Local Wire

St. Madness

Putting a cover song as the second track on your CD is ballsy. Either you've got 'em right there, or you've lost 'em forever. For a metal act to put a cover of an Ozzy song second on their record? That's pretty much suicidal. Sure, Ozzy and Sabbath can be covered. The Cardigans' cutesy version of "Iron Man" was the cherry on top of First Band on the Moon. But if you're a metal band, you'd better be able to bring something extra special to "Crazy Train," or you'll just leave listeners needing a real Ozzy fix.

Sorry to say the gambit does not pay off for St. Madness, a Scottsdale band who's album Saintanic struck me as shockingly amateurish given that it was produced by the Valley's closest approximation of Mutt Lange, Larry Elyea, and that the band is 16 years and seven albums deep in to their career.

If you're new to the church of St. Madness you'll be interested to know they're doing the KISS makeup thing, with a bit of the Mushroomhead aesthetic. Unfortunately, they're not as fun as KISS or as badass as Mushroomhead. They also love (ostensibly) them some Satan, as demonstrated in "Don't Piss on Satan," "Demons in my Nutsack" and the title track.

Paradoxically, the most enjoyable track on the record, "BBQ-U" is straight-up satire, a funny little bluegrass number about cannibalism and backyard barbecues. Turns out, when they're not trying to do the Satan thing, St. Madness is pretty funny. I could see Dr. Demento spinning this song. Unfortunately, "BBQ-U" is followed by a monologue in which Satan says, "I'm so pissed off I could grab a jogger in Scottsdale and ass-fuck her . . . ass-fuck that fucking whore!" Oof.

The band is hit-and-miss musically. The riffs are solid, but the vocalist, Prophet, didn't impress me. Their cover of J.J. Cale's "Cocaine" really sums up what it is to be a face-painted metal act from Scottsdale. The title track addresses the question the band says they're often asked: Do you really worship Satan? Honestly, I was beyond caring. I'm pretty sure they're going to hell for that "Crazy Train" cover.

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Martin Cizmar
Contact: Martin Cizmar