I’d like to start off with a disclaimer. I have never found a German punk band I’ve liked, with the exception of Abwärts who are more on the post end of the spectrum. For whatever reason, my sensibilities have not lent my ear to the German side of the things so my tong is sharp and my opinions are harsh. If it’s your thing, have at it hoss and just skip everything I’ve said, gazing only at the bolded lettering for other awesome bands you should be adding to your roster.
With my conscience now clean, The Other are a German horror punk band from Leichlingen, founded in 2002 by Rod Usher, Sarge von Rock, Dr. Caligari and Andy Only. After finding some success as a Misfits cover band, The Other were born, going on to support their idols as well as other big name acts like The Damned, The Cult and Alice Cooper, not to mention being the first horror punk band to perform at Wacken Open Air. They’re now onto their 5th full length album, “The Devils you Know,” released on June 18th of this year through SPV/Steamhammer and are frontrunners in their genre.
Lead in by what sounded like a compressed horror soundtrack with ‘The Devils you Know,’ they managed to pack more into an intro than anyone I’ve ever heard. I think they may have pulled it off had they left it at the 0:35 mark but they then ventured off into this musical score that neither lent anything to the incoming track nor did it reflect the feel of the rest of the album.
After a rocky start, The Other manage to redeem themselves slightly with ‘Take You Down;’ A solid horror punk tune with a catchy chorus and the perfect selection and placement of Whoooohs. The start is punchy and they roll with it, keeping momentum with each roll up to the chorus. I could have used a bit more bass from their newest addition, bassist Viktor Sharp but that’s just me nit picking on the best track of the album. Sarge von Rock pulls out a fitting solo that blends into the feel of the piece perfectly. The pinnacle of ‘Take You Down’ was Dr. Caligari’s tight drumming (someone must be a fan of the 1920’s classic.) The kit’s sounds are crisp and well-engineered, especially the kick drum which has a sturdy punch to it.
‘Nightmare on Halloween’ seems a bit too inspired to the melody from Danny Elfman’s ‘This is Halloween’ for comfort with less that equal satisfaction. The hoarse panting in the background at one point near the end, which I’m guessing was to build intensity, seemed to fail miserably. Perhaps a different effect or vocalist may have been able to pull off more flawlessly.
‘Hell is a Place on Earth’ started off like a Depeche Mode song and I was thinking ‘alright, this is going to blow me out of the water.’ WRONG! Why, oh dear god why would you follow something that sounded so awesome with what seemed like Creed inspired punk vocals? To their credit, it does get better in sections but not enough so to make the whole track worth listening to. The vocal choices on this one just killed it for me.
If this band is considered the most prominent example of the horror punk genre in Europe, I feel like the continent might need to seek out other areas of the word for some incredible psychobilly and horror punk. Take North America’s plethora of quality (and no, I’m not being bias); Canada’s The Creepshow and The Brains, USA’s Koffin Kats who no squealing pin-up could resist and the forever immortalized Misfits. Need I even remind Europe of their own gems, Demented Are Go!, Nekromantix and Mad Sin? Maybe their older albums are better and 2012 just wasn’t their year. Whatever happened, maybe it’s a better idea to just listen to The Cramps and call it a day.