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Wednesday 13 - The Dixie Dead (Album Review)

Sunday, 17 February 2013 Written by Alec Chillingworth
Wednesday 13 - The Dixie Dead (Album Review)

Looking back, Wednesday 13 should be absolutely massive. Obviously I don’t mean he should be fat; I mean that he should be on of the most successful, commercially lauded artists out there today. From his humble beginnings fronting The Frankenstein Drag Queens From Planet 13 right to the astronomical rise of the Murderdolls with Slipknot superstar Joey Jordison, the man really hasn’t put a foot wrong. He’s one of the most consistent, reliable musicians of our time; save from his unusually average 2011 release ‘Calling All Corpses’, Wednesday 13 has proven time and time again that his unique smattering of punk and metal is a racket that demands to be heard. ‘The Dixie Dead’ has stupendously high expectations to live up to. Can it possibly hold a candle to his career-besting solo album ‘Transylvania 90210’?

ImageOpening things up with the eerie tones of ‘Death Arise – Intro’, it seems apparent that Wednesday 13 is heading back down the darker, more sinister routes travelled during his third solo effort, ‘Skeletons’. But then the intro fades out, and in gallops the first proper track, ‘Blood Sucker’. And what does ‘Blood Sucker’ rhyme with? Yep, you guessed it. ‘Motherfucker’. Mr. 13 has always had something of a special relationship with the F word, rarely penning a track that doesn’t include it. This would prove to be somewhat annoying if the music were bland and boring. But it’s not. Sprucing up the ‘Skeletons’-era heaviness with even chunkier riffs that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Pantera track, this one seems like a serious contender for the honour of the heaviest Wednesday 13 album ever. Industrial elements weave throughout the tracks, coming to a head during the title track. Sludgy, southern-tinged guitars gleefully slide through the song, hinting at influences such as White Zombie. Which is never a bad thing.

The Wednesday 13 experience wouldn’t be complete without his trademark tongue-in-cheek humour. Of course, it’s here in abundance; there’s everything from the alcohol fuelled break-up anthem of ‘Fuck You (In Memory Of...)' right down to the immature, almost childish rhymes during ‘Get Your Grave On’. It’s this sort of carefree nonchalance that allows Mr. 13 to get away with saying this sort of stuff; it’s so ridiculous and so self-consciously insane, there’s no way you could criticise the man based on his lyrical content. He’s found his niche and he’s stuck to it. Horror movies are also a predominant feature within the lyrics, with the most obvious ones rearing their ugly heads during ‘Hands Of The Ripper’ and ‘Carol Anne... They’re Here’. There are probably reams more, but I’m not going to pretend to be a horror movie connoisseur. I’m more into chick flicks, really.

‘The Dixie Dead’ also happens to include that moment. You know. That moment. The haunting, overblown ballad. Well, to call it a ballad would be something of a stretch. But, in the same vein as ‘Curse Of Me’ and ‘Haunt Me’ from previous albums, ‘Ghost Stories’ shines as the highlight of this latest outing, leaving you with the same feeling you got when you finished watching Titanic for the first time. Wednesday’s vocals are on top form throughout the whole album; his high-pitched scream is seldom used (but to great effect), while his gritty, tuneful growl peppers the majority of the tracks. But there’s just something about ‘Ghost Stories’; maybe it’s the fact that he’s nearly singing. Very nearly. Anyway, it’s a superb track, and provides a tactical rest from the onslaught of horror-punk festivities.

Is this album going to reap Wednesday 13 the critical acclaim and success that he so rightly deserves? Probably not. What it will provide is another solid addition to his impressive back catalogue, sitting itself comfortably just underneath the dizzying grandeur of ‘Transylvania 90210’. We find ourselves watching every other metal band greedily chase after the dubstep sound in an attempt to appeal to masses of screaming teenagers. It’s a relief to watch Wednesday 13 continue to carve his own way through the business, oblivious and uncaring towards current trends. The man is a true artist, and be it now or 25 years down the line, he’ll one day get the credit he is owed.

'The Dixie Dead' is released Monday 18th February. Wednesday 13 embarks on a UK tour next month.

Wednesday 13 UK & Ireland Tour Dates are as follows:

Wed March 6th 2013 - Concorde 2, Brighton
Thu March 7th 2013 - The Fleece, Bristol
Fri March 8th 2013 - Club Academy, Manchester
Sat March 9th 2013 - Rock City, Nottingham
Sun March 10th 2013 - Cathouse, Glasgow
Mon March 11th 2013 - University of Northumbria, Newcastle upon Tyne
Tue March 12th 2013 - Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton
Wed March 13th 2013 - O2 Academy Islington, London

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