"Beyond the Valley of the Murderdolls" (Roadrunner; 2002)

Reviewed by Jason Savage

When I first discovered that drummer Joey Jordison was once in another band before Slipknot, I was curious to see what he looked liked and how they sounded. I realize that most of the readers at this site may care less about nu-metal, especially Slipknot. However, I can honestly say I expected the Murderdolls to be a Slipknot clone or at least sound somewhat similar. Boy was I wrong! Before I break down what I’ve heard here, let me give you some important bio info. This is best explained in the bio as posted at

Murderdolls began as The Rejects more than seven years ago, the brainchild of Jordison long before Slipknot became this millennium's metal revolutionaries. His lineup experienced substantial growing pains before he met Eisen while touring together in '99, and the guitarist - then of Dope - recruited Wednesday as a bassist. Bringing new songs of his own into the fold, it wasn't long before the bassist made the shift to lead singer, and Eric Griffin and Ben Graves rounded out the band's current lineup. A garage band in every sense of the word, they'd played only four shows with the duo of Jordison and Eisen on guitars, and had yet to perform with their new front man upon the completion of the album. In fact, Jordison didn't even meet Wednesday until the day they entered the studio to record. Wednesday cites Mötley Crüe, Twisted Sister and Alice Cooper as significant influences on his share of Murderdolls' "violent Sex Pistols" sound. "We're bringing the danger aspect back..."

So now I have been schooled. This is NOT a side project for Joey. This was and still is his first band. He plays guitar on this album, not drums. For those of you that aren’t up on your metal trivia, Tripp Eisen once played guitar for Dope and is currently in Static X. Now on to the music ...

"Beyond the Valley of the Murderdolls" screams LA metal from the 80's. Joey and Tripp take turns cranking out good old fashioned trashy guitar licks for a sound made famous by LA hair bands such as LA Guns, Faster Pussycat, Ratt, Guns N' Roses, Motley Crue and a host of others. Sporting a glam meets Goth image (pale faced, red-streaked raven-haired, black eyelinered, insane asylum Marilyn Mansonites), Murderdolls makes music fun yet twisted all at the same time. 

Wednesday's vocals remind me of Sebastian Bach on Skid Row's "Slave to the Grind" album. Check out these song titles: "Slit My Wrist," "Twist My Sister," "Dead in Hollywood," "Love at First Fright," "She Was a Teenage Zombie," and "Kill Miss America," to name a few.

The lyrics seem to tell a dark and twisted tale of murder and mayhem but are not meant to be taken too seriously. "It's not like we're writing Weird Al Yankovic comedy stuff," clarifies front man Wednesday, "but how do you take these 'Friday The 13th' movies seriously? They put funny things into them, and it's like that with our songs. There's not anything on this record that's been based on personal experiences - They're all like short stories ..." One interesting lyrical gem goes something like this: 

"Well I’d rather cut you than the wedding cake
and your bloody guts on my rented tux. 
And I do, I do, I do wanna kill you 
Til' death do us part, I'll tear us apart."

Overall, I am very pleased with this effort. I happen to still like all those glam/hair bands. This style is timeless and once you get past the lyrics (that's if you don’t enjoy 'Tales from the Crypt'); there are some truly cool riffs. I'd venture to say this is WAY more accessible than Slipknot or Static-X and may just start a welcome old school revolution!

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright © 2002 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 11 Sep 2022 13:59:46 -0400.