The debut album from the MURDERDOLLS, the long-simmering side project assembled by SLIPKNOT drummer Joey Jordison (who plays guitar here) and STATIC-X axeman Tripp Eisen (who left the band since recording this album), gives ample proof why such affairs can often be detrimental to musicians even as they supposedly indulge creative impulses not fully explored with their main bands.
While SLIPKNOT singer Corey Taylor and guitarist Jim Root can justify the existence of their moonlighting gig, STONE SOUR, with the gorgeous "Bother" and ferocious "Get Inside", there's no such reason evident for the existence of the MURDERDOLLS on their frankly tedious debut. The band ploughs the same shock-horror-rock territory mined countless times before, from decades-old acts like ALICE COOPER and the MISFITS to more recent recruits like the (somewhat glammier) SINISSTAR. The sound is fast, punky, and appropriately raw, but while STONE SOUR seems to at least channel some interesting new musical and emotional territory for Taylor and Root, the MURDERDOLLS are all surface, a forty-five minute rehash of musical and lyrical moves done before and done better.
The album's first three tunes — "Slit My Wrist", "Twist My Sister", and "Dead In Hollywood" — set the pace both musically and conceptually, and that initial triumvirate does offer up a decent amount of energy and fire. But the next dozen songs on the album simply repeat the formula over and over, while the lyrics touch on all the approved horror-movie tropes like necrophilia, zombies, Satan, etc. The band even rips off the old MISFITS trick of naming songs after classic fright flicks ("Dawn Of The Dead") just in case you missed the joke.
And maybe a joke is all it is, and perhaps there's no point in overanalyzing a record like Beyond The Valley Of The Murderdolls. It might just be Jordison and his buddies having a bit of fun after several demanding years of work with SLIPKNOT. But if this record — or STONE SOUR, for that matter — create tension within the main band (as seems to be the case, judging from recent interviews), or simply delay SLIPKNOT from concentrating on recording a killer new album, then that's the real horror.