is courtesy of
Just when the hard-core/
punk movement seemed chewed up,
swallowed and spat
into a sea of nothingness, SON OF SAM
have come bearing
the fruit of all that is death-rock integrity.
Formed only a year
ago, following AFI's tour with Samhain and
Danzig, SON OF SAM
is the brain child of guitarist Todd Youth
Murphy's Law, Agnostic Front, Warzone,
Samhain etc.), vocalist
Davey Havok (AFI), drummer London May
(Samhain, Tiger Army,
Dag Nasty), and bassist Steve Zing
The project began almost accidentally with
May, Youth, and Zing
penning four tracks one night out of
simple boredom. The
tunes, summoning elements of Samhain,
The Exploited and
7 Seconds, with the hard-core drive of
Black Flag and the
Circle Jerks, were anything but drab.
"I think it's a mix
of goth, punk, hardcore and metal. The
music is dark, aggressive,
melodic, and unpredictable,"
said May of the band's
distinct sound. "Jackhammer drums,
relentless bass, bone-saw
guitar, and howling vocals. It's
reminiscent of Earth
A.D. era Misfits and Unholy Passion era
Samhain." Havok was
asked to write and record the vocals.
Before long, four
songs multiplied to ten and SON OF SAM
(a name created by
Youth as a tongue in cheek play on the
of Samhain) was spawned.
"I quit drinking and
doing drugs and just didn't know what
to do with myself,"
confessed Youth, who wrote and produced
the entire record.
"I went to London's house and just started writing."
With an all-star line-up,
Nitro Records, home of such bands
as The Vandals, AFI,
Ensign, T.S.O.L., The Turbo AC's, and
The Damned, took to
the band immediately before even hearing
a tune. The debut,
appropriately titled Songs From The Earth,
was recorded, mixed
and mastered in only days at Grandmaster
Studios in Hollywood,
keeping with it a grass-roots, organic,
"I just went in and didn't fuck around,"
said Youth. "We did
the record in ten days. Nick Raskulinecz
(who engineered Marilyn
Manson's Hollywood) engineered it and it was done."
"It was like a workshop,"
recalls May. "Davey upstairs writing,
Todd downstairs producing,
while Steve played bass, and I rehearsed
backup vocals with
the S.O.S. "hellfire choir" (Joey, Howie,
Ricky, etc.). We had
never played together as a unit and some
of us were fighting
jet lag, but we pulled it off."
"This was the fastest
recording I've ever experienced," adds Havok.
"We produced it all
ourselves. When I arrived in LA I believe the
rest of the guys had
only been recording for four days and had
finished all the basic
tracks. I had all the words and melodies
written and immediately
set forth on singing them aloud for the
first time ever. Luckily,
the rest of the guys were happy with what
I had done. I had
two days to finish all the leads and backing vocals
and most of the stuff
was done in one take. It was non-stop recording, but at the same time everyone
was really relaxed and having a good time doing it.
The attitude was, we
don't have much time, but fuck it, let's just
go for it and have
fun." Guest appearances from Danzig/Misfits/Samhain front man, Glenn Danzig
(who plays guitar on "Stray" and "Songs From The Earth," as well as keyboards
on "Songs From The Earth."), Howie Pyro (D-Generation, Danzig), Joey
C. (Danzig), and Nick 13 (Tiger Army, Influence Thirteen) only further
accentuate the band's nostalgic appeal.
"I'm not speaking for
myself, of course, but all the players on
the record have a
long history of making great music," said Havok.
"We're playing a style
of music that no one really touches anymore.
"The end-product relentlessly
oozes with anthem-esque vocals,
and gang chants. "I think because of who
we are and who
we've played with, we are the band that other
bands want to imitate,"
quipped Zing." We really just want to reach
that market that missed
out on the original Misfits and Samhain."
With ten tracks clocking
in at only 30 minutes and 43 seconds,
Songs From The Earth
holds true to the old-school stylings of punk.
"To me, doing this
record was sort of a tribute to Samhain. Playing
guitar for Samhain
on the reunion tour was such an honor. I had
forgotten how much
I love and respect the band," Youth explained.
Tracks like "Evernight"
spew forth an adrenalized barrage of
savage build-ups and
bulldance breakdowns, while "In The Hills"
and "Purevil" invoke
the perfect atmosphere for a resurgence of
circle pits and stage-diving
galore. Racy, raw, and haunting with
a dark, Danzig-esque
cape blanketing the entire offering, SON OF SAM
hurls listeners back
into the very bowels of genuine, punk-core evil.