Wednesday, January 19 2011 00:00

DR. ACULA - SLANDER (Album Review)

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VR613I've said it before and I'll say it again: DR. ACULA is an acquired taste. Think Cannibal Corpse being fondled by Mr. Bungle while watching TMZ and you're on the right track. The New York band has been kicking around in various incarnations for over half a decade, and you're either going to love 'em or hate 'em with no in-between. When they first hit my radar with an early demo of "Shocker on Shock Street" (later re-recorded for their 2008 album BELOW ME), I found them amusing and rockin' at the same time. Since then, they've changed members like most change underwear, but their brand of "party grind" has remained largely the same.

On their latest album, SLANDER (out February 15th via Victory Records), the band is at their best-produced level yet, taking shots at pop culture and music as a whole. Opening up with "Clinger (Stage 5)", a rant from an ex-girlfriend involving Facebook, the band tears into "Fire Crotch (The Venereal Van Ride)" with an introductory roar of "Here we go again!" (a warning to some, a welcoming call to others)  DR. ACULA responds to the Clinger by stating"Fuck all your friends."

Nearly every track on SLANDER opens with an audio sample. Familiar quotes from  FRIDAY THE 13th PART VI: JASON LIVES, JERSEY SHORE, CHARLES MANSON, and ROB ZOMBIE's THE DEVIL'S REJECTS make their way into the mix, alongside a GHOSTBUSTERS "proton pack," and a classic line from the "This is your brain on drugs..." commercials of the 1980's. Each fits well with what follows, such as the F13 clip which segues from "I've seen enough horror movies to know that any weirdo wearing a mask is never friendly." into the instruction to "Run Run Run for your Life..."

Musically, the grind is fierce. Comparisons to Cannibal Corpse are easy to make, while the dueling vocals recalls that of Brutal Truth with a deep growl on one side, a high-pitched, raspy shriek on the other. There's space to breathe here, the perfect opportunity to make that circle pit you've been thinking about.

Unfortunately, SLANDER's faults are the same points that make it so damn entertaining. While the novelty and fun is good for a bit, repeated doses may lose their effectiveness.

While the traditional Death Metal/Grindcore community might raise an eyebrow (or simply raise a middle finger) to the sounds of DR. ACULA, they're a band that fills a gap that no one else seems interested in filling. Would you like a little humor with your Grind today?

Rating: 3.5/5

James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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