Misfits, Walk Among Us
Making sure you have a killer tune to hum while you punch someone out
Whatever your taste in American punk, it cannot be denied that one of the genre's most enduring documents remains Walk Among Us, the 1983 full-length by the Misfits — Lodi, New Jersey's entry in the hardcore sweepstakes.
After a series of independently released singles and a shelved attempt at a first album (1978's Static Age), the endearingly camp horror-punks aligned themselves with Ruby (an imprint of mighty U.S. punk label Slash) for their proper debut. While the album has far higher production values than their previous output, the songs — the vision of frontman/chief writer Glenn Danzig — remain raw-sounding while sporting tuneful vocal melodies and lyrical obsessions with B-grade horror movies. The Gun Club's Jeffrey Lee Pierce may have conjured the phrase "Elvis from Hell," but on tracks like "Skulls" and "Astro Zombies," Danzig embodied that very description with a sly '50s croon and a roar that made girls swoon and guys want to beat the crap out of one another in circle pits. "Mommy Can I Go Out And Kill Tonight" remains timeless in its proto-thrash execution, and "Vampira" sets the bar for concise metal-punk crossovers. The Misfits' sonic legacy continues to crop up in unusual places, whether its post-emo superstars My Chemical Romance covering them for a Tony Hawk-curated compilation or Slint's Dave Pajo doing laidback acoustic covers of the band's most perverse tracks. Respect from seemingly disparate quarters says something about a band's continued resonance. And while their Huntington Beach colleagues certainly brought unbridled fury to the lexicon of rock, the Misfits made sure you had a killer tune to hum while you were punching someone out.