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Murder FM – Happily Never After

Murder FM
Happily Never After
by Aidan MacNaughton at 24 August 2015, 7:57 PM

Happily Never After” marks MURDER FM’s first release. Hailing from Dallas in the United States, Murder FM have has some exciting international success from their formation, such as opening for “Trashfest” in Helsinki, Finland. They appear to be a band that wants the limelight and who desires stardom we find that Happily Ever After might just provide some catchy “hit” industrial sounding rock songs This release is nothing outstanding, something that needs to be said outright. It is a pastiche of influences from Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails and Motley Crue, and while it does make for a fairly enjoyable listen, it lacks verve, a feeling of originality and a sense of passion. MURDER FM has music that will sound normal to rocker but rather bland and under remarkable for the metalhead.

The album opens with its first song “Legion” that has an edgy, jarring sound. The guitars have that heavy industrial fuzz sound. It has that “hit” radio sound, and follows typical rock hit music conventions, and you are bound to go away feeling that sense of familiarity that you have heard before when you hear the lyrical motif, “This is a legion…” It has a slow tempo but it keeps ones head nodding, though the vocalist seems to stand out more, and his sound is very much like Marilyn Manson’s which is fascinating and still enjoyable.

In “We The Evil” we hear a marked and distinct keyboard sound, which adds some interest to the song – it does seem to fit in nicely with the song. The back-up vocalist provide it with a less “Marilyn Manson feel” although the tone of the song shifts a tad, which is interesting but perhaps no so if you are not exactly into higher pitches sung vocals. I am not myself, but I can acknowledge that it makes an interesting and fabulous contrast from the main vocals, and I imagine it emphasise an emotional aspect of the song.

We The Evil” also has very basic sounding guitar riffs which are slightly unimaginative. They do not do much, except provide the mandatory rhythm to scaffold the song. There is nothing inherently wrong with this, although it does get samey. In fact, it sounds well organised an, so we get a rhythmic aural clarity that is simple and satisfying. The technicality is rather minimal, for example, at 2m30s we hear a basic descending motif and it does stand out against the riffs and it did seem rather random in there. I think we can say that it needed some kind of spice as it was not memorable, if fact, it is something that is noticeably banal. In spite of the rhythmic clarity and simplicity we do experience moments when we are reminded of it, which is not exactly welcoming. That being said it still retains its hit sound, so it ought to be unsurprising that we do not experience anything unique and astounding.

During the song “Last Breath” Norman’s vocals stood out and did not seem to work well with the guitar riff choice. It is boring – a “bread and butter” song, with not much gravy. Because it lacks the “hit feeling” there is not much else to enjoy. I guess not every song can be a hit.

Machine Gun Kisses” brings back the vital ”hit song” conventions with its catchy “Marching Gun Kisses” chorus. We hear some nice, animalistic chugging, bound to get bodies moving a 2m22s into the song – I think this album needed more of these types of chugging. It’s predictable structure was welcoming – we can anticipate the parts we enjoy, but I have to underscore that the lyrical line “Machine Gun Kisses” gets repeated an extraordinary number of times and it sounds a tad exhausting after a while. I imagine this song would sound annoying on many listening sessions.

In the song “Burn” we hear a nice intro with some use of the electric bass. At 2m25s we hear some nice synthesisers, which is used sparingly. This song at least has a slightly melancholic feel, and there is experimentation with a different sound that ultimately culminates in a decent ending. Not bad!

Finally! We do get to experience some higher melodies and notes, which is a change from the same old industrial fuzz sounding guitar chugging. This song mimics the “Last Breath” sound with its similar lyrical motifs.

Interestingly enough “We the Evil (Tommy-Lee Re-Mix)” sounds very much like a combination of Marilyn Manson’s “Heart Shapes Glasses (Inhuman Remix) and his Arma-Godd**n-Motherf**kin-Geddon Teddy Bears Remix. Neat. And also somewhat strange due to the vocal and musical similarities.

Perhaps I have been too hard in this review. There is no doubt that the “hit” type rock songs have their place in the realm. If you are into the Marilyn Manson/Nine Inch Nail’s sound and you want to hear a similar variant (with clear sung vocals) then this album is probably worth checking out. For some, bog down bread and butter rock is sufficient for a great listen, and that is okay, but for others it could verge on boring. Ultimately though, it seemed that “Happily Never After” is more about getting themselves in the limelight, getting their music popular, and with that something else felt missing. This is neither good nor bad however as this is their first release, and despite some of my criticisms, I have no doubt that “Happily Never After” will be rightly enjoyed by many.

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Legion
2. We the Evil
3. Last Breath
4. Machine Gun Kisses
5. Burn
6. Slaves
7. Lethal Lovers
8. Like Glass
9. Happily Neverafter
10. Rainy Day
11. We the Evil (Tommy Lee Re-Mix)
Lineup:
Norman “The Gnar” Matthew – Vocals, Guitar, Programming
J6 – Bass, Backing Vocals
Matt X3r0 – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Jason “Shakes” West – Drums
Record Label: Famous Records Global
     


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