Searing hot from delivery, ALEX STORY’S THE JUNKIE CHRONICLES is essentially a culmination of the best of his solo acoustic trilogy, PULLING THE PLUG, with about half newer and unreleased tracks, put together in a fashion that tells an interesting tale.
A step back – – – who’s ALEX STORY, you ask? *(And really you shouldn’t fukking have to if you follow this column or pay any mind to one goddamned thing I write). The hardest working mutherfukker in rock-n-roll, a truly lycanthropic performer of deep passion, ancient soul, and sardonic wit. The mastermind behind CANCERSLUG, lead vocalist of *(and also brains behind) DOYLE, THE ULTRA CREEPS, founder of solo project BORN IN ANGEL BLOOD *(who’ve also released a new album, SISTER LUCIFER: A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO MASS SUICIDE), as well as half of THE ANTI-HUMAN MOVEMENT, ALEX IN ASH, his three-album aforementioned series PULLING THE PLUG, writer of two books, THE SLUGCULT BIBLE: THE COMPLETE ALEX STORY LYRICAL-RITUAL COMPENDIUM & the new PICKING THE VULTURES BONES (THE MIDNIGHT DEJECTION SESSIONS — Vol. 1), and an unstoppable force in the dark arts as well as those of the visually and sonically macabre. As I’ve said before, you’ll either get his work, or you won’t, there is no in between.
All acoustic, ALEX’S vocals dominate and croon out tales of sublime personal hells, loneliness, dissatisfaction, living with a soul and mind trapped between this world and the other, love and death being always both sides of the same bloodied coin that lay in the palm of the same rotting hand, attached to the carcass you alternately hate as much as love. The compilation has seems to have the songs specifically chosen, ordered perfectly, and proceed to help tell these strange, often beautiful, intimate tales of a life spent aware and outcast into alleyways and ditches. It’s very ritualistic in its own way. Where does the humor end and the horror begin? When does the warm passion of true love, buried under all that bestial pain, crossover into the reign of absolute hatred? That’s on the perception of the listener, and hidden in between the lines of this stripped down, purely unfettered album of twisted romanticism, unholy passion, searing soul-pains, and a stalker’s rage.
It rips right in with the potent “How To Die Inside,” a brilliant song that for whatever reason has, to my ears, a very DEATH CULT-ish vibe *(not a complaint). “Santa Muerte” is one of the most gorgeous, respectfully passionate songs I’ve ever heard – – – felt *(in such a way to almost be enough to pull one to tears of ecstasy; musically, vocally, lyrically, it fits right into certain facets of my own personal belief systems in a way understood by very few). And that’s what makes these songs *(and all SLUG-related materials, in fact) work, is that you don’t just hear them, you feel them. The passion is true, and it is there, at all times.
As for some of the other songs, “Rape Baby,” a new track, is deceptively sweet in its lyricism, and vicious in its catchiness factor, brilliant in its titling. My personal favorite *(aside from “Santa Muerte”) is without a doubt “Ain’t Worth My Blood” *(of which I have a sneaking suspicion may be the title track to the next album – – – being worked upon as I write – – – BARELY LEGAL, FULLY DEAD), a killer track of straight-up, brutally-sexed blues. This happens to contain one of the best goddamned blues solos I’ve ever been privy to hear. “Bless My Soul” is another bluesy bit of violent flick-knife temperament with a really different vocal styling, and haunting, discordant solo break.
“Disappointment” is an acoustic version of the song by the same name of which is on the BORN IN ANGEL BLOOD full length in a “complete” version. *(It’s one of the true-life brutalities, whose lyrics slash my heart to shreds with understanding.)
