Album Review
Voodoo Glow Skulls
Label: Epitaph
Reviewed by Stephen Rafael
Altie. Aggro. Emo. Labeling music and fitting bands into specific genres has always been a bad idea. Hardcore. Grrlcore. Queercore. Labeling the Voodoo Glow Skulls and placing their style of music into a particular category is pretty much impossible. Fast and furious, the Voodoo Glow Skulls are a punk rock group with a killer horn section. Or a monster ska band with a vicious punk rock edge. Or a Year 2000-compliant, built to kill edition of Oingo Boingo. Whatever. Besides singer Frank Casillas' instantly recognizable voice, some things about the Voodoo Glow Skulls' album, Symbolic, remain certain: 1) Symbolic will provide listeners with the history of VGS at least twice. (Check out the songs "We're Back" and "The Drop In" for proof.) 2) Symbolic will contain lyrics sung in Spanish as well as English, and at least one song title will translate into something dirty. (Look up "El Mas Chingon" in your high school Spanish-English dictionary.) 3) Symbolic will feature plenty of cool musical guests such as Jim (the Reverend Horton Heat) Heath, Epitaph Records owner Brett Gurewitz, and Guttermouth's Mark Adkins. ("Normally, I'd say take that goddamn trombone and stick it up your twotone ass," endorses Adkins.) 4) Symbolic will stop and point its intensity at a few serious subjects. ("Silencer" slams racism and the evils of society. "The Devil Made Me Do It" is a cautionary, first person rewrite of Oingo Boingo's "Only A Lad.") And finally, about this labeling thing... Singer-guitarist Mario Escovedo once said that he wished his band, the Dragons, could play with the passion and abandon of a bunch of pissed-off, drunken mariachis, who find themselves chasing the garbage truck at five in the morning. I think the Voodoo Glow Skulls have found what Mario was looking for, and a whole lot more.

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