Click to hear: “Zombees”
To twist the marketing slogan of a popular jam: With a name like Covered in Bees, it has to rock.
How hard does this Portland band’s debut studio effort rock? Consider the fact it includes this lyric: “Rock rockin’ the rocking you rock!”
That’s pretty darn rockin’.
Covered in Bees is about as close to a super-group as Portland can produce.
Their lead singer, Boo, cut his teeth with the raucous Lunch Money Thugs.
Guitarist Doug Porter shreds in the jaw-dropping, genre-busting trio Confusatron, and has lent riffs to Rope Eyes, a side project of The Horror’s Ricky Boy Floyd.
His brother, bassist Ed Porter, played in the late local metal band Broken Clown, and has joined Clown guitarist/vocalist Mark Belanger in his new band, Pigboat.
Drummer Tristan Gallagher also plays regularly with Eggbot and The Pontiffs. Gallagher deserves either a medal or psychiatric treatment for playing the Pontiffs/Eggbot/Bees triple-bill at Geno’s earlier this summer.
As the album’s title indicates, Covered in Bees play a hybrid of death-metal and punk rock. Boo screams and growls most of his lyrics, but mixes in enough Danzigian crooning and punk sneering to keep things fresh. Also in keeping with both genres, the songs’ subject matter is a mix of social and political angst, horror-movie kitsch, and blasphemy.
The doom-and-gloom on Portland Death Punk is leavened with not a little humor, especially evident on the horror-flick-inspired “Swampman,” “Bloodbath and Beyond” (get it?), and “Spiderlady.” That last track opens with an ominous voice intoning, “After the rain, and before the fire, there will be a barbed-wire rainbow,” and the song just gets funnier from there, as the band strings together just about every heavy rock musical cliché in the book. It’s my favorite track.
Anyone who’s witnessed the mind-boggling mayhem that is Confusatron knows Doug Porter is a force of nature on guitar. With that band, he jumps from one killer riff to another so quickly and so often that it can be hard to savor each bit. Not so on this record. It’s thrilling to hear Porter rip through the more straightforward Bees compositions, and his background screams give the band a great vocal depth.
Gallagher pounds away with Moonian abandon throughout the album, and Ed Porter’s bass doesn’t miss one menacing beat. Each song has been written so as to flick the little switch in the brain that involuntarily causes one’s fist to pump in the air, or one’s head to nod violently, the maximum number of times.
Covered in Bees, I say to thee: You rock rockin’ the rocking you rock!
— Chris Busby
For more on the Bees, visit coveredinbees.net.