Surf’s up in Creepsylvania! The new vinyl E.P. Hang Ten (April 19 via Tankcrimes Records) by “Creepsylvanian” foursome GHOUL is an ambitiously fun endeavor, far from what fans are used to. I would describe it as GHOUL’S “What I did for summer vacation” essay. On this six track E.P, the maniaxe have put down their weapons and picked up surfboards, leaving behind the graveyard for the beach in a fun, bizarre motorcycle ride of depravity.
The opening track “The Midnight Ride of the Cannibal MC” drives in fast and quick like a thrash version of “Surfin’ Bird” but still has that horror punk MISFITS-like sound that GHOUL is known for. The biggest difference between this and their previous efforts is that 95% of this album is instrumental, the only vocals come as almost spoken-word, surf-rock singing, which seems to pay homage to Dick Dale, if he were a member of SLAYER. In fact, this instrumental-focused album does feature a guest vocal at the end of the second track “Kreeg” from MUNICIPAL WASTE’S Tony Foresta. This album is definitely focused more on music rather than vocals, and the few lyrics that are there tell a story about a cannibal motorcycle gang out for blood in a beach town. The interior tracks “Sidehackers,” “Hang Ten,” and “Blood on the Street” are not only solid instrumentals with great solos (guitar, bass, and drum) but also are fun songs, only lacking the bang and catchiness of older GHOUL works such as “Bury the Hatchet”. They could use a little something more. Though the most bizarre (in a good way) part of the album would be the final track: an instrumental punk/surf/thrash version of Frank Sinatra’s “It’s Been a Very Good Year.” It’s an amusing end to a record that can really only be described as fun.
Even though this is a departure from their usual brand of horror punk/thrash, I can’t say that it is a bad thing. As I said before, this really is a “summer vacation” for the band, a chance to do something a little bit different from the usual before returning for their full-length disc, which undoubtedly will follow soon. GHOUL have managed to piece together a great album mixing several genres together with incredible musical prowess. The only real problem I could mention is that much like GWAR, GHOUL has set a mythology of their own and the story of this record really doesn’t match up with the rest of their albums. For example, there is no mention of the band members (Fermenter, Digester, Cremator, Dissector) or any of their villains or adventures. Instead you get a story of a renegade surfing motorcycle gang seeming to be searching for a man named Kreeg. Though, for the music lover that really means nothing. This is a solid and ambitiously different album for the band, and I pray that the Cannibal MC never comes riding into my town!
For fans of: MISFITS, GWAR, MUNICIPAL WASTE, SLAYER (and for this album, Dick Dale, and REVEREND HORTON HEAT)
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Kreeg”, “It’s been a Very Good Year”
WRITTEN BY SAUCY JACK