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Album Reviews : Wednesday 13 – Condolences

By on May 17, 2017

Wednesday 13 (Joseph Poole) has always been a fan of the macabre and the theatrical. Taking his moniker from two of his favourite TV shows – Wednesday from The Addams Family & 13 from the street address of The Munsters (1313 Mockingbird Lane) – Wednesday has always infused his love of the spooky and kooky into everything he has done artistically and musically. His musical career has seen involvement in several groups in which he has adapted his Gothic/Glam Rock perspective. These include Manic Spider Trash, Frankenstein Drag Queens from Planet 13, Bourbon Crow, Gunfire 76 and of course the beloved Murderdolls with ex-Slipknot veteran Joey Jordison. But, no other project has captured Poole’s artistic tastes and approach to songwriting and production as successfully as the eponymous – Wednesday 13.

Beginning with Transylvania 90210: Songs of Death, Dying & The Dead (2005) and Fang Bang (2008), Wednesday indulged in his own tastes in the form of tributes to various American Horror films and established his Horror Punk meets Glam meets Goth meets Heavy Metal sound. The band’s sound and imagery has darkened and become more “Metal” over the years and this metamorphosis is evident in the albums Skeletons (2008) & Calling All Corpses (2011 – Mastered by Tom Baker whose credits include working with Manson, NIN, Zombie & Ministry) but nothing quite arrestingly so as in their latest output: the definitively dark, acutely artistic and highly enjoyable album, Condolences (2017).

Condolences, (released under Nuclear Blast Records who have been helping to revamp the sound of many a band for 2016/17, including Kreator‘s Gods of Violence, Testament‘s Brotherhood of the Snake and Overkill‘s The Grinding Wheel, to name but a few), is an album of reinvention for Wednesday 13. Unlike their previous output (e.g. Monsters of the Universe: Come Out and Plague), Condolences is not a concept album but an album that explores the very concept of death itself. With a track list of 13, death is explored through the eyes of the killer, the victim, through to the funeral and finally, to the afterlife.

Concerning the title “Condolences”, Wednesday comments on its inspiration by stating that himself and fellow band members lost people close to them coupled with the shock of losing music icons such as Lemmy, David Bowie & Prince. Wednesday is also accepting his own mortality in Condolences as he recently turned 40 and realised that nothing lasts forever including celebrity and life itself. As well as a new sound with a more serious tone, the look of Wednesday 13, down to the band’s costuming and makeup, the album’s music videos, its artwork and the Wednesday 13 logo, has changed to accommodate the band’s urgent and dynamic, aesthetic and sonic evolution.

What struck me personally about this album is the fact that Wednesday, along with lead guitarist Roman Surman and drummer Kyle Castronovo, did not have to look to works of fiction and entertainment to draw inspiration for Condolences but instead looked to the tension, death and despair that had pervaded their own lives and that of society in recent times. From the iniquitous video tracks – ‘What The Night Brings’ & ‘Bloodsick’, the murderous perspective of the lyrics to ‘You Kill, I Breathe’ and the searing loss and despair of the title track, Condolences is the soundtrack to a society on the edge of its own demise. Thankfully for us though, Wednesday & Co, have presented us with the vision of a macabre, theatrical Netherworld that may offer more than this tired world we know and instead, as the closing track states, offer instead a more enjoyable and fulfilling ‘Death Infinity’.

Band: Wednesday 13
Album: Condolences
Year: 2017
Genre: Goth Metal
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Origin: USA