BALZAC
"Out of the Grave and Into the Dark"

(Misfits)

01. The Grave-Dreizehn
02. Zetsubou-no-ano-basho-e
03. Season of the Dead
04. Inside My Eyes
05. Shi-wo-Yubi-Sasu
06. The Pain Is All Around
07. Came Out of the Grave
08. Beyond Evil 308
09. The Art of Dying
10. The World Without End/The Pain Is All Around (Reprise)
11. I'm Losing You
12. Beware of Darkness (2004 version)
13. I Know
14. Gimme Some Truth
15. Beyond Evil 308 pt. 1
16. D.A.R.K.
17. Blood Inside '68
18. Beyond Evil 308 pt. 2
19. Gyakusatsu-no-mukougawa
20. XXXxxx
21. I Can't Stand It Anymore
22. Gami-no-hikari-e

RATING: 5/10

If you're in the mood for some horror punk, inspired by the MISFITS, you'll get that from Japan's BALZAC. You'll also get some weird trashy electronics, TIGER ARMY style Californicated greaser punk anthems, and glammy rock and roll. And at 22 songs and over an hour of playing time (not including the bonus DVD), you'll likely get more of it than you can stomach in one sitting.

Things really get into gear with the third track, "Season of the Dead", after an interminably long intro. As their haircuts might indicate, BALZAC are at their best when plundering gleefully from their heroes' back catalogs. Simple, caffeinated punk rock riffs with infectious singalongs and "woah oh oh's" are never a bad thing when done correctly, and there are moments on "Out of the Grave and Into the Dark" where this basic formula is elevated to high art.

Unfortunately, there's also a lot of filler. Almost as if they're deliberately going against the ethos of their label bosses and influences, BALZAC drag some of these songs out far too long, taking a hook that would float a 90-second raveup and turning it into a bloated four-or-five minute song. I'm not sure what the point of the electro-tainted "Beyond Evil 308" songs is, or the odd reprise that pops up here and there to confuse the listener. But mostly I'm just left wishing these guys had an editor — this woulda made one helluva 35-minute album.

BALZAC are, at their core, a likable band. It's cool that they sing some of their songs in their native language, and their horror-punk image is welcome in a day and age where the MISFITS themselves haven't released any new music in years. But "Out of the Grave and Into the Dark" meanders to the point where even the most stalwart punk is gonna lose interest.

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