It’s really hard to put a finger on just what genre Superhorror fall under. I’ll be honest up front, I’m not really sure that this one qualifies under the Rainbows banner, but hey, they bill themselves as a (mostly) punk band, so I feel okay letting it skate by. We can debate genre, or whether or not genre has any meaning anymore, all day, but the fact remains that today we’re gonna talk about Italians Die Better, so hold on to your butts. It’s Rainbows in the Dark, featuring the best of all things non-metal and metal-adjacent (key word here).
According to the band themselves, Italian rockers Superhorror came to life (or rather, the exact opposite) out of the ashes of punk band Morphina circa 2005, when their van crashed while they were out on tour, turning them into the living dead and rebranding themselves under the Superhorror name. Whether or not everything about that story is completely accurate is a matter of who you ask, but one thing remains certain: for 15 years the band has been leaning very heavily into the cult-horror aesthetic, from their theatrical live shows to their personas, costumes and makeup (or is that just how they look now?), but all of this has been influenced by outside input. Italians Die Better marks a transition of the band onto a new label, and with that move they decided to take total control of the production, from the writing, recording and, well, production to the album artwork, music videos and even the package design. Speaking about the design for a moment, the artwork is actually really cool. It looks like something off of a straight-to-home-video B-movie from the 1980’s, which I mean in the best way possible. It’s apparent upon listening to the album, too, that the band is trying to present the most authentic representation of themselves they can, no compromises. It’s a stylistic mishmash of a little bit of everything the band has tried to do over their relatively long career, from Misfits inspired punk rock to glam rock to straight up rock and roll to 80’s heavy metal worship. Italians Die Better tries to do it all, which is both a blessing and an unfortunate curse as a whole, but regardless, Superhorror definitely get props for taking control of their art and not backing down or compromising.
Let me preface the actual review with this: I’m not 100% sold on Italians Die Better, but if you’re a fan of the band, horror punk, or just the general horror gimmick in music, this is an album you are going to like. Me, I find that the biggest problem I have is that it tries to do too much and that lack of musical focus makes it hard to listen to all the way through. Lyrically and thematically, the band has their aesthetic that ties all the tracks together, which works reasonably well, especially if you’re into that. There’s a lot of fun and dark humor in the lyrics, with twists on and callbacks to popular songs like “Sultans of Sin,” “Die as You Are” and “Haitian Rhapsody,” but I personally found that the gimmick got old for me and it wasn’t strong enough to keep me interested in most of the album. I think Superhorror are at their best when they rip through fast and catchy punk songs, and the best examples of that on Italians Die Better are the opening title track and closer “Pensiero Violente.” These songs truly are a lot of fun, but since they bookend the album, I found myself pretty lukewarm about the more glam rock inspired middle tracks. The middle of the album, made up of mostly midtempo beats and pentatonic licks, just isn’t interesting enough for me to find any of it that memorable, with the exception of tracks like “Six Feet Above Ground” and “L2D,” which more prominently showcases their punk roots. I wish I had a whole album of just their punk tracks, which I guess I do (the band’s debut album), but I just feel like I need some more musical cohesiveness here. Still, if all you really want is the horror theme and you don’t care how you get it, then you’re going to be really pleased with how the band deliver that theme unto you. I, personally, am just missing a little bit of the magic here.
Italians Die Better is, I think, a good representation of Superhorror and something they should be proud of, considering they had complete control over every aspect of the project. I didn’t quite find it to my taste, but I’m not a huge fan of the horror theme. Maybe if it was a little more Misfits and less Murderdolls I’d be happier, but it’s not a bad album by any means. Give it a whirl if you think it suits your mood!