits. Their sheer dedication and ability to poke fun at their dark content sets these artists apart from the rest of the horror family, providing a welcoming setting for those looking for entertainment rather than lifestyle.
On the topic of this review, Arizona’s Calabrese served as my initial introduction to the playful genre, bridging the gap between my past AFI dominated listening habits and the spooky subgenre. The soaring vocals, harmonizing background “woahs,” and classic punk rock backdrop defining their initial debut, 13 Halloweens, cemented Calabrese as an easy starting point. Then The Traveling Vampire Showfollowed, largely offering much of the same – save for bigger choruses and a tighter musicianship. Now, seven years since their inception, Calabrese returns with their third and most ambitious outing yet. The album, a fan-titled twelve-track monster titled They Call Us Death, finds the band sinking their teeth into their darkest material to date.
Where previous releases focused on speed and melody, They Call Us Death takes a nod from the genre’s more aggressive rock acts for an overall harder sound. Right from the title track, contemporariesZombeast and Blitzkid come to mind. Deathly tight riffs chug forward, matched only by a thunderous drumbeat suggesting that since Vampire Show, Davey Calabrese must have gained some serious wolf man-like strength. Or to use another b-movie plug, these beats have all the punch of a steak through the heart. Taken as a whole, Calabrese comes across more confident than ever.
But even with slight musical tweaks, Calabrese retains their signature style, making They Call Us Death an easy sell for the band’s growing underground following. Tracks like “Near Twilight” serve as an ode to the band’s big, “woah” heavy choruses, while subtly inserted piano based intros on tracks like “Within The Abyss” emit a moody, b-movie horror aura. And as for lyrics, the Calabrese boys continue writing broadly applicable messages shy on specifics but big on imagery – an oft overlooked attribute essential for expanding horror themes beyond the genre’s predictable content.
Without question, They Call Us Death places Calabrese along side the best horror punk has to offer. And now, armed with a larger, more aggressive sound, Calabrese is poised to make it big. Too many critics shrug off horror artists for recycling themes and inspirations ad nauseum. They Call Us Death shatters that stereotype, serving as an exciting, engaging listen for newcomers and dedicated horror punks alike.