Chop You Up (CD)

Forbidden 5 Chop You Up! (Click for larger image)Reviewed by Scott A. Johnson

The Forbidden 5 — Visit the band on MySpace!

Released by ISV Music

I’ve often wondered what would happen if Norman Bates and Eddie Munster got together and formed a psychobilly-punk band. What kind of music would they put out? Surely full of references to old horror movies, lyrics about dismembering corpses and lots of crunchy tunes would ensue, right? Those two never met, sadly, denying the world of what would surely be one of the great rock acts of all time. Fortunately for us, the Forbidden 5 sounds almost exactly what I expected the Bates-Munster supergroup would have sounded like.

The “5” of the Forbidden 5 are Bruce Lentz, vocals; Joseph Z. Elzer, drums; Derek Anderson, bass; El Koppertan, rhythm guitar; and Michael Athey, lead guitar. These five musicians come together to create a sound that is one part surf-punk, one part psychobilly, filtered through a trunk full of “b” horror flick negatives, and allowed to ferment for a while. There are influences apparent in the album that include The Stooges, Devo, The Cramps, and even a bit of The Shins thrown in for good measure.

Lyrically, the songs from this album are about as twisted as they come. Horror staples such as axe-murdering sex fiends, thrill-kill couples, and necrophilia. Stalkers, rabid apes, aliens, and every other bit of madness permeate the songs in F5’s set list. However, the music accompanying these dark words is anything but, inducing butt-shaking wiggling at a second’s notice. Coupled with a talented rhythm section, a guitar player who hearkens back to The Surfaris, and Lentz’s quirky and energetic vocals, the music is infectuous.

Highlights on this album include “Slice and Dice,” which brings to mind the opening chords of Devo’s “Working in a Coalmine,” but with bite; as well as “Not of This Earth,” the opening of which brings to mind “Don’t Fear the Reaper” without the cowbell. “The Hypnotic Eye” sounds like something that would come straight off the set of “The Munsters” old television show, while “Kill Baby Kill,” for some reason, reminds me of a demented version of a Blues Brothers song. One of the truly great songs on this album shows off the guitar abilities of Michael Athey, the instrumental “Fang Boner.” Also, folks should just put “Luther the Geek” on repeat for a while. Trust me.

The bottom line about Forbidden 5‘s debut album is that it’s a good one, full of talent and good music that’ll make folks want to dance, pogo, and slam against one another for hours.

Track Listing
1. Hypnotic Eye
2. Baby I’m No Good
3. Chop You Up
4. Kill Baby Kill
5. Fang Boner
6. Love and Formaldehyde
7. Psycho Rat Pfink Fuck A Go Go
8. Luther the Geek
9. The Night of the Bloody Apes
10. Voices in My Head
11. Slice and Dice
12. Not of This Earth

4 out of 5

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Sifu Scott