Sound — 6
Since their debut album in 1982, Misfits has persevered through multiple lineup changes, legal battles, and ideological divergences (not necessarily negative). Yet, their evolving brand of horror-punk-rock-heavy metal has continued to draw crowds to these fathers of the genre. Through listening to the band's third live album, "DEA.D. Alive!", one can see why. This album signals the full transition into the new lineup of Misfits (A.D. theoretically refers to "After Danzig"). Devoid of original singer, Glenn Danzig, and any of the material attributed to him, the band's current lineup of Jerry Only, Dez Cadena, and Eric Arce brings the energy, fun, and eccentrics that keep the band relevant today. Since this is a live album, the perceived vibe is important and defining, more so than on a studio album. Regardless of what their intentions might be (these may actually be them), the album offers the vibe of a punk rocker with deeper tunings and darker, yet insincere, lyrics as well as the occasional pentatonic guitar solo or sound effect backing track. From listening to this upbeat live album, one would not think that Misfits dress up in more horror-oriented garb than both KISS and Alice Cooper while trying to replicate horror movies and Gothic themes in their lyrics. The track list for the album is: 01. The Devil's Rain 02. Vivid Red 03. Land Of The Dead 04. Curse Of The Mummy's Hand 05. Cold In Hell 06. Dark Shadows 07. Death Ray 08. Shining 09. American Psycho 10. Dig Up Her Bones 11. Scream! 12. Helena 13. Science Fiction/Double Feature 14. Saturday Night From the vibe of the album, it seems like Misfits are having a blast performing, almost to the point of not taking the recording seriously. This sort of cockiness is somewhat admirable, displaying the probable atmosphere at a Misfits show. This cockiness can also be heard on the album when you can tell that the band is not playing 100% in-sync. It isn't awful or even degrading by many standards. For me, it's noticeable that they play with neither a Rush-like precision nor a Led Zeppelin-esque feel for each other. It is also probably in this regard, how the songs on the live album differ most from their studio album cohorts. Even with this somewhat noticeable deficiency, Misfits conveys a very positive live experience that seems to make their shows worth going to. Overall, "DEA.D. Alive!" is an above average live album that accomplishes the goals that live albums should accomplish; give an impression of a band's sound, sum up the best material the band has to offer, and encourage the listener to go to a live show or at least tell their friends to.
Lyrics — 6
This is the first live album featuring Jerry Only as the lead vocalist. Since taking over as the lead vocalist in 2001, Misfits have released one original studio album, "The Devil's Rain". I guess that it would make sense this album accounts for half of the tracks on "DEA.D. Alive!" from my own readings, it seemed that Jerry Only was criticized for not being as true to Misfits form as previous singers, Danzig and Graves. While this may be a negative for some classic Misfits fans, his change in tone helps the live album, transforming the vibe into more of a late night party atmosphere than a poorly written horror script, which makes Misfits more attractive as a live punk commodity. In general, I thought that his voice was unique enough to separate him from the barrage of similar sounding punk singers that we have nowadays. This separates Misfits and this album in particular from the relative copycats of the horror-punk genre, most and probably all of whom came after Misfits. Only's performance, filled with many woe-o-oh's and references to Halloween, was one of the defining parts of the album, and should have been put higher in the mix than it was. However, as I mentioned before, it still seemed slightly out of sync and cocky. There is a chance that if it were raised in the mix, glaring mistakes could be more easily noticed. Overall, classic Misfits fans may not be impressed by how Jerry Only influenced their sound, but for me, it heightens the value of the album by making their live shows seem attractive.
Overall Impression — 8
While the popularity of Misfits is waning, they are still highly relevant in the musical world. This live album will encourage new fans to check out their live show as well as to help gain a few new ones. Unfortunately, I don't believe that "DEA.D. Alive!" will be accorded enough acclaim in the musical world to enable it to spread to people who have never heard of the band, leading to the likely outcome of "DEA.D. Alive!" becoming a compilation album of their new material to be kept only by collectors.