Heavy horror punk icon Wednesday 13 has climbed his way to the top of the horrendous heights of rock, punk and metal with his electrifying solo music and as frontman of renowned horror punk supergroup Murderdolls, amassing a colossal cult-following along the way. In 2022, the undisputed harbinger of metal horror returns, following up on 2019’s acclaimed Necrophaze with Horrifier. Out on the 7th of October 2022, via Napalm Records.
With Halloween just around the corner, what better way to get yourself in the mood for spooky shenanigans than with a new Wednesday 13 album? There’s little expectation that the Duke of Spook will move too far out of his lane but that doesn’t mean Horrifier doesn’t have a surprise or two.
An ominous intro (Severed) leads to Insides Out and the first of those surprises. The horror-punk outfit bringing forth an egregious amount of heavy. Controlled by guitars that alternate between clubbing blows and screeching slashes. It’s a really strong start to the album.
It’s a bit more to type as the horror really comes out to play on the groove of Exhume and Devour. The man himself snarling and scowling with beastly intent, which fits the flesh-munching lyrical content nicely. Followed by the crowd-pleasing punky bounce of You’re So Hideous and the energetic anthem that is Good Day to Be a Bad Guy. The latter, up there as one of the album’s catchiest affairs.
Return to Haddonfield sees Wednesday 13 utilises the Halloween franchise for inspiration and, like a lot of the films in the long-running series, struggles to elect much passion or excitement. It’s standard Wednesday 13 stuff, where even the guitar solo is just ok and the chorus is a bit boring.
An increase in the tempo, heavier instrumentals and a re-energised set of vocals makes Horrifier a return to form though. Before Hell is Coming delivers something with enjoyable horror-infused sleaze at its core and Halfway to the Grave takes a page out of the hair-metal playbook. Albeit with the familiar Wednesday 13 tongue jammed firmly in cheek.
Stephen King’s killer car Christine then serves as the topic of choice for the penultimate track, Christine: Fury in the Night. Where the energy is akin to an out-of-control joyride in a machine with blood running through its parts. Hold on for dear life, Wednesday 13 might have his hands on the wheel, but he’s not driving this beast.
The trip into the horror that lives in Wednesday 13’s soul is then ended with the mellower and ballad-esqe The Other Side. The melody is nice and that the content surrounds the loss of Wednesday’s mother and former Murderdolls bandmate Joey Jordison, adds emotional weight. A powerful closer.
Don’t let the fun of the album distract you from the reality that, for all the good things about the album, it lacks that one spark to make it more memorable. It’s a collection of good tracks, with the odd great one, but nothing grips as much as it should. It’s all very safe. Which is going to please the hardcore faithful of Wednesday 13 even if it doesn’t win over any new fans.
Wednesday 13 – Horrifier Full Track Listing:
2. Insides Out
3. Exhume and Devour
4. You’re so Hideous
5. Good Day to Be a Bad Guy
6. Return to Haddonfield
8. Hell Is Coming
9. Halfway to the Grave
10. Christine: Fury in the Night
11. The Other Side
Wednesday 13 - Horrifier (Napalm Records)
The Final Score - 7/10