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Dog Fashion Disco - "Beating A Dead Horse, To Death... Again" (CD)

Dog Fashion Disco - "Beating A Dead Horse, To Death... Again" CD cover image

"Beating A Dead Horse, To Death... Again" track listing:

1. Baby Satan
2. Day Of The Dead
3. Gardenia
4. Rat On A Sinking Ship
5. Devil's Wife
6. Barely Breathing
7. Satan's March
8. Anaconda
9. Worms In A Dog's Heart
10. 100 Suicides
11. 9 To 5 At The Morgue
12. Desert Grave
13. Turning Gay
14. Hank Steel The Real Queer Cowboy

Reviewed by on May 17, 2009

"'Devil's Wife' reminds me more of U2 than any metal act out there, with its Edge-style guitars. It's pop rock at its twisted best, as is the Foo Fighters-ish 'Barely Breathing.'"

Odds and ends collections are always strange to review. You really can't praise or bash them for their coherence or lack thereof. They reduce reviewing to its most basic concept: Are most of the songs good?

In the case of Dog Fashion Disco's "Beating a dead horse, to death ... again," the answer is yes, most of the songs are good — so good, in fact, that many of them will appeal to people who've never heard of this band, which formally ended in 2007.

It's difficult to accurately pin down just what Dog Fashion Disco's sound is, other than to say that the influence of genre-busting bands like Faith No More and Mr. Bungle is definitely felt here. You could argue that a track like "Baby Satan," which opens this disc, is a "mostly metal" track, but those elements combine with gothic vocals and keyboards to great effect.

Founder (and only constant member) Todd Smith sounds a bit like Mike Patton, mixed with some hardcore screaming, on many of the album's first tracks, especially "Gardenia," which mixes loud guitars and piano in some intriguing ways.

"Devil's Wife" reminds me more of U2 than any metal act out there, with its Edge-style guitars. It's pop rock at its twisted best, as is the Foo Fighters-ish "Barely Breathing."

What would a set like this be without a track from a movie sountrack? Unfortunately, "Satan's March," from "Dominion: A Prequel To The Exorcist," is just your average end-credits-crawl song, and despite a few creepy atmospherics, it doesn't add much to the collection — except for completion. Next up is a cover from a tribute album — this one, a version of the Melvins' "Anaconda." It's pretty weak as well.

Then there are some tracks recorded live in a radio studio, the best of which is "Desert Grave," with Smith doing his best Johnny Cash impression over a country groove, complete with player-piano-style keyboards. It's a real blast.

The last two tracks, "Turning Gay," and "Hank Steel The Real Queer Cowboy," are the kinds of "joke tracks" that often appear on collections like this. "Turning Gay" is the more amusing of the two, with Smith going into power ballad mode. "Hank Steel The Real Queer Cowboy" does the whole "Brokeback" parody thing that was done better by The Reverend Horton Heat on "Cowboy Love." These aren't the "best-of" kinds of songs you'd put on albums anyway.

Still, for an odds and ends collection, this album's not bad. Dog Fashion Disco fans ought to get this one to complete their collections, and fans of genre-busting metal will probably enjoy most of the songs.

Highs: The country song "Desert Grave," the U2-ish "Devil's Wife" and the mostly-metal opener "Baby Satan."

Lows: "Satan's March" and "Anaconda" are weak, as is the country parody "Hank Steel The Real Queer Cowboy."

Bottom line: If you're looking to mix metal with jazz, country and other genres, here's a good way to do it.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)