Misfits Records; 2013
This is the first authorized live Misfits recording since the 1980s, and it starts a little too slow for my liking. What’s wrong, initially, is that the first few songs are somewhat tepid. The performances aren’t the problem, the material is. “Curse of the Mummy’s Hand,” “Cold in Hell,” and “Vivid Red,” are simply lackluster. Fortunately, the band turns it around starting with “Land of the Dead” and then seriously shifts into high gear with “Dark Shadows.” From this point on, it’s one fierce blast of brilliance after another, the strongest songs being “Shining,” “American Psycho,” and “Dig Up Her Bones.” Dead Alive! features songs recorded from a 2012 Halloween show, when the band commandeered Times Square in New York with the encores recorded before a hometown audience in New Jersey.
Robo and Dez, on drums and guitar respectively, have significantly stepped up their game and their performances are exceptional throughout. Each now has a decade in the band and their playing reflects their constant touring. There are now subtleties and colors in their delivery that were missing only a few years before. Jerry Only’s voice is in great form, holding up just fine on slower numbers as it does on the barn burners. The 14 tracks span recent releases from the most recent, 2012′s The Devil’s Rain, and nothing older than 1997′s impressive comeback, American Psycho. Elsewhere, “Science Fiction/Double Feature” from ”The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is a bit of fun, and while not a complete surprise, it’s also not the most obvious choice from “Rocky Horror” to pick. Closing out with the slow dance floor grind of “Saturday Night,” Only is happy to remind anyone who might be interested that there’s more to The Misfits than their 77-83 legacy. And much of it is worth getting knocked around in the pit for. — M.A. Rivera