~reviewed by Matthew Heilman
For those that aren’t already aware, Penis Flytrap was lead by Dinah Cancer, the scream queen vocalist of LA Death Rock legends 45 Grave. Her latest project has been releasing material and touring for quite a few years now, and if I am not mistaken, I believe this is the first full-length release by PFT.
“Dismemberment” is a tight, blistering album of thrash punk anthems, characterized by highly charged drumming, razor sharp guitar riffs, and rumbling metallic bass lines. Dinah’s rhythmic vocal chants punctuate the frantic music with seething venom and nefarious grandeur, and her vocal power and convincing delivery reaffirms her place alongside female punk pioneers like Becky Bondage (Vice Squad) and Poly Styrene (Xray Spex). PFT’s sound is altogether fresh, edgy and familiar, and certainly energized with enough attitude to bulldoze its way right through all the whiney mall pop music that passes for punk in these sad, sad times.
It is not until about the halfway point of the album that PFT offers a respite from the relentless formula for tracks like “Scream My Darling” and “Burn Witch Burn.” Though these songs succeed in disrupting the consistently fast tempos a bit for more developed, slower songs, they do not pack as great a punch even with a darker more ‘spooky’ atmosphere at the forefront. Instead, they somewhat highlight the band’s lyrical shortcomings and without the intense punk fueled accompaniment, the bottom basically falls right out. “Burn Witch Burn” does however build to a memorable climax of cacophonic guitar wails, banging drums, and Dinah’s bewitching demand, “Release me!” After these few tracks (including the short bass led instrumental tease, “Caves Of Cassandra” that perhaps could have developed into a rather good song?) the band return to the same blazing formulas. Dinah, however, takes a few steps back from the mic to allow the rest of the band to contribute vocals for the blistering B-Movie blasphemy of “Say You Love Satan.”
While I could complain and say there really isn’t enough variety on the disc, it seems kind of apparent that the few attempts to deviate from what the band does best were bad moves. The slower songs don’t work quite as well and the male vocals pale in comparison to Dinah’s imposing chants. My only real critique of this disc is more or less a personal one, and that is that I am just not really into the whole ‘horror punk thing.’ This is merely a matter of preference and I kinda thought the reason most Goths dismiss Metal were for the very thematic and lyrical elements celebrated by Penis Flytrap. Though I suppose the difference between PFT and most contemporary Black Metal bands is that PFT are admittedly having fun and expressing their macabre sense of humour and love of bad horror films, and PFT thankfully lack any kind of ominous, grandiose pose as evil incarnate.
I will be the first to admit I am an uptight traditionalist bastard that prefers the subtle repressed chills of a film like “The Others” to the comedic gross out excess of “Return Of The Living Dead.” The same holds true for me musically. Though I completely understand where PFT are coming from, their manner of championing darkness is from a completely different mode of thought than my own and I can’t help but prefer the more ‘serious’ bands out there that explore these themes from a more subversive and psychological angle. Humour merely numbs the impact of horror, whether it be intentional or not. Indeed a whole new breed of entertainment has been fostered by the marriage of black humour and horrific excess, but nonetheless, there is little to fear. So little is left to raise the hairs on the back of your neck. No relentless nightmares, no unknown terrors shrieking in vengeful despair from beyond. I suppose when I think of Death Rock, this is just far too much ‘fun’ for me to feel comfortable applying that term (*Death Rock to me being embodied by early Christian Death, Skeletal Family, Spiritual Bats, and Cinema Strange at their absolute darkest). But I seem to be a minority there. It’s all rhetoric and what not, but I think the term ‘ghoul punk’ or ‘horror punk’ is much better suited to bands like PFT, 45 Grave, Frankenstein, Bella Morte, etc. This, however, is all incidental and straying from the matter at hand.
Ultimately, regardless of my personal tastes or whatever the hell genre PFT fall into, the musical attack demonstrated here is well worth a thousand praises. Producer William Faith did an excellent job capturing the band’s raw intensity in a way that it practically reaches out from the CD player and shakes you senseless. Dinah as well deserves credit for sticking to her guns and not allowing herself to fade into mere myth alone. The music is fantastic for what it is and though the lyrics and imagery are adolescent at their best, I won’t just write this off as a bad release just because I don’t suspect I will listen to it much. The appeal of this disc is glaringly clear for those that rejoice in the more mischievous aspects of evil and hopefully, PFT will inevitably find its way into the collections of those appropriate music fans the world over, roaming the local cemeteries in worn leather and tattered fishnet, in search of fresh brains.
Penis Flytrap is:
Penis Flytrap – Official Site: