Wednesday 13 : Monsters of the Universe: Come Out & Plague

Wednesday 13 - 'Monsters of the Universe Come Out & Plague' - Artwork2015 is only a few days old and if the early indications are anything to go with it’s going to be a bumper year for great new music from some familiar favourites. One of the first arrivals of the year was Monsters of the Universe: Come Out & Plague, the new opus from the king of shock-punk, Wednesday 13.

The album is the follow up to 2013’s excellent The Dixie Dead, and sees Mr. 13 further exploring his interest in all things weird and wonderful. In place of his usual fixation with monsters and B movie screamers here Wednesday explores the themes of conspiracy theories and alien visitations in his own inimitable style.

Thematically Monsters… is a proper old fashioned concept album. It had its genesis in a fascination with the weird and the offbeat, as the great man says “I’d become really intrigued with forbidden history books, UFOs, religions/astrotheology, and all sorts of conspiracy theories over the past few years. The subject matter so bizarre and weird”.

Bizarre and weird, that sounds promising then. Tales of alien visitors, hidden secrets and, of course, Zombies and monsters… There have to be zombies and monsters, those are the rules.

It’s actually kind of surprising it’s taken Wednesday 13 this long have a go at a concept album, you’d think it’s a format that suits his love of spinning a dark yarn to perfection and it’s not a massive leap of the imagination from where he was with The Dixie Dead. Over the course of his 6 solo album career he’s continuously evolved, albeit with the evolution being a gradual process which rarely sees him deviating far from his trademark horror-punk formula. The Dixie Dead and his stuff with his “other” band did take things in a more metallic and, dare I say it, polished direction and that’s in evidence here too with some neat thrashy riffs deployed to great effect.

The use of newsreel reports of lights in the sky and mysterious diseases adds an extra layer to the album, giving it an almost movie soundtrack feel in places. Overall it has more than its fair share of stand out tracks (Come Out And Plague and Into The Crop Circle being prime examples) and it’s a classic “all killer no filler” affair.

Also, like any good concept album, it’s something that demands to be listened to from beginning to end.

The evolution from a series of short, sharp punk rock shocks to a more coherent approach has been handled with some style. Although short, sharp and shocking is delivered as expected, there are longer tracks that drag you into the darker reaches of Wednesday’s imagination. We’ve been there before but this is on a grander scale, with a couple of the tracks on here weighing in at over 6 minutes.

Epic, innit.

If you’re waiting for Wednesday 13 to fall into any of the “taking things too seriously” / concept album / self produced ego trip pitfalls then I’m afraid you’ll have to keep waiting, Monsters… is classic Wednesday 13 with a twist and it’s going to keep his army of fans very happy indeed.