Since his last solo album, “Abominator”, Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein has been featured in “Death Ward 13”, a remake of the trash classic, “Don’t Look in the Basement”, and starred as a pulverizing brute in Alan Robert‘s horror comic book series, “Killogy”. The much-lauded two-show reunion with Glenn Danzig and Jerry Only as “THE ORIGINAL MISFITS” in 2016 gave the ghoulish guitarist further reason to believe in his own second coming.
This year, Doyle drops his follow-up album, “II: As We Die”, which retains the services of CANCERSLUG‘s Alex “Wolfman” Story and BLACK FLAG drummer Brandon “The Crusher” Pertzborn along with current bassist Izzy Strate. On this album, the power of the riff is equal to the power of Doyle‘s chiseled core. The release is stuffed with more of the same as “Abominator”, with a few new tricks. Suffice it to say, with songs titled “Kiss Me as We Die”, “Virgin Sacrifice”, “Beast Like Me”, “We Belong Dead” and “Run for Your Life”, you know what to expect here. The new video for “Run for Your Life” sums up the gory chi of “II: As We Die”. Here we have the mutton-chopped Story, looking like a marsupialized version of The Cook from “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” in his younger days, giving vixens the throat-goring once-over. Hey, it’s not like you’re coming to a Doyle album to hear a jazz-fusion interpretation of bohemians scrawling slam manifestos over steaming espresso. Well, maybe if you add a swarm of killer cockroaches mauling them inside a fugue-bombed flat.
The CANDLEMASS-esque doom chords opening “Kiss Me as We Die” re-establishes Doyle as a metal monger instead of a punk fiend, though as ever, one can detect his roots scattered throughout the album. The tempo kicks up and Doyle drops his chomping licks as Alex Story continues to establish himself as a unique voice in Doyle‘s own canon. Story‘s cleans are perfectly pleasing as he glues unto the humming riffs, his rowdy woofs layered behind the groove. Doyle‘s lady love, ARCH ENEMY‘s Alissa White-Gluz, contributes a sensuous backdrop, making “Kiss Me as We Die” one of his best-structured songs.
Story gets drowned by the rapid tempo and snarling chords on “Beast Like Me”, and, frankly, he sounds literally as much as figuratively lost in the mix. The track rocks, to be certain, but Alex Story‘s aloof growling sparsely locks in. At least he’s a larger presence on the goth-kissed “God of Flies”, and he matches the song’s tone accordingly. Doyle‘s sinister, screeching barbs from his custom-made Annihilator guitar—along with his mourning peals on “Run for Your Life”, “We Belong Dead” and “Darkside”—are the sounds of Svengoolie-celebrated B-horror escorted into Doyle‘s refurbished proto doom processionals.
“Darkside” contains the album’s hungriest set of riffs. Here Doyle merges punk, grunge and proto metal, while “Witchcraft” heads straight to BLACK SABBATH‘s doom-huffing playbooks. In Doyle‘s considerable hands, the chords are as hefty as his ripped build. It’s one of the gnarliest cuts of the album, yielding peppy choruses jerked out of the 1950s—naturally carrying faint nods to the MISFITS. The same trick is giddily employed on “We Belong Dead”. The hellish “King of the Undead” thereafter dips into SAINT VITUS turf with a couple of contemporary agro twists.
The muscular drive of “Show No Mercy” is more energizing than a pre-workout shot of C4, and is tailored both for socking it out in the pit as well as tugging out a 20-rep set of hammer curls. You can no doubt add an extra zero in Doyle‘s case. If you do workout, the moshing mayhem on “Blood on the Axe” is likely to send you to the T-bar in a berserker frenzy, if not add an easy six or seven reps to your pull-ups. Ending the album with the equally frantic “Night of Sin”, Doyle stacks the riffs as sensibly as a serious bodybuilder should with shoulders and triceps regimens. Doom and galloping power metal give Alex Story as much of a strenuous workout; he’s required to be all over the place in Doyle‘s five-minute sojourn through bedlam.
Tag-teaming with MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson‘s EMP label, Doyle‘s Monsterman is not merely an imprint, but a sustaining life force for the beast that needs to turn out, particularly from his guitars. “II: As We Die” stages a loud and often fun demoniac riff party from one of the undying legends of the underground.