Under A Nightmare: Forever and Beyond (2008 Sampler Compilation)

under a nightmare forever and beyond

Now this is more fuckin' like it! I read some other review of the album that the first 7 tracks originally appeared on, complaining over and over again about "poor production" and what not, but all I hear is great fuckin' stuff. Of course, most of what I listen to these days might be some of the most horrendously recorded music ever, so my opinion in that area probably don't amount to much. But anyway, Pittsburgh's Under A Nightmare are fuckin' brilliant. If you're into shit like the Misfits, Balzac, or Tiger Army, this is right up your fuckin' alley. The 16 (give or take) hard-hitting horror punk anthems showcased here, along with five acoustic numbers tacked onto the end, are the perfect soundtrack to drinking in the graveyard or driving down woodsy backroads on Halloween night. If songs about ghosts and goblins ain't really your thing, stay away from anything these guys put out.

The music is basically your typical mid-tempo, Misfits-inspired 50's r&b punk, complete with crunch-tone guitars, crooning "woah-oh" refrains, and lyrics about zombies, vampires, and other assorted things that go bump in the night. Nothing new, but nothing bad either. Singer-guitarist Coffin Keenan sounds almost exactly like Tiger Army's Nick13, with a little Brian Setzer (Stray Cats era) thrown in for good measure, and in a couple instances, Gordy of The Forgotten infamy. The CD is actually a compilation of the band's best (?) work between some year and some other year, presumably later than the other year. If that makes any sense. I'm not sure about the time line. But I do know my favorite tracks on here are the first 7, which are from their album "Monsters '89", even though the band formed in 2002. Favorites here are the opener, "Blood On the Wall", "Ghost Town", the country-western influenced "Curse of the Living" (with two-steppin' drum beat and "oompa" bass line), and the infectious "Make Me a Zombie".

The following three are from the "Return of the Rot" EP, which are pretty sub-par, both in recording quality (which, as I said before, is pretty bad coming from this lo-fi loving punk) and in performance. They're still not bad songs, and I think I actually remember hearing one or two, maybe all, of these in their live set. The session just sounds premature and/or rushed. Still an "A" for effort on these.

Track 11, "In the Basement", kicks it back up a notch, all the way through to "Never Lead a Lie", which as far as I can tell is some kind of tribute to the fallen members of the RAMONES, complete with a refrain of "ba-ba-ba-ba, b-ba-ba-ba-ba, we'll never forget you..." towards the end of the song. These 6 tracks are from the album "Valley of the Scarecrow", which sounds like it might be a pretty good one.

The band closes out the disc with 5 killer fuckin' acoustic versions of what I assume to be new songs from their upcoming album. These ones sound self-recorded, but still excellent, as it's probably pretty hard to fuck up recordings of an acoustic guitar and a few vocal layers. They even added some digital delay to everything, for a great 50's slap-back effect. It don't get much better than this.

In closing, I'd just like to add that I'm not usually the biggest fan of the "horror punk" genre in general. I like a lot of the bands, but I don't think I could restrict myself to nothing but this type of stuff. So, with that in mind, I still have to give Under A Nightmare "two thumbs up" (I hope I don't get sued for that). They'll make you wanna dance... and maybe eat some brains.

--Sam Sinister

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