Electric Spanking Session

Abuse Ment Park

Surf Records, 1999


REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Shock rock is nothing new; musicians like Alice Cooper and W.A.S.P. have constantly tried to raise the bar in their careers. Punk rock is nothing new; the angst and anger in their songs is legendary.

One would think that a combination of the two styles would be a natural marriage, right? Wrong. Take Abuse Ment Park as an example. Their latest disc Electric Spanking Session takes the power of heavy metal, the outspokenness of punk and the strange appearance of shock rock, and manages to botch all three of the styles.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The band is fronted by Mr. Ginger Bond, whose vocal skills (and I use the term loosely) are, well, minimal. He seems more comfortable growling the vocals than trying to sing them; God help us had he actually tried to sing. The rest of the band - guitarist Dustin Ordner, bassist Sandra Eve and drummer Detroit J. Sullivan - try their best to pound out decent melodies, but their efforts are often undercut by weak lyrics and subpar songwriting.

Abuse Ment Park tries to bank on the concept that sex sells, and slightly stranger sex can sell even more. But as songs like "Submit" and "Sin & Ecstasy" prove, the gimmicks don't mean shit unless you've got something of merit to back it up with. Bond's work actually distracts from the good moments this band has; Ordner is a solid enough guitarist, and the rhythm section of Eve and Sullivan occasionally lock into a solid backbeat. Unfortunately, this doesn't happen often enough, and when it does, the singing totally destroys the mood.

There are one or two bright spots on Electric Spanking Session, but they're not enough to pull the rest of the album out of the quagmire it sank itself into. Tracks like "Escape Goat" and "Darkroom Manipulation" are decent enough efforts, but they come too little, too late.

So what can Abuse Ment Park do differently the next time around? First, they need to concentrate on songwriting instead of gimmicks or samples. Once they've figured out how to fill a disc with 10 or so solid songs, then they can try adding a little more into the mix, like the occasional samples or a heavier industrial sound overlay. But until then, poor songwriting makes everything dissolve into a cacaphony of noise.

Electric Spanking Session is a weak portrait of a band that, I believe, is capable of better. The question is, will they get that chance?

Rating: D+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1999 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Surf Records, and is used for informational purposes only.