The Bronx Casket Co.

Hellectric

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When headbangers who haven't actually heard the Bronx Casket Co. find out who the participants are, they think they know what to expect. A lineup that is led by Overkill's D.D. Verni and also includes people who have been with Savatage (Jack Frost) and the Misfits (Myke Hideous) should be somewhere in the direction of thrash or power metal -- perhaps Megadeth meets Judas Priest, perhaps Slayer and early Metallica by way of Iron Maiden and Grim Reaper. But those who have discovered the dark, creepy pleasures of the BCC have learned that they don't sound anything like that. Their focus is goth-drenched alternative metal, and the comparisons that have been relevant in the past -- including Type O Negative, White Zombie, Nine Inch Nails, and Spahn Ranch -- are still relevant on Hellectric, an album that is aggressive yet moody, atmospheric and darkly melodic. The thing that separates the BCC from other goth-minded artists is their sense of humor; Hellectric is delivered with a big dose of irony. Song titles like "Mortician's Lullaby," "Little Dead Girl," and "Bleed with Me" underscore the band's ironic nature, and the fact that the instrumental "Motocrypt" incorporates the theme from The Munsters tells you everything you need to know. But it gets even better: the album contains an unlikely -- very unlikely -- remake of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Free Bird," which the BCC takes out of Southern rock and gives a goth makeover. It certainly isn't how one expects "Free Bird" to sound, but the BCC manages to pull it off. Goths have been accused of taking themselves too seriously, but on Hellectric, the goth element projects a sense of humor -- and the end result is one of the most memorable alt-metal/gothic metal releases of late 2005.

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