Denmark's Nekromantix is a band that gets an undue amount of crap from the Internet community. While they may not be writing timeless classics, they have thus far put forth a set of decent psychobilly punk records on independent labels that are still far superior to much of the crap the mainstream music industry has been churning out.
Life Is a Grave & I Dig It! sees the Nekromantix at their musical best, moving beyond simply punk with an upright bass to a diverse offering that includes not only the band's signature psychobilly punk tinge, but also rockabilly, surf, country and blues-inflected tunes and Chuck Berry-style rock and roll. In short, Life Is a Grave will leave the listener thinking more of the Cramps, and less of the Living End.
The musicianship is tight, precise, and technical, and Kim Nekroman's vocals sound better than they ever have. He even shows a sense of humor in the Cramps-like "Horny in a Hearse" with the lines, "Shallow graves and ghouls and barbed wire / She'll be cruisin' down route 666 in style / Seeing through the eyes of the dead / While my baby gives me...you know." "Rot in Hell" may not have the best lyrics (especially with the laughable "Fuck you biotch" line), but the frenzied guitar licks, thumping bass, and hurry-up rhythm make up for it.
The waltzy "Anaheim After Dark" drops the speed way, way down and gives the record a little break before the lightning-speed instrumental, "Panic at the Morgue," which features some of the best upright bass playing on the album. Another track with great bass playing is the album standout "Voodoo Shop Hop" with lyrics remarkably similar to Body Count's song "Voodoo" from 1992. The speed-varying "Out Comes the Batz" puts a good cap on the end of the record before the instrumental reprise of "Anaheim After Dark."
Life Is a Grave is documented evidence that the Nekromantix have come to be quite good at what they do. Sure, they have silly horror-themed lyrics, but so do greats like the Misfits, Groovie Ghoulies, and the Cramps, who are probably owed a debt of influence for this album and much of modern psychobilly. What really shines through on Life is a Grave is the instrumentation, though. The searing guitar playing, rowdy bass thumps, and biting drumwork shows the Nekromantix' impressive progression and rise to the top of their game with Life Is a Grave & I Dig It!.