SKULL552

DEZPERADOZ, An Eye for an Eye (2008, AFM)

The skull:
The typography is obviously inspired by the handbills and wanted posters of the mythical old west, and dem crossbones is pistols, but this whole design looks more like an ad for a sad burlesque revival featuring hipsters in Betty Page push up bras and ten gallon hats winking and pointing toy guns at the ironically mustachioed crowd, while making corny double entendres and singing along to some jaunty number performed on a tinny upright piano. Which is to say, it takes me to a very sad place inside and makes me want to cry.

The music:
I first encountered this band, originally known as Desperados, in a used CD shop in Palm Desert, CA in 2001. I was on a desperate and lonely work assignment, and deep in a sour mood when I found the shop in some ungodly strip mall, and I must have arrived there shortly after some metalhead dumped a large part of his fairly interesting collection. I must have bought 25 discs from that place, and one of them was Desperados. I picked it up to examine because it had the GUN logo on it, and when I saw that the band included none other than Tom Angelripper of Sodom, I put it in my pile immediately. From maintaining a Sodom fanpage back in the mid 90s, and from several interviews I conducted with Tom, I knew him to be a huge wild west enthusiast, but I had never heard of the band, which turned out to be a project led by Alex Kraft, who also spent time in Tom’s Onkel Tom joke band. Anyway, that first album sounded basically like low grade, late 90s Sodom, but all the songs were about the wild west. It was mildly amusing, but not so good that when the band changed names and issued a second album without Angelripper, I had any interest in keeping. But here I am, nearly 15 years later, forced to contend again with Dezperados. An Eye for an Eye is the band’s third outing, but most of the thrash is gone, replaced with a kind of souped-up spaghetti western metal. Imagine some guy pitching “Ennio Morricone meets Rammstein” to the suits at AFM, and you’ve pretty much got the idea. I suppose this is a successful realization of the concept, but the concept just doesn’t do much for me. If you love the soundtracks to old western shoot-em-ups, but wish they featured a few more crunchy riffs, then this, my friend, is the disc for you. Elsewise, relegate Dezperadoz to that part of your brain dedicated to odd metal trivia and move on with your life.
— Friar Johnsen

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