Where should I begin with this one?
Perhaps I should start as Harley Poe do. With one of the sloppiest and frankly random mish mash of half thought out ideas ever to be recorded. “Vengeance The Demon/ Close The Door/ Outcry” is the musical equivalent of the shouting drunkard. He has potential to say something unique and different but in the end it all sounds like nonsensical garbage. If you can’t even decide on a title for a song, how can you decide on the content? The organ parts have the great timing and structure of a high school band. None. I mean, if you’re going for the whole amateur band on an amateur label thing, that’s cool and totally doable, but you need to sound like you mean it. There’s no real feeling here, it simply sounds like a vain attempt to prove they’re cool.
Passion and feel; that sound is born into you and your music. You cannot just read Edgar Allen Poe’s “Best Of,” pick up an instrument and suddenly be transformed into a modern day bard. I can hear the talented writer rolling his eyes at your band name as I type, thinking, “I love EAP and you have brought shame to his family name.”
There is a potential here though, it isn’t all negative. The attempt at a song like that shows balls, but maybe you should have rehearsed it before recording it, hey? And maybe your label should have listened to the record or your band before releasing this drunken masturbation of a record. That’s what it’s like. A drunken fuck. You know both of you want it, but after eight minutes of trying she’s left in an angry huff with tears rolling down her face because she doesn’t feel attractive and you’re sitting there with a limp dick in your hand questioning your life up until this point. Well guess what? That dick is not getting hard any time soon.
I couldn’t even bear to sit through the entire first track. After five minutes of what, to me, sounds like a group of teenagers drunk on their dad’s beer playing in their grandma’s basement, I could tell it was not going to improve. You really have to wonder at the quality of a record label if this is the example of material they choose to endorse/sign.
I sucked up my anger and ventured further more into Pagan Holiday. After all, I did hear potential.
I then came into “Gorehound,” another cliché hell-themed song from yet another cliché hell-themed band. At least this one is a little more together in terms of musical timing and structure. It also has some sense of melody. However, at the end of the day it remains among the already astounding amount of songs of this nature. Have you heard a rockabilly song in the past ten years about Hellhounds? Yeah? Cool. You don’t need to hear another. The horror-themed band has been done to death and I can name local guys doing it better than you are.
I know it sounds like I’m ripping on Harley Poe unjustly, and I would say, “Go buy the record to prove me right,” but there are better independent bands out there doing their hardest and most honest work that deserve it more than these guys. Go listen to the two-minute previews on iTunes and give your money to a good Australian Rock n Roll band instead – or someone from your town.
I have to admit, at this point it was hard to bring myself to continue with this record. Looking at the next title, I already knew what I was in for: Halloween Theme Song…fuck me in the ass with a bag of bullshit clichés and yet more half-assed attempts at imagery. Could you imagine a bag filled with these things? Then you have more imagination than Harley Poe does, and you, Sir, should start a band.
Now we come to what I like to call the “Are you fucking Serious?” section of the record: “Pagan Holiday Parts 1,2,3.” If I hadn’t have heard the first track I would not believe this possible. It’s the same half-assed attempt at some sort of prog-horror-rock, only this time instead of being eight minutes long, it is 13 minutes long. I mean, come on! Did you even hear your first track? Do you not learn from your mistakes? Seemingly not. After reading some not so positive criticisms of Harley Poe it seems they fail to impress most people, which leaves us with two questions: What kind of bullshit label would sign this and how can Harley Poe be so apparently blind to the world’s thoughts?
I know what you’re saying, “Fuck the critics, fuck me, fuck you. I like this band…” Well Mister, you’re the only one. I’m all for not pleasing us (the critics) which ironically pleases us, but when you’re Harley Poe you should probably pay attention to what people are saying about your music. Just because your mom says you’re cool doesn’t make it so.
“Mom, does playing the mandolin and simply re-writing Poe stories make me cool?” “Yes Jimmy, out of all your loser friends with that weird makeup on who hang out in graveyards and watching old obscure horror films, you’re the coolest.” I don’t know if there is a Jimmy in this band and honestly I don’t care.
I could not be bothered listening to the next two tracks, until I read the name of the next one and almost died from a fit of hysterical angry laughter. Harley Poe, ladies and gentlemen, have somehow managed to dig themselves into the pit of despair even deeper than I thought they could. They covered “Paint It Black.” Can I say anymore? It’s a great song, yes. That, like Harley Poe’s style has been DONE TO DEATH! They don’t even have an original take on it. Just the same recycled cliché garbage you’ve heard before and most likely will hear again. That being said it’s the best song on the record, probably because it was written by people who know what they are doing.
If you can’t tell, I cannot stand this record. It’s a waste of resources and energy. It’s an amateur band on from what I can tell is an amateur record label. There’s only so much leeway for a label to allow a bad record. Did they not think of the money they were wasting? Surely they did not expect to break even on this. How about the precious time of people who actually want to give this a go. This is clearly a label run by those with the mentality of, “Everyone can have a go. Just give it a shot and we will waste everyone’s time and resources by pressing the pile of shit you make into a record.”
After all this naysaying I still hear the potential in this band to be something more than a mediocre goth/horror/prog garbage act. Sadly, I don’t think it will happen unless they listen to some criticisms or go back to being an independent act. This gets a 1.5 in my book. .5 for trying, another .5 for effort and another .5 for attempting to make some music. Overall it’s the critical equivalent of a red star sticker, or an “A for effort” award at school, but a big “F for execution and delivery.”