Death’s Black Train
HoundGawd Records, 2012
The Raymen are a horror institution whose legacy reaches all the way back to 1985. They are also twice as creepy as the shortcut through that empty graveyard you thought was a good idea 10 minutes ago, before the moon disappeared behind the clouds and before it was raining.
Equal parts Johnny Cash and Tex Ritter filtered through Link Wray’s ultra-reverbed tube amp with touches of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins humor thrown in to make it really interesting. This is the first release by the Raymen in ten years. Was it worth the wait . . . Well, yeah.
There’s 5 songs here, and as good as they are, it’ll make you want more. “Flame On Famous Flame” is an up beat, sort of anthemic number with stunning production and big buzzy guitars. “Living In The City Of The Living Death” is the scene stealer, and feels like it was written for the next season of The Walking Dead. “Weird Generation” is a great restrained stomp, full of background racket noise that fades in and out over the beat, building tension and drama. “When Death‘s Black Train Is Coming Down” shuffle forward purposefully, stopping for no one and nothing, absorbing the dead as it passes. “Long Tall Shadow With Fire Eyes” reveals itself slowly, understanding fear is far worse when there’s time to understand what fresh hell awaits.
The Raymen could teach the current crop of death obsessed headbangers and assorted hard rock acts a thing or two about being creepy, sinister, and scary as hell.