All Music Guide
With How to Make a Monster, New York's Electric Frankenstein craft a charged blend of forward-looking rock & roll and use the best of the past as a launchpad. The New York Dolls, Stooges, MC5 and Dead Boys are all sonic predecessors of Electric Frankenstein, whose power and attitude ignite on tracks like "Use Me," "Friction" and "Speed Girl." How to Make a Monster revels in classic, hook-laden rock songwriting but injects it with a new spark.
High octane punk rock and roll you only hear on reissues these days... a blazing log jam of stylishly low-slung rock n' roll attitude jammed on the max.
Dead Beat Magazine
Electric Frankenstein are ready with the follow-up album to the terrific Listen Up, Baby 10". And it's no disappointment. The band picks up where it stopped, so you can expect 12 prime rib punk rock tunes (and one funny litlle intro). But in contrast to prior EF records this album ranges over a variety of music styles and moods. There's the wild 'n aggressive punkers like Up From The Streets and I'm Not Your (Nothing). However, there's also tunes like Use Me, a mid-tempo song, in which Steve Miller could almost be acussed of singing, and which also features a rather eerie sounding chorous. This is followed by Friction, a slow heavy fucker, with a riff drenched in metal. My World has a weird, yet cool, sounding, almost stacatto like guitar sound throughout the whole song, where as Phatty Boom Batty is easily the most light hearted EF song yet (and features a sample from favorite DeadBeat movie Mallrats). The album has a very clean and good sounding production, which suits the new Frankentein sound extremely well, and should also allow new audiences to get into the band. The signing with Victory Records (Blood For Blood, All Out War) must have been a step in the right direction, cuz this is without a doubt the best and most mature EF record to date. So they're finally the band we all hoped they would be, and the future's looking bright!
Goddamn this is a rough album. "Rock" in every sense of the definition, How to Make a Monster (their first LP for Victory Records) is heavier than Walter Hudson balling a black hole.
Mega Kung Fu
Not that this is anything uncommon for New Jersey's kings of Punk Rock n' Roll. Electric Frankenstein has been chugging along since the early nineties releasing a torrent of LPs, EPs and seven inches. If there's anything these rock ogres have learned is that brutal rock isn't made up of over-amped metal shlock and sandpaper screams (as is the consensus of their label mates), but raw energy and bad attitude. EF are more dangerous than a fugoo buffet and meaner than a junkyard dog.
The album opens with "I Was a Modern Prometheus" (the alternate name for Mary Shelly's 'Frankenstein'), a creepy Zacherle-type intro warning the listener of what evil lurks within and the curse Dr. Frankenstein cast upon himself. More so than any of their other releases, How To Make A Monster spreads the Frankenstein motif thick. The gorgeous cover (drawn by Coop) depicts The Bride of Frankenstein showing the Monster her secondhand goods, while the backside treats us to a gorgeous model striking her best Elsa Lanchester pose.
The other heavy shtick EF wields like a club is their "Anti-Rock Conspiracy" theory that rock is a hunted, endangered breed. Rap flooding the Billboard Charts and the Promise Ring signing to a major label does indeed sound like the sinister work of the Illuminati, but after the first blast of EF's "Cut From The Inside," us lunkheads can let a sigh of relief -- rock's not dwindling, it's just being concentrated.
Electric Frankenstein releases their riffs in a furious blitzkrieg. The guitars scream, toss and rip from all directions and the wild rhythm section refuses to keep the band on a narrow line. They hold all the raw power of the Dead Boys and the licks of AC/DC. The guitar solos are maniac and breakneck, never repeating or slowing the momentum of the song. This makes for very uncompromising music, and no Electric Frankenstein song will ever stick in your head, nor can a "few bars" be hummed. Not to say this is a detraction, just an aspect of the sonic bombast. No one would ever consider a jet engine's scream to be catchy, but it sure is fucking loud and nerve-wracking. I'm positive that this album was in the tape deck of all of Ed Roth's hot rods.
The album also benefits from the return of original vocalist Steve Miller. Miller has a powerful roar, his words sounding like they have to fight their way out of a mouthful of whiskey and broken glass. His wail is as powerful as Rob Tyner's or Lemmy's, at times sounding like a cross between Danzig and "Waiting Room" -era Ian MacKaye. His vocals are the only constant force in the album, barking the lyrics like a drill sergeant and fighting the guitars for the most abrasive sound. Miller's voice is best when he's able to slow down a bit, letting him take aim before spitting the lyrics through the stereo, such as in "Pretty Deadly," a strutting mid seventies hard rock head-banger/foot stomper.
