Notre Dame

Demi Monde Bizarros

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Notre Dame's long-awaited second album, 2004's Demi Monde Bizarros, is subtitled "Songs About Sex, Satan and Sado-Masochism" -- welcome back gang! For those unfamiliar with the Franco-Swede quartet's idiosyncratic style and vibe: if White Zombie's La Sexorcisto album had been as sexy as it was hip to cheap horror chic, if King Diamond and Glenn Danzig took themselves half as seriously, and if Type O Negative rocked like Motörhead by way of the Misfits and the Cramps -- they might sound something like Notre Dame. But even more than a musical pastiche of metal and trash culture and cute little vignettes (including mood-setting intros like "The Thing" and "The Ride"), Demi Monde Bizarros is astonishingly fun. First single "Munsters!" is tasty enough, but the nearly seven-minute "My Ride into Afterlife" is a bona fide classic -- the kind of track Glenn Danzig would shrink a few more inches to have written. The rest of Demi Monde Bizarros can't quite compare to such a sterling introduction, but it's sure never boring. "Beyond the Threshold of Pain" is a surprisingly stout rocker, "Hitmusic for Hitmen" features a hilariously twisted intro to go with a massive semi-industrial groove right out of KMFDM or Rammstein, and after starting off innocuously enough, "Verbal Diarrhoea" [sic] slams into a Bathory-like riff without any warning. Curiously, for all their keen attention to theatrics, these tracks are usually highlighted by the De Sade brothers' instrumental prowess, as neither Snowy Shaw's (he of King Diamond fame) alternately growled and whispered vocals nor his former girlfriend Vampirella's coy mewling (spotlighted on "The Stripper") are easily heard over the instrumental din. Rather than a mixing blunder, however, this is clearly the desired effect and, amazingly, it works. Elsewhere, the title track is almost pure black metal, while the slothful "The Master, the Servant and the Slave" proves that nothing is sacred to the group (save perhaps pure entertainment value) as they virtually rewrite Black Sabbath's classic namesake song. Finally, two bonus live tracks -- a very camp, cabaret swoon through the standard "These Boots Are Made for Walking" and Notre Dame's own "The World is Sick...and So Are We" -- bid grateful fans a fond adieu until the next "screening."

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