New York-based The Bronx Casket Co. was founded in 1998 by D.D. Verni (Overkill) and guitarist Jack Frost (Seven Witches), and on Antihero the core duo is joined by Charlie Calv on keyboards and Rob Pallotta on drums, with Mike Romeo (Symphony X) laying down the guitar solos. In addition to playing his normal in-your-face bass, Verni is now acting as lead vocalist after the departure of singer Myke Hideous (Misfits), who handled vocal duties on previous albums, inluding Sweet Home Transylvania and Hellectric.
The Bronx Casket Co. is a band that I can really get behind. I have always had a soft spot for Goth Metal, but my issue is that most Goth Metal bands went the way of female vocalist. While I am fine with some great female vocals, bands like Moonspell just have always nailed it for me. The Bronx Casket Co. was another nice addition to fill that void for me. I was very much into the first three releases.
Antihero has recently come out and the first thing that I noticed, besides the new vocal styling due to D.D. taking over vocals, was that it was a new style of music. In addition to the more straight metal sound, you had a quasi-industrial sound to some of the songs. It took a few listens, but I will tell you, I am completely fine with the new style. From what I have heard from Verni, he is playing something more along the lines of what he wants to do now, which is what music is all about to me. Music is very personal. You get to peer into someone’s soul and hear something very personal to them.
The leadoff track is the title track, “Antihero”. Like previously mentioned, the album has a new shift in sound. Even though the album took me a couple of listens to get into, this song was pretty good from the first listen. It is just in your face and rocking. “Bonesaw”, the second track, was another track that stuck with me right away. It is just catchy. Another song bringing the horror and the metal was the third track “You Look Like Hell”. This is another song that is quite catchy. One of the coolest songs of the album has to be Sally though. This is the most industrial sounding track on the album with some great riffs thrown in there. This song has such an ominous atmosphere to it. Another inventive track is Memphis Scarecrow, with its darkened slide guitar and more evil vocals.
Some of my favorite tracks of The Bronx Casket Co. have been their inventive cover tracks. For Antihero, they tackle Queen’s “Death on Two Legs” and Frank Sinatra’s “My Way”. Death on Two Legs is still as over-the-top as the original, but is given The Bronx Casket Co. treatment. It is heavy as hell and just fun. In regards to Sinatra’s “My Way”, I have seen much heat placed on this version, but I have to tell you, this is one of the songs that stuck out to me right away from the first listen. I think that it is just another really fun track.
Overall, this album is really resonating with me and I have a feeling that I will get just as many listens out of it as I did for the other three The Bronx Casket Co. albums, which is a ton of listens. I am a huge fan of the first three. While they remain to be more of a cult favorite, I am hoping that this album may expand their audience a little. It really is a shame that some of my favorite bands remain so underground.
Playwright Andrea Lepcio, who approached Verni about collaborating on a vampire-themed stage epic called The Bronx Casket Co… A New Musical. Other big names aboard the project include Tony Award-winning director Hinton Battle and several members of supergroup Trans-Siberian Orchestra, so this could be a really big deal if they can make it happen. Hopefully the release of Antihero will bring more attention to the band this year, and maybe we’ll finally see the show make its official premiere.