Another high point is "Feel the Burn," which holds the tempo of Bad Religion but is about as polished and friendly as a sewer rat. The song is barely able to hold it's rapid pulse till the end. By comparison, the weaker songs on the album are also the longest. The band loses their ammo yet keeps plugging. Although they play their instruments much more competently than 99% of other punk bands, there's nothing overly intricate or subtle going on, and the chaos is lost when the riffs become repeated and familiar (such as in the tribute to Jay and Silent Bob, "Phatty Boom Batty" which ends up treading dangerously close to Motley Crue territory). Keep us on our toes, guys. The only time we should be able to catch our breath is in the samples that riddle the album. They make for a great "Name that Clip" game for fellow horror fans. Besides a wonderful bit from "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," they keep up their Bride of Frankenstein theme with at least three clips, including the brilliant line "I love the dead, hate the living," which sure beats the hell out of "Carpe Diem" as far as profound statements go.
This is also an enhanced CD, throw it in your CD-ROM drive for pics of the band, a discography that would dwarf the Moody Blues and other goodies. I don't know what the record does, but feel free to jam it into your disk drive. However, please give it a listen first.
According to Electric Frankenstein's bio:
"This time, it's Electric Frankenstein's turn to charge things up. Join
the body electric with Electric Frankenstein and help Fight the
Anti-Rock Conspiracy! Keep it Real!" That pretty much will tell the
tale of Electric Frankenstein before their thundering sound hits upon
your poor, poor, unprepared ears.
When you think Victory Records, you think, Strife, Blood for Blood,
Hatebreed, etc. Well, Electric Frankenstein is nothing like the bands
mentioned. It's a complete 180 for this band. Electric Frankenstein
combines old punk (Ramones) with a thick, rocking southern hard rock
appeal. Crazy, yes, but different. And different can be good.
"Cut from the Inside" drives this point home. Very grooving in an
almost classic rock sense, it brings a punk influence that immediately
hits home. From the start you can tell this band is about rocking and
nothing else. Fun in a nutshell.
"Speed Girl" makes you look for the BBQ and all those Southern Bells.
"...She makes a heart beat faster with just a single pill...the only
way to catch her is with a $20 bill..." The guitars in "Speed Girl" are
so thick. The little bass breakdown is lined with a Rob Zombieish
sample. That's the only comparison to that though. The bluesy, grooving
guitar solo is cool too.
"Friction" opens with an almost "guitar anthem" sound. It's chord
progression that makes you feel like Skynyrd is rocking, but heavier.
"My World" is all about the "oi..oi..oi..oi." It's very old school punk
sounding. This is the first punk sounding song since "Cut from the
Inside." Plus the 3 guitars all play different parts in the guitar
solo, which makes for an interesting sound. It almost confuses you as
you listen. There's so much going on. But it works.
"Something for the Pain" is one of my real favorites on this cd. It
once again is in the punk vein, but the chorus reminds you of
Motorhead. It's very weird, but at the same time I think it's very
creative. The guitar work is very fast in this song. And if the band
thundering along wasn't enough, they fire off a few cannons in this 2
minute sledgehammer of a track.
As "How to Make a Monster" moves along, you'll find the punk roots of
the band showing up. "I'm Not Your (Nothing)" is a prime example of
The band really pushes the limits of sound on this album. At times you
think it's classic rock (to a degree) and other times you're pumping
your fist screaming "hey hey hey hey hey." The vocals are very gritty
and raw. Steve has that Lemmy feel, but with a pinch of maybe Gene
When I sat down to listen to this CD I had no idea what to expect. I
think that's what I liked best. Electric Frankenstein is a mixed bag.
It isn't hardcore, it isn't punk, it isn't metal....it's just good. If
you can blend all that stuff together and come up with a term, well
name it. But for now, let's just say it rocks. On the "Sparky Scale"
Electric Frankenstein makes me a believer with an 8 out of 10. Who says
music can't be fun and make a mark at the same time.
Looks like they've mixed some old blood in the
form of singer Steve Miller on this new EF total 100%
throw-the-switches album of punk rock. Thirteen (of course) new songs
about stuff like chicks, being a monster, not liking society and the
usual cerebral mayhem one expects. How To Make A Monster starts off
with the quite appropriate "I Was A Modern Prometheus," which must be
about creating hot looking monster babes in one's garage (along with
playing punk rock). The other twelve numbers are just more and more
fuel for these punk rock mad scientists who, when they're not
terrorizing the countryside, occasionally play to houses packed with
old fart punk rockers. My ears were nearly pulled off by "Speed Girl,"
"Use Me," "Up From the Streets" and "Phatty Boom Batty." The album is
"enhanced," which means, regardless of what kind of computer you have
(Mac or one of those other things) you can surf through the history of
Electric Frankenstein until the sun come up. The only drawback is that
they neglected to include the phone number of the incredible Elsa
Lancaster impersonator whose gorgeous body is placed strategically
about the cover.
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.
Electric Frankenstein get a kick out of the gore and macabe that Rob Zombie is also fixated on. With EF though they lean more towards the punk side of things as opposed to Rob's metal tendencies. These guys know how to rock though. Steve Miller spits out his growly vocals backed up by such a thick guitar sound that you just have to nod your head. The way the use classic metal riffs and solos and make them feel right at home in a heavy punk band is first rate. Complete with the bass breaks as well. This has rock n roll written all over it. Don't let your mom catch you listening to this disc.
