While Jerry Only continues recording and touring under the Misfits name, former guitarist and Only’s younger brother Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein (not his real name) has been keeping himself very busy by touring with former Misfits frontman Glenn Danzig and playing with his own band Gorgeous Frankenstein, who are now going under the simpler name of Doyle. “Abominator” is the first album to come out under the new name and has the muscle-bound guitarist’s stamp all over it, those downstroked muscular riffs evoking the harder edge that the Misfits had during their “Famous Monsters” era but with a little bit more happening musically.
The “Famous Monsters” comparison holds even more weight when you consider that drummer Dr. Chud is on board behind the kit, but where the punk rock playing of the Misfits was looser and less ‘technical’ (for use of a better word) the playing on “Abominator” is tighter and more precise, with Dr. Chud putting in plenty of work on those double-bass pedals. Not that Doyle are a technical band per se – the punk stylings of the principle members backgrounds is all too evident – but the thicker guitar sounds, the more inventive drumming and things like subtle time changes and guitar solos all add something extra to the mix.
And the songs? Oh yes, Doyle have songs and some catchy ones at that. First single ‘Valley of Shadows’ shows that some of Doyle’s jaunts with Danzig may have provided some influence, the main riff very reminiscent of the Evil Elvis’ early 90’s material and a vocal hook that that does just that and hooks itself into your head. Singer Alex Story’s gruff vocals are a long way from former Misfits singer Michale Graves’ silky croon but when he barks to “Crush all of you down” during the Anthrax-esque ‘Land of the Dead’ (not the Misfits song) it works brilliantly with Doyle’s guitar tone and Chud’s rhythmic battering to create the kind of chugging metal that headbanging was invented for.
But Doyle also have a playful side, as the sleazy biker rock of ‘Cemeterysexxx’ and the thrashing ‘Hope Hell is Warm’ prove. ‘Bloodstains’ has Alex Story clean singing a little more while the driving title track has ‘show opener’ written all over it, the pummelling main riff and singalong chorus as anthemic and energetic as anything from the guitarist’s former band.
Naturally, what you really want to know is whether “Abominator” is better than the Misfits latest studio album “The Devil’s Rain”. A bit unfair as they really are two different beasts that happen to come from the same place, and while the Misfits fuse punk and rockabilly with their legendary ghoulish brand, Doyle also bring something spooky to their music but have a harder edge and at least one heavily booted foot firmly in the metal camp. It’s also worth mentioning that Doyle feel like a serious band rather than a side-project and one gets the feeling that if Doyle does rejoin the ranks of the Misfits then his eponymous band will still be a going concern. In the meantime, we have two great bands with the same influences and attitudes but with different sounds and styles, so that in itself is a reason to celebrate. But as an overall comment, “Abominator” is a terrific album that is as much – if not more – fun on the dozenth play as it is on the first, and if you’re stuck for some ghostly tunes over the Halloween season then this band of groovy ghoulies have provided the perfect soundtrack.