Thursday, December 14, 2023

Full Length Review: St. Madness "Last Rites: The Final Blessing" (pre-release) (Nasty Prick Records) by Dave Wolff

Band: St. Madness
Location: Scottsdale, Arizona
Country: USA
Genre: Southern groove metal
Format: Digital album
Label: Nasty Prick Records
Release date: July 8, 2022
Having started in 1993 as Crown of Thorns and renaming themselves in 1997, Arizona's St. Madness has earned a reputation as a recording and touring band, releasing eleven full lengths (including a live album), and performing with a variety of artists, including Van Halen, King Diamond, Misfits and Destruction. It is credited that they invented the "Tempe Sound" and won Los Angeles Music Awards' Metal Album of the Year award for their album "Carnimetal", all from the grassroots and through their own independent label.
Having listened to a few songs from older albums such as "Vampires in the Church" and "Saintanic", I gather they specialize in gallows humor and social satire, as if they’re thumbing their noses at people who take metal too seriously. An idiosyncratic sound is devised by St. Madness with foundations of horror punk, Southern rock and metal, outlaw biker, tongue in cheek Mentors-style chauvinism and a touch of appeal for enthusiasts of occultism and true crime accounts. Additionally, the band has been known to record a few covers over the years. Several of these covers are of familiar songs: Ozzy, Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Troggs, Johnny Cash and Billy Idol for example. Familiar or not, St. Madness has a way of reinterpreting them in a flawless manner.
It is evident their releases up to "Last Rites: The Final Blessing" contain a lot of controlled energy and an ominous rumble that’s held firmly in check, like a volcano waiting to erupt when the time comes. Musically, they've become heavier, but their lyrics are becoming more sober and ruminative. Like the innermost thoughts of someone who is struggling with his free spirit and past mistakes, a struggle most people experience sooner or later. Are you changing completely to come of age, or are you learning to make decisions for yourself, learning from human error, developing more knowledge, and bettering yourself on your own terms? This is the discord running through this album, a struggle to find balance between oneself and the outside world.
As Kipling put it, “The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. To be your own man is hard business. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.” For this it seems appropriate that youth is remembered through the band’s cover of W.A.S.P.’s “Wild Child”. –Dave Wolff

Prophet: Vocals, lyrics
Sid Ripster: Lead guitar
Messorem: Lead and rhythm guitar
Devlin Lucius: Bass
Evil T: Drums

Track list:
1. My Music Manifesto
2. A Time for Reflection
3. Biologic Manipulation
4. The Blood is the Life
5. They're All Gone
6. Wild Child [W.A.S.P. cover]

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