The original incarnation of the Misfits was only from 1977-1983, and in that time they essentially created the sound now best known as horror punk, combining dark, heavy hardcore with themes from horror and science fiction films, making music that would influence punk and metal music and culture for countless bands.
In 1993, the band "reformed," with only one original member (Jerry Only on bass). While the band is still fun, they're a pale, homogenized version of the original, and you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who thinks they are anything resembling a substitute for the original.
For the music fan looking for a Misfits substitute (I know, a blasphemous concept, but bear with me), I'd like to submit Plan 9 as a worthy candidate.
Formed in San Francisco as a one-shot Misfits tribute, Plan 9 - the name itself is a nod to Danzig's independent record label – proved to be so popular for their uncanny resemblance to the Danzig-era Misfits that they evolved from a tribute band to a legitimate band carrying on the standard of the sound the Misfits embodied in their golden age.
Aside from three covers, "Archangel," "Teenagers From Mars/We Bite" and "Samhain," the album consists of original material, but those songs blend seamlessly with the cover versions, making it impossible for a novice to Misfits songs to tell which is the original, and which is new material. Song titles are no help, either, as the band grabs suitably Misfits-influnced song titles like "Devil's Advocate," "Undead" and "God Told Me To Kill."
In fact, vocalist Aaron Fuller's voice achieves such dead on reproduction of Danzig's vocals that ManMade Monster comes across as a previously unheard collection of new Misfits materials, albeit one recorded with conspicuously better quality than the original Misfits releases.
The album wraps up with the bands cover of "Samhain," but as the final chords run out, the albums then goes into the bonus track. On ManMade Monster, this bonus is a one more Misfits cover – this time of "Skulls." Rather than the typical Misfits sound embodied throughout the rest of the record, "Skulls" is done as a dark, jazzy cabaret tune, and it's pure genius. Hearing Fuller croon "I want your skulls" conjure up an image of a nightclub from a low-budget horror film, a place where both the Misfits and Plan 9 could be found, hanging out and enjoying the scenery.
If Plan 9 were to explore this sound exhibited on "Skulls," they could probably break away and enjoy an original sound. As it is, they are happy to follow in the Misfits monster-sized footprints. While I would never suggest they could replace or be better than the original version, they are a refreshing break when your Misfits records are getting a bit played out.
Release date: July 8, 2008