Doesn’t pander to any calls for a power ballad or anything other than rocking

Musical trends are a strange thing. If Murderdolls had debuted in 1997, they would have most likely suffered immensely from the 80s backlash that was still apparent then and then vanished without trace. So it’s interesting that only five years later they were able to launch themselves with a mildly-successful album and build a cult following that was drawn from the fanbases of Slipknot and Static-X, many of whom probably wouldn’t have been caught dead listening to Mötley Crüe or Alice Cooper — and only knew the Misfits by way of Metallica — because Beyond the Valley of the Murderdolls was essentially an homage to the trashy metal and shock rock that the 90s had tried to bury.

Eight years on, with the 80s hip again and many of the original bands storming back as if they’d never been away, Women and Children Last shows the Murderdolls have their Crüe-crossed-with-Misfits horror rock schtick still firmly in place. Almost a decade has passed and the ‘Dolls haven’t changed a bit. Wednesday 13 intones his pulpy horror comic lyrics in a Cooperesque/Rob Zombie-like drone and Joey Jordison mines the 80s hair-and-glam rock riff catalogue relentlessly. They even manage to rope in Mick Mars to add a genuine touch as he peels off a couple of solos in “Drug Me to Hell” and “Blood Stained Valentine”, and given how much Wednesday is trying to look like Nikki Sixx these days, the old guy probably felt right at home. Just like the debut, Women and Children Last doesn’t pander to any calls for a power ballad or to anything other than guitar-fuelled schlock rocking.

 “My Dark Place Alone”, “Chapel of Blood” and “Drug Me to Hell” are clear highlights, but really the whole album is quite solid, an effective pastiche that owes its look, sound and lyrics to a time when guys were teasing their hair and chicks wore blue eyeshadow, when most Murderdolls fans hadn’t even been born yet.

1. The World According to Revenge
2. Chapel of Blood
3. Bored til Death
4. Drug Me to Hell
5. Nowhere
6. Summertime Suicide
7.  Death Valley Superstars
8. My Dark Place Alone
9. Blood Stained Valentine
10. Pieces of You
11. Homicide Drive
12. Rock n Roll is All I Got
13. Nothing’s Gonna Be Alright
14. Whatever You Got, I’m Against it
15. Hello, Goodbye, Die