Although punk rock is still around as a musical genre, the style is almost unidentifiable as Punk. When bands like The Ramones, The Sex Pistols or earlier bands like Rocket from the Tombs were helping to shape the style of music, there was an anger, an energy, even an urgency about the music. It has its own sound, its own style. Now, however, there are bands out there that are creating the music that have taken the genre and combined it with other styles of rock, the most hardened fans of the style would argue that what is being created now is not real punk rock. One band who is creating what can be described as “real” Punk Rock is American Werewolves.
With most of the punk rock music out there today sounding more like alternative than punk rock, it is always a nice change of pace when you come across a band that has made a vow to stay true to the spirit of bands like The Misfits. One such band that is creating punk rock that sounds like punk rock is Cleveland, Ohio’s American Werewolves. And while the band incorporates some hardcore and doo-wop into their current sound, the feeling and spirit of real punk rock is still more than evident in their music. With hardcore and doo-wop incorporated in the music from American Werewolves, the band has a sound that is theirs and theirs alone. In fact, the band refers to their sound as “Occult Punk Rock,” a category name that truly does represent what the band is all about.
American Werewolves is a four-piece outfit that came together under the moniker of The Plan in 1998. But as they continued looking for their style, elements were added and the band’s lineup (as well as their sound) had solidified into the current line-up and moniker by 2003. The punk rock outfit is made up of Trevor Moment on violent crooning, Brendan Less on guitars, Tony Scambony on bass, and Nate 68 on drums.
The “68” in Nate 68’s name refers to 1968, a time period that is held in high esteem by the members of American Werewolves. That year is like “the birth of the modern era of horror,” as Trevor Moment once claimed. Certain events, like the debut release of “Night of the Living Dead” and other things made the year very sentimental in the hearts of the musicians who have incorporated horror and death into the lyrics of their songs.
American Werewolves are currently promoting their latest album entitled The Lonely Ones. On the album, the horror motif that runs through songs like “For the Cursed” “In Haunted Lives” and the title track of the release. That inclusion of horror elements in the lyrics to the songs helps to indicate that the music of American Werewolves is really different than much of the music being produced by today’s Punk Rock groups.
The album begins with the track “For the Cursed”. The song features a Punk Rock sound that comes with a rather driving pace to the music. To go along with the energetic feel of the music, the band’s “gang vocals” (meaning that everyone in the group contributes to the singing) adds even more energy to the song. The lyrics about those who are forced to exist long after they’re dead add to the horror motif running through the entire length of the release.
With “The Lonely Ones,” the title track of the release, American Werewolves create a track that really does pay tribute to the Punk Rock bands of the past that paved the way for the band. The track of “The Lonely Ones” begins with a strong bass guitar line delivered by bassist Tony Scambony before the rest of the band joins in. When the entire group joins in on the music, the track brings back a lot of the same energy that was present on “For the Cursed”. But this track is one of the songs on the release where Trevor Moment’s vocals truly stand out. Together, Moment and the band create one of the strongest Punk Rock tracks to be released in a long time.
For the track “In Haunted Lives,” the band’s sound truly comes alive. Right from the beginning of the track, you can hear the band’s Punk influences but can also hear some of the Doo-Wop influence in the music, as well; although, the Punk influence is the style that sticks out the most. The combination of the two styles creates a track with plenty of energy while also adding a little flavor that makes the track feel slightly older than even the music of bands like The Sex Pistols.
“For the Cursed” “The Lonely Ones” and “In Haunted Lives” are just three of the songs on the newest release by the punk rock band. Other tracks like “Die For Me,” “If We Were Dead” and “Blood on the Moon” continue to push that horror motif that is so prevalent in the aforementioned song titles. The album The Lonely Ones from American Werewolves is one of the finest moments in recent memory for the punk rock genre.
The 2008 album is the latest for American Werewolves and the first for the band on the Robot Monster record label. This album follows “We Won’t Stay Dead,” “1968,” the previous releases by the band, as well as the demo that the band put out during the time in which they were known as The Plan.
If you are a fan of real punk rock, American Werewolves’ new release “The Lonely Ones” is one of album you must experience. Let the band’s combination of punk rock, hardcore, doo-wop, and horror themes make a believer out of you that there is still real punk rock being created by bands in the 21st century.