"Horror Holocaust"

By Dr. Abner Mality

It's hard for me to think of many bands that have changed as much between albums as Denial Fiend. I was a huge fan of their debut "They Rise", with it's death-metal-meets-Misfits B-movie horror epics, but everything went to shit after that great start, with ex-Massacre singer Kam Lee and former Nasty Savage drummer Curtis Beeson leaving in one of the messiest, nastiest break-ups to come down the pike in a while. I would have thought Denial Fiend dead in the water without Kam's unique growls, but remaining members Terry Butler and Sam Williams have circled the wagons and managed to get replacements.

The new singer is well-known in horror punk/metal circles: Blaine Cook of The Accused! Blaine was quite an acquisition for Denial Fiend, but the only guy whose voice might have been more different from Kam's would be Justin Bieber. Denial Fiend is virtually a different band with Blaine's vocals. Where Kam was a bellowing bull, Blaine is more like a screeching weasel with phlegm in his gullet. That's not to be disrespectful, because Blaine has some of the most demented sounding vocals ever. But honestly, I cannot hear a single song on "They Rise" with Blaine's tones...just as Kam could not sing anything on "Horror Holocaust" convincingly. The approach is utterly different and in addition, "Horror Holocaust" has dropped all of the Misfits-style "Go!Go!Go!" shouts. This record is truly a "reboot" for Denial Fiend.

The music seems more thrash-oriented, with a drier sound than the debut. D.R.I. drummer Rob Rampy now mans the kits and does a fine job. The tunes are all high velocity with the exception of the weird draggy bass-driven "Dunsmoor"...simple, catchy thrash with punk touches, but lacking the death metal weight of "They Rise".
The horror theme is one thing that has absolutely stayed the same. I liked "Fiend Without A Face" with its cool melodic touches and "Afterparty Massacre" (based on the Z-movie of the same name) the best.

"Horror Holocaust" clocks in at under a half hour, which also doesn't exactly float my boat. It's a fresh new start for Denial Fiend and not without some killer tunes, but I have to say, I thought "They Rise" was better.