Best known for their cover of Billy Idol‘s ‘White Wedding’ and their debut single ‘Dead In Hollywood’ back in 2002, Murderdolls has been a project on a very long hiatus, shoved aside for 8 years whilst members Joey Jordison and Wednesday 13 focused on their other projects. They also had other members back then too, only to decide with the sophomore album they should stick to what and who they know for a more refined, stable and stronger album and band.
Though on the plus side this removal of certain members minimalises dysfunctionality present in their early days, the now two-man horror punk project doesn’t really offer anything new or refreshing despite the huge time gap from album one to album two. ‘Women And Children Last’ has the same ideas and impression that ‘Beyond The Valley Of The Murderdolls’ brought at the start of the decade.
Wednesday 13‘s gritty vocals are a definite quality that helps push their horror punk genre out there, sounding like he’s been gargling on gravel and rock minutes before stepping up to the mic, and Joey Jordison‘s place on the guitar and as main songwriter suits him just as comfortably as behind the kit in Slipknot.
‘Nowhere’ shows a slightly (and weirdly) uplifting vibe to it, with its solo guitar fills and backing directing most of the song’s way instead of its rhythm section. Then you have tracks like ‘Drug Me To Hell’ and ‘My Dark Place Alone’ pushing towards dark and sinister sides that are far more Murderdolls familiar, and shifting the balance of horror, punk and metal to working levels. But it all just sounds more or less exactly like their first album.
It’s not that the songs are bad, because they’re genuinely good. It’s not that the members are weak, because they do what they do superbly. It’s just ‘Women And Children Last’ comes across like ‘Beyond The Valley Of The Murderdolls’ part two, and after an 8 year gap you expect a bit of progression. On the plus a now more stable band could well mean a more frequent succession of further albums, and Murderdolls could very well be acting as a theraputic and healthy outlet for Joey Jordison following the loss of his friend and bandmate Paul Gray earlier this year.
Written by Zach Redrup