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The Devil Made Me Do It

Goomba Music (2012)
Rating: 5/10

Scum Of The Earth was brought to life to continue bringing horror infused electro-metal to the masses while Mr. Zombie went off to Hollyweird to try his hand at filmmaking. Turns out Commander Zombie never came back for the squad in any significant way, despite returning to his music career as a balance to his filmmaking.

For the fans it’s worked out brilliantly though as we get classic horror metal from both the band largely responsible for the legendary Hellbilly Deluxe (1998) and Zombie continues on sporadically creating new music with Piggy D. (ex-Frankenstein Drag Queens From Planet 13 / ex-Wednesday 13) and guitar virtuoso John 5 (ex-Marilyn Manson / ex-2wo).

Now that that’s all out of the way, the fact is Scum Of The Earth have very much earned the right to be considered their own thing, even though the comparisons are hard to ignore.

So the band’s third album is a mixed bag. While they have always been laced with electronics, The Devil Made Me Do It features them a little more prominently I think or, it’s possible, the bottom end is just thinner than their past couple of offerings, making the electronics seem more prominent. The addition of a Skrillex-style dub is noticeable as well simply because it’s such a popular sound right now. It fits well with what the band does though and makes the song ‘Born Again Masochist’ much more interesting musically.

The creepy mellow of ‘Sounds Of The Dead’ is another noteworthy moment. The vocals here sound very desperate, reminding me a bit of Marilyn Manson’s better moments. ‘Zombie Apocalypse’, ‘The Devil Made Me Do It III’ and ‘Ghost’ feature the band’s classic sound as they romp, stomp, and fist pump along in a dirty stripper sort of way.

The gloomy ‘Funeral March’ never quite hits its mark but it’s pretty different territory for the band, plodding along in a borderline doom metal way. There are a number of forgettable tracks here as well that just sort of fill the spaces between the more interesting moments.

All in all, if you love this style and it’s all you listen to then you’ll want to pick this up. It’s certainly not the best representation of the genre and unquestionably it’s not Scum Of The Earth’s best work to date. What it is is “okay” and something new from a great band. The production value isn’t as good as the band’s previous albums and I’m left wondering how much that hurts this batch of tunes as well. Everything just seems unfocused and thin sounding.

Mark Fisher

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