Gruesome (2007) – By Brian Morton

 When someone puts out a ‘horror-rock’ album, you usually get something either totally unlistenable or something so heavy and hard that you can’t understand any of the words…at least that’s my experience. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard of the new horror concept album and been sold by the marketing, bought the album, only to listen to the first track and then pull it out of the player and put it away forever, so when a new CD, Gruesome, came in the mail, you might say I was a bit skeptical. Man, I couldn’t have been more wrong!!!

Based on a character created by Gregory Lamberson, Johnny Gruesome is a self proclaimed Headbanger From Hell. After a ‘hophead’ kills him, totals his car and steals his girl, Johnny Grissom returns from the dead to take revenge on the people who wronged him and any other wicked person in his way. The book should be out shortly, until then you can read the comic at Johnny, and to keep you on the edge of your seat waiting is this great CD, Gruesome. Now, while I won’t pretend to be some great rock critic, I have been listening to music practically my whole life and I know what I like and this CD is AMAZING! Giasone and Marcy Italiano are the artists who put this together and they couldn’t have done a better job. From the opening with an ominous passage from The Rhyme Of The Ancient Mariner, the CD launches into some great rock and roll and never lets up. While not all songs are based on the Johnny Gruesome character, they’re all amazing, with Rigor Mortis, Monster, Gruesome and Sorry Mary among my personal favorites. Every song has a great beat, driving guitar and a hook that will have you singing along before you’ve finished hearing the song for the first time! The only song that didn’t sit well with me is Mary Whispers that features Marcy Italiano on keyboard and vocals, and the only reason that song disagreed with me is that it’s so intensely creepy that I couldn’t wait for it to end, between the strange music and the eerie vocals it’s a song that will give you nightmares, but follow up, Sorry Mary, will have you back to tapping your decomposing toes. The Italiano’s have put together a rock album with a horror edge that any fan can get into, running the gammut from the 50s rock-a-billy style of Dave Edmunds or The Stray Cats to the full on rock and roll of an Alice Cooper or Ozzy Osbourne, there’s something here for any rock fan.

This is a CD that any fan of rock or horror should definitely have in their collection. As I said, I was a little skeptical, but this CD made me a total believer, I’ve only had it less than 24 hours, and I’ve already listened to it three times, and loaded it into my iPod so that I’ll have it with me all the time, it’s just that damn good! If you’d like to rock with Johnny Gruesome, you can get the CD, read the comic and, eventually, get the book by heading over to Johnny, I promise you won’t be disappointed, and if you are, then just hope that Johnny Gruesome himself doesn’t get wind of it!