Rediscovering: Misfits’ Earth A.D.

It’s well into October, lads, and I suppose that means I should start building some spookiness into the Scratchpad. Demons, death, pestilence, faces you see in shadows, all that good shit. This one should’ve happened much higher up in the pile, going alphabetically, but I held it because it’s Misfits–they’re like the original horror punk band. You can’t do this one in September, you blow your load too early like that.

Misfits' Earth A.D.

Let’s talk about the last (original) Misfits record, 1983’s Earth A.D.

My previous experience, if any

Really none, as far as Misfits go. Classic punk stuff is very much not my bag, and so you wonder–how’d I end up with it then? Story goes, my local record store plays their own stock as background music, and you can outright buy what’s in their CD player (or on their turntable) at that exact moment if you want, which is pretty sweet. During one of my visits, they had the expanded CD reissue of Earth A.D. on, and I thought it sounded cool, so I walked out with it. And that was kinda that, admittedly. I’ve tried this one on and off since owning it, but it never much stuck with me. Perfect candidate for a Rediscovering, I’d say.

The history lesson

Earth A.D. came a mere two months before the dissolution of the classic Misfits lineup (Glenn Danzig, “Jerry Only”, “Doyle”, and “Robo”–I don’t get stage names). With a ton of touring and a good few singles under their belt, they’d started to gain quite a bit of momentum and a few notable fans, namely Black Flag’s Henry Rollins. Still, Danzig was looking to quit. Putting a few more of his songs to the the band’s in-progress 1983 EP to make it a full-length and ratcheting up the heaviness and speed to almost thrash levels of nastiness, Earth A.D./Wolfs Blood [sic] came out just a little too late to see the original incarnation of the band do much with it.

Well?

I’m polarized on this one. Good stuff: it sounds neat as all hell, definitely music to bounce around to. Bad stuff: it’s too short, I’m not a fan of the mix, and aside from the sheer tonnage of chaos, I can’t really get into it. It’s a sonic menace, just not the kind of ride I think I’ll take too often if I keep it.

This might very well be the shortest album in the entire Rediscovering pile–it’s 22 minutes in its extended release. The longest song on here, “Die, Die My Darling”, is still barely three minutes (and wasn’t even originally on here!), and “Demonomania” isn’t even one. I’ve previously derided albums for songs too short to go much of anywhere, and yeah, this one kinda suffers for it too. As far as I’m concerned, Doolittle still stands as the high watermark for how to do short songs.

Certainly not to say a few don’t make impressions, however. “Death Comes Ripping” proves it too rips, with that sewage-thick guitar tone, and “Green Hell” is this album at its most relentless. The title track perfectly transitions from the groaning, creaking guitar feedback that starts it off to trying to knock you on your ass within 15 seconds, and does a pretty damn good job of it. Plus, that “A.D., A.D.” bit–that’s a fucking refrain.

Here’s where I give up the ghost of objectivity though. This isn’t for me, not least of which because of how I listen to albums. I’m too ADHD to set an album and forget it. I’m more likely to start one up and pause a few tracks in or listen to individual tracks of an album I already know. I currently have the B-side to a Vansire tape sitting unlistened to in my player. I use the entirety of the Rediscovering pile as further evidence.

This album is not one I could do that with. These songs are too short to work on their own. I can listen to it three times in the span of that Failure album I did recently, but I just don’t listen to full albums often enough for that to really happen. Sonically, I do like it, but not enough to see myself revisiting it. It’s a style I appreciate more than I’m genuinely into.

What I will say, though, is that if I ever found a copy of the “Die, Die My Darling” single (in the wild, originals are a little pricey on Discogs), I’d absolutely get it. It’s one of the sharpest and catchiest songs on here, less raw aggression and more melody, and again, it wasn’t even originally meant for it! I’d absolutely throw something like that on from time to time, and I’d like to bulk up my collection of vinyl singles someday anyway.

As for the rest of Earth A.D., someone else will like it more than me. If I do get the urge to give it another go, copies are hardly expensive. For now though, as per my other rule of thumb for Rediscovering, there’s stuff I wanna have in the collection a lot more.

Are you keeping it?

The most honorable, polite “no” I can muster.

Leave a Comment