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Electric Frankenstein

How To Make A Monster

(Victory)

***

THE MOST PROLIFIC band on the punk rock scene right now (besides Swedish Stooges worshippers the Hellacopters), Electric Frankenstein return with their umpteenth colossal release of this year, with more down-and-dirty, balls-to-the-wall punk rock fury to rival late-'70s originators like Radio Birdman, Dictators and Dead Boys. But frankly, How To Make A Monster is the group's least straight-ahead punk album. It's a titanic trash-and-roll effort that could slay a fire-breathing dragon with its heavy riffing and huge production sound (it rivals the 10-ton Marshall amp wattage of AC/DC if they were locked in hand-to-hand combat with the resurrected Misfits).

Loud, brutal and horrific are all key ingredients to the punk formula EF has honed and perfected since 1994. Once-estranged lead vocalist Steve Miller is back piloting this jet-fueled hearse (a major improvement over the string of has-beens that filled in). Standout tracks include the earth-shattering Heartbreakers-style clamor of "Speed Girl," the emotional depth charge launched on "My World," and the speed-demon intoxication of "Don't Know How To Stop You." Miller's coarse, beer-soaked voice propels the band from being merely average to the ascending kings of the Coney Island High punk scene. But heck, let's not slight the cranium-splitting twin-guitar subterfuge of Jim Foster and Sal Canzonieri, who brandish their six-string arsenals with the grotesque butchery and ear-piercing noise of Leatherface's runaway chainsaw.

If the dearly departed Herman Munster had had the opportunity to hear these veteran New Jersey splatter punks, he'd be moshing joyously on top of his grave site as we speak. There is no denying the fact that EF (along with the 'Copters) is one of the best punk bands on the planet today.

-- Ron Bally

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