Sweet Lady Morphine gets her due on here, of corpse *(fukk, it ain’t called THE JUNKIE CHRONICLES for nothin’), in sad serenades of dire passion and lost beauty, like the teary “Just A Hooker Away.” The short and sweet “Night Dancer” covers similar territory. “Junkie,” hysterical in the darkest of ways to those who’ve been there *(well, I think it’s funny) speaks the truth of it, as it is, balls out and no joke. “So Alone” also covers similar territory, in a truly old-school JOHNNY CASH-style steamroller of a tune. These songs, like all the rest, really, have a deep and different sort of meaning to me. There is a definite romanticism here, that to overlook would be a severe transgression to the music. And the topic mainlines right in, here and there, throughout the entire album. Oh, and of corpse the classick “Women And Dope” shows up as well *(“So FUKK you”).
“Heartless” was done by both THE ULTRA CREEPS and CANCERSLUG, and aside from the odd doodle of a solo really isn’t that different from the other versions. “If Death” is the acoustic to THE ULTRA CREEPS “Swampsong.” “Satan,” originally an ALEX IN ASH song, sounds fantastic here.
The beautiful, incredibly dynamic songs “Dissolve Into Night,” “Storm The Gates,” and ultra-tender “Gypsy,” from the PULLING THE PLUG series, appear on here, in a cleverly ordered fashion. Musically, ALEX rails through delta-blues, classic rock-n-roll, blues, folk-punk, and something that is distinctly his own. *(Thankfully, it avoids the Rockabilly, not one of my favorite sub-genres.) And he calls it as it is, at all times, much as he always has. There’s no bullshit, and he refuses to mince words; yes, one may need to read between the lines *(if there are any left, heh) to get the entire picture, the full tale, but make no mistake about it, he means *(and rightfully so) every last word sang, crooned, whispered or otherwise belted out *(though this is a much more subdued affair). Sonic allegories can occasionally be drawn between this collection and some of the work recorded by GG ALLIN & THE CRIMINAL QUARTET, early, sped the fukk out JOHNNY CASH *(in a true sense), some of DAX RIGGS’ (ACID BATH, AGENTS OF OBLIVION) acoustic Louisiana dope-dip swamp-dirges, and a bit of ROKY ERICKSON. I’d even go as far as to say some of the folk-stylings of recluse/poet/musician/serial killer DANNY ROLLING and his open air, stalking ground campsite recordings. There’s an actual “outlaw” vibe to the proceedings, that are distinctly ALEX STORY’S, his tale, his thoughts, his life, splayed in two *(much like the body found in another of my favorites, the brilliant “Seaweed” – – – one can’t not love this song) for the world to see, to glare into and either love, hate, misunderstand, or identify with. He doesn’t care anyway. There’s no room, or time, for those who don’t understand, or have some unfounded loathing due to that inability. They’ll be the ones to shrivel up on the battlefield.
Like I said, you either get it, or you don’t. One final thing I noticed, was the progression of art on the PULLING THE PLUG album covers, starting from the leering and pin eyed ALEX skull, to the skull’s eyes becoming empty, into the full on pic of ALEX STORY throwing out an intense, bestial thousand yard stare on the cover for THE JUNKIE CHRONICLES, as though something has been growing slowly, gestating for some time now, and is about to fully berth into the glorious Beast it Will be. Which indeed may be the case. Whether aware or not, a torch is being subtly passed, a torch beholden of a violet fire *(I’ll leave you to figure that one out).
In the meantime, pick up ALEX STORY’S THE JUNKIE CHRONICLES, while it’s still available, and ruminate in the passion of sluicing viscera and unyielding acoustic dirges that won’t just wake the dead, but give you the desire to fukk (and maybe even love) them as well *(as though it weren’t there already, you sick bastards). Hey, in the end, “they’re all just love songs.” And be prepared for new material from both DOYLE and CANCERSLUG before years end. SLUGCULT RISE.
Vincent Daemon, writer, editor, musician, photgrapher, film/music buff and historian, and rabblerouser, can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/vincent.daemon.1 as well as his spontaneously updated blog of writing news and nonsense THE WRITINGS OF A DEPRAVED MIND http://vincentdaemon.blogspot.com/Some of his music can be painfully experienced at http://www.reverbnation.com/vincentdaemonsageofdesire3 His email is firstname.lastname@example.org