01. Opus Dei
04. Starlight Requiem
05. Stronger Than Weak
06. Slaughterhouse Striptease
07. Sex Offender
08. Cake & Eat It Too
10. Forever and a Day
Formed from the ashes of the now defunct band Dog Fashion Disco, singer/guitarist Todd Smith, drummer John Ensminger and guitarist/keyboardist Jasan Stepp hooked up again to form another screwed up (but in a good way) band in both the musical and lyrical senses. At times coming off like some deranged love child of Slayer and Mr. Bungle, their newest project, Polkadot Cadaver, strolls along the thin line of themes dealing with serial killing, sexual perversion and anti-religious sentiments. Their debut album Purgatory Dance Party, being musically similar to Dog Fashion Disco and offering more of their odd antics, was a twisted album that satisfied the fans. Now with the release of their newest full-length, Sex Offender, Polkadot Cadaver look to continue down the crooked road they’ve paved with limbs, vomit and other bodily fluids…
Sex Offender opens with “Opus Dei”, a soft acoustic piece accompanied by the soothing vocals of Todd Smith which is easy on the ears and a nice welcome to the start of the album. But then “Seagrave” comes along, beginning solely with a punk rock bass line that is soon enveloped with the rest of the instruments and the opening line of “Paralyzed!” This track is a lot more rocking than the opener, and while offering bits of weird nuances here and there, it has yet to capture the feel of Polkadot Cadaver. What got my attention though was the welcome surprise of the acoustic piece heard in “Opus Dei” coming back as the chorus and giving a sense of continuity between the two tracks. While being a good opener to the album, I find myself still craving the oddity that is Polkadot Cadaver.
And speaking of choruses, as with all of their previous work, they somehow mange to create some of the catchiest and most memorable choruses I’ve ever heard, with every track on this album having a solid chorus. The next track offers their take on vampires with “Bloodsucker”, it follows the same formula as “Seagrave”, but around the 2 minute mark they finally get into their quirky side with the spastic hitting of piano keys and Smith delivering his more volatile style of vocals before going back into the chorus one more time for the finale of the song. “Starlight Requiem” is one of the heavier tracks on the album, with sections that remind me a lot of what you would hear on Irony Is A Dead Scene, which isn’t to surprising as the influences of Patton have always been evident on their albums.
It isn’t until we get to “Slaughterhouse Striptease” that we’re greeted by Polkadot Cadaver in all their glory. The circus tent is pulled back so to speak, and all the oddities come out to play. Fast and frantic riffs, underlying circus bells and chimes, and the lyrics in all there vile goodness are delivered with precision. I’ve always admired Smith’s twisted lyrics, and since he’s pretty much the closest to come to mimicking Mike Patton’s vocals, his range both matches and supports the music perfectly. Once again, the chorus is amazing and in my opinion the best of them all.
From here on the album continues along with the insanity, with “Sex Offender”, “Cake And Eat It Too” and “Mongaloid” being a mixed bag of tricks and treats (once again, in a good way), and definitely bringing the album it’s much needed quirkiness. Now here comes what I believe will be the one track a lot of people will be talking about. It’s not crazy, nor offensive, but it bears a striking resemblance to one of the most important and influential bands in rock and metal music. In fact I’m not even going to spoil it, because I want listeners to have the same reaction I did when I first heard it, it’s that impressive… well, at least for me it was.
Overall, Sex Offender is a well produced album showcasing growth in the bands song writing and presentation. However, my only gripe is, I feel they didn’t quite capture the dark, haunting feel their previous album Purgatory Dance Party had. This album comes off more like a blood-drenched prom queen rather than a drugged up hooker in bondage, if that makes any sort of sense. And while I welcome growth in the band and enjoy the new album, I do find myself missing the oddities at which these gentlemen can certainly bring to the table.
But despite my nitpicking, Sex Offender is still a solid album, and fans of Dog Fashion Disco and all the other side projects that formed from that bands ashes will enjoy this album as well and gladly add it to their collection. I’m just worried their next endeavor (if they don’t happen to form another band in that span of time) might become a tad more tame. Prove me wrong Polkadot Cadaver, prove me wrong.
Polkadot Cadaver – Sex Offender