Artist: From the Pub to the Graveyard
Album: To Hell in a Wicker Casket
Label: Catapillar Slime
Release date: July 8, 2017
From the Pub to the Graveyard (henceforth FtPttG, because I don’t want my fingers to fall off) are an interesting proposition; they play a sort of horror-themed rock/metal hybrid with occasional country elements. That might sound like an odd mix, and it might catch you off guard when you first listen to this, but as you listen and flip through the album booklet with entertaining shots of the band and quirky lyrics, things fall into place and start to work pretty quickly.
Some of the best highlights on “To Hell in a Wicker Casket” are the country-influenced tracks. ‘Here’s the Light,’ is a great little nihilistic piece set against the sound of falling rain. ‘Diggin’ Up Rhode Island’ might be my favourite track here, featuring an upbeat acoustic country twang complete with clapping that contrasts well with the grimly hilarious lyrics. ‘50:1’ starts off with a similar country flare before kicking into a punk-infused, energetic second half that makes it another strong cut.
That’s not to say that “To Hell in a Wicker Casket” falters when there’s less country going on. We have ‘Rot & Flies,’ which is a nice slower, moodier piece that really drives home the horror aesthetic they’ve been gunning for. ‘Dead and Drinking’ is littered with a groove that vaguely reminds me of early Marilyn Manson, while the morose ‘Want Free Will?’ tosses in a bit of blues for good measure. Needless to say, there’s enough variety on this thing to keep you engaged.
To touch on the vocals, they can be likened to an exaggerated Rob Zombie and at times can sound a bit forced, but since FtPttG don’t take themselves too seriously, they manage to get away with it by mixing in a healthy dose of morbid humour. There’s an echo effect on the vocals which is a tad overused, but doesn’t cause any significant problems.
Now I know I’ve tread this ground numerous times in my past reviews, but I’ve never been a huge fan of frequent use of samples. The only band that can really let get away with it is Mortician, because sometimes it’s far easier to let the quarterback-sized special kid in the corner keep eating the glitter than to try taking it away from him. I get that FtPttG is horror-themed, but I’d rather they let their music subtly slip that to me intravenously rather than force-feeding me with obvious sound clips. They’re good at creating the atmosphere they’re going for, and this many clips simply aren’t necessary. I don’t need to hear a whole unkindness of ravens cawing at the end of ‘Raised by Ravens’ to get the idea. Fortunately, most of the ones used are quick and/or fairly unobtrusive.
Yes, we’ve touched on a couple of gripes, but they’re far from album-crippling flaws. FtPttG do nothing abruptly wrong on any single song, although trimming a few of the weaker tracks (‘On the Otherside,’ ‘Citywide Cyanide’) would’ve streamlined the album and allowed it to leave a stronger impression. It’ll be interesting to see them refine their sound as they progress, because they have something neat going on here. But I digress; the number of highlights I mentioned above should be a clear indication that “To Hell in a Wicker Casket” is a good time and will be especially perfect at your next Halloween party or between slashers at your horror marathon.
Check out From The Pub To The Graveyard on iTunes.
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