It’s time to light up the candelabras and brush off the cobwebs in those spooky old houses as the Duke of Spook and all his ghastly freaks return with new music: Wednesday 13 releases their newest album Necrophaze on September 27, 2019, through Nuclear Blast Records.
Wednesday 13’s anticipated follow-up to the highly successful 2017 album Condolences, Necrophaze is complete with ten tracks of terror that feature collaborations with the likes of Lacuna Coil’s Cristina Scabbia and Legendary shock rocker Alice Cooper. To miss this would be a Hellish mistake! It all begins with a foreboding, staccato synth beat as the voice of Alice Cooper welcomes the listener into the “Necrophaze.” The guitar bounces in and drums crash as The Duke of Spook croons on with lyrics like “the terror, fright, I am the necroshadow.” The track is alight with deliciously creepful rhymes and a ghastly Vincent Price-esque tone. While the secondary track, “Bring Your Own Blood,” sounds like the tagline to a vampire kegger as it’s an energizing dance track. The pulverizing guitar riffs play off of the whirring synth in a way that releases the song into the underworld.
Moving along, News clips describing the still unknown Zodiac Killer introduce “ZODIAC.” The song takes a first-person view of the slaughter with prose that declare his remorseless lust for blood, as a news anchor chronicles the declarations made in letters sent to the media. In the instrumental section, the guitars chug and become one with sonorous bass; it all comes together in a song as relentless and unstoppable as the Zodiac Killer himself.
Then there is opening riff of “Monster” which rings with a dynamic unease before descending into its vengeful sentiments. The vocals are layered into an unholy duet that moves between Wednesday 13’s macabre drawl to his carnivorous bellow and Cristina Scabbia’s ascending soprano, resulting in a skillful barrage of corrupt intent complete with a shrieking guitar solo. Then, “Decompose” filters through in a mourning keyboard melody before a sinfully dark rhythm kicks in. The track is singular in its contempt, easily summed up with the lyrics “You will never ever rest in peace.“
Keeping the album lively “The Hearse” utilizes a strange focal point for its theme, resulting in a truly unnerving ambience throughout the track. The vocals on this track standout with a hellish tone, as do the guitars in a Black Metal soul. If any song could reach through the afterlife and grab ahold of the listener it is definitely “The Hearse.” Next, a dissociated guitar riff echoes in the background before speeding to the forefront in “Tie Me A Noose.” The instrumental breaks through briefly, and throughout the entirety of the track speeds back and forth. Meanwhile, the percussion work drives through the heart of the song with a persistent drive.
All these factors in mind, the pièce de résistance of Necrophaze is a cover of W.A.S.P.’s “Animal (Fuck Like A Beast),” and it’s simply a shame it took this long to occur. The cover features Alexi Laiho of Children of Bodom and is every bit as flawlessly vulgar and exquisite as the original but slayed into the sound of Wednesday 13. There are moments like the “Be Warned” interlude, which features the musical genius of Jeff Clayton, exemplify Wednesday 13’s innate ability to tell a story not only with lyrics and instrumentals, but also with flawless narration and audio clips.
Overall, there is a strong clarity and definition in the intent of every track found on Necrophaze, as well as the quality of the audio. And while some of the tracks represent a slightly tamer expression of Wednesday 13, they do so without losing the necromancy that makes them so distinctive. For this, Cryptic Rock Wednesday 13’s newest Spook-a-palooza 3.5 out of 5 stars.