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Grave Robber – Straight to Hell (CD)

Grave Robber Straight to HellReleased by Rottweiler Records

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Our favorite undead ghouls have returned with a four-song shot of horror punk. While in the past the band has had no small amount of psychobilly flowing through their zombified corpses, this one sees a major change to a more straightforward punk sound.

I’ve known this to be mainman Wretched’s vision for the band, but this is the first release to reflect that, and it bears noting. This is enough of a departure that it almost sounds like a different band at times from the ass-kickers chugging out metal on “You’re All Gonna Die” or “Curse of the Werewolf.”

You can still catch a bit of the old feel on the opening title track, which speeds along nicely. Creepy guitar trills accompany the chorus line, and the trademark GR “whoa-oh” singalong features prominently. It’s a solid slab of horror-punk.

The theme song to the “Hunger Haunts” campaign shows up next, a melodic, gritty punk anthem. This one really displays the new Ramones-influenced feel of the band, and it’s very catchy with a nice keyboard-as-theremin riff in the chorus.

“Beast of Busco” is near and dear to my heart lyrically, as it’s all about a legendary creature in Indiana, Grave Robber’s earthly home. A gigantic snapping turtle spotted originally at the turn of the 20th century and then again in 1948, the Beast of Busco was a bit of a media sensation in 1948 and 1949. This one is a humorous ode to the legend set to upbeat punk rock.

The EP closes out with “Mummator,” another tongue-in-cheek tune, the “theme” to the mythical animated show Mummator & the Conquerors of the Cosmos. Based on an independent comic book of the same name, the Grave Robber guys came up with what would be the theme to the Saturday morning cartoon tied in to the comic and eventual toy line. None of it exists except the song and the comic, but someone needs to make the cartoon immediately. This one is a little chunkier than the middle tracks and makes for a rousing finale to the EP.

I’ll come right out and say I don’t dig the new style as much as the previous releases, but don’t let that discourage you. This is a solid release of traditional punk rock with spooky themes and fun, singalong (or whoa-along) choruses. Fans of the Ramones and similar speedy, hook-based hunk should grab this immediately.

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Mr. Dark

A man of mystery. An enigma wrapped in a riddle wrapped in a low-carb whole grain tortilla. A guy who writes about spooky stuff.