Sound: This is quite suspicious to hear a CD starting with jingling bells. Especially when you know you were buying a metal album. The second track in Purgatory Dance Party puts everything in the right places -- haunting piano, tragic chorus and punk-rock drums. You know you're into something special. Purgatory Dance Party is the debut album from Baltimore based alt-metal band Polkadot Cadaver. It sounds too good to be the first record and that's no wonder -- before becoming what they are now, the members had formed another group -- Dog Fashion Disco. The new band was created to unleash schizophrenic madness. The debut just proves they achieved the aim. The opener A Long Strange Trip to Paradise is not the only odd track on the record. Apart from Chloroform Girl that sounds pretty much like it, the whole CD reminds of a freak cabaret.
The current fashion for noise, as well as electronic flourishes didn't pass Polkadot Cadaver. A lot of the songs are electronic-driven, which puts a lot of diversity into metal as a genre. Phantom Limb with its accordion parts are what Gogol Bordello would sound like, had Eugene Hutz gone into metal. You'll find a variety of instruments on the record -- such as an organ in the beginning of Death Wish, most of them (I guess) created by computer with an exception of saxophone by guest Matt Rippetoe. In What's The Worst Thing guitarist Jasan Stepp makes a mediocre attempt to play a Slayer-influenced riff. Not very original, but it works for the song. // 8
Lyrics: The guys are definitely not trying to change the world with their songs. They write about whatever comes to their minds -- their native Baltimore, plane crashes, narcissistic models. I'd say Todd Smith borrowed a lot from Marilyn Manson when it comes to manners, intense and sudden changes -- this is about aggressive songs. When it comes to those soft exceptions Haunted Holiday and Sole Survivor, it's more like Beatles' sweet meowing. In Brainwash sometimes it's hard to understand if that's Smith or a female guest vocalist singing. Another computer effect? If yes, it's worth it! // 8
Overall Impression: Nothing to do with music, but I just couldn't resist to mention it -- the cover of the CD was probably designed for one of Smith and company's albums with the previous project Dog Fashion Disco. Good thing about the album - songs are different from each other -- not a very frequent occasion these days, you know. The majority of the tracks are radio-friendly, sometimes even commercially-oriented and partly danceable (like Bring Me The Head of Andy Warhol). It never goes too deep, though, and I don't think the guys tried to shape the music according to some formulas or control their emotions while recording. They've never achieved commercial success with their previous band, neither will they with this one, but it's a decent record worthy to take a place in your CD collection. // 8