Disc of the Week. "Rock Is Dead."--Billy
Corgan/"Smashing Pumpkins Are Dead"--Rock (from the liner notes)
Single-handedly resurrecting rock 'n' roll is a pretty hefty weight on
a band's shoulders, but Electric Frankenstein might just have the
muscle. The magic behind E.F.'s no-frills riffage is in realizing that
rock's true secret is keeping it D-U-M-B. And these guys aren't just
dumb: they hail from Jersey, ferchrisakes. Melodic punk Ã
Dictators has never been more in the front seat. If you're sick and
tired of pre-millennial wieners, Ninja Tune, Backstreet Boys, Lithium
wear and glo sticks, then pick this up. It may be the most important
thing you do.
New York punk-rockers Electric Frankenstein, whose
most recent album is How to Make a Monster (1999), tore through a
frenetic set that included "Speed Girl" (RealAudio excerpt) and "Up
From the Streets." Asked to recall the craziest thing he saw from the
stage, Electric Frankenstein bassist Dan Canzonieri seemed hard pressed
to choose: "Um, there was a girl in front who pulled down her tube top;
that was cool."
The Rock nâ€™ Roll revival is in full bloom at the time, and
lot of Scandinavian bands like the Hellacopters of the Backyard Babies,
Electric Frankenstein is one of the few bands from the States that play
high-quality-dirty-punk-rock, the way it should be. Finally
managed to record a brand-new full-length with their original line-up.
â€œFight The Anti- Rock Conspiracyâ€ is their message, and
they give over
the period of 13 tracks their best to do so. The music reminds me of my
a time about 5 years ago, when bands like ACDC or
to be my favorite bands, itâ€™s loud, dirty and it kicks ass! The
contains a CDROM bonus featuring a long band-history, information about
their former releases and tons of other stuff. The fantastic
cover-artwork is just great, and together with the 13 tracks and the
CDROM bonus itâ€™s pretty much value for the money.
Still Holding On
For me, getting a new EF release is like being a kid at Christmas time.
This is the first EF full length to come out in a long time - they're
mainly a singles and EP band. The record starts out with a creepy
spoken intro. The first song "Cut From the Inside" absolutely rocks!!
Full force, straight ahead, no bullshit. The next three tracks bore me,
which is unusual for these guys. The chorus in "Friction" is okay, but
the rest of the song never seems to take off. But that's okay, because
they get back up to speed for the rest of the album. "Don't Know How To
Stop You" rages with its breaks and driving chorus, a real steamroller.
"Up From the Streets," previously released as a 7" late last year,
appears on this album too. To me, this song is an anthem: "Take a
chance before it's gone/Lose it if you wait too long" is one of the
many great lines. This song is a great example of how thrilling rock
can be if you return it to the streets, and get it off the MTV
airwaves. "Pretty Deadly" is a slow, grungy (not in the Seattle sense,
of course) thick song, the zenith occurring when Steve sings "I took
too many chances with your looooooooooooooooove." "Something For the
Pain" is an explosive song played at breakneck pace, which is an
endless stream of tirades against corporate music. The last song sucks
and I always skip it. This album only offers more proof that Steve
Miller is the personification of real, street-level rock 'n' roll. This
guy has the perfect voice for rock, along with the look, plus he lives
it. No EF record has ever been better packaged (pictures of Julie
Strain don't hurt either!), and Coop provides the awesome cover art.
Other bonuses include a nifty visual component that you can view on
your computer (discography, bio, pix, etc, all set up to look like a
comic strip) and the vinyl version has some added samples from old
horror flicks between the songs and comes on green marble vinyl. Not
the greatest EF release, but still better than 99.9% of the trash out
there. Again, highly recommended.
Satan Stole My Teddy Bear
Rock n' Roll is alive and kicking. This band has been around for a
while now, and honestly I always kind of ignored them. They were just a
band I discounted as something I probably wouldn't like all that much.
Then I got this for review and said..oh great. Upon listening to this
CD though, my opinion changed. Lately I've been listening to a lot more
old school rock n' roll and metal, so with where my tastes have been
lately this fit in perfectly. It's got edge and melody, and hooks like
you can't believe. Some sweet ass leads too. Well this was certainly a
pleasant surprise for me. Recommended -- oh, and this is an enhanced CD
too which is always cool.
Sigh. This is amazing. I'm talking Punk Rock,
heavy on the Rock. This is fun punk with kick-ass guitar solos, a sense
of humor, and a big heart. EF are one of today's catchiest, hook-laden,
and rockin' bands today. I highly approve.
Wow! Fuckin great. This was everything I
expected. Great songs. I loved the intro too, not to
mention the fact that it's a resourcefull CD-rom and Julie Strain's
fine ass body is feature all over this CD's art work. A must