The Jasons, Camp Crystal Lake’s favorite sons, are back with their latest full-length album Blood In The Streets.
Let me get this out of the way: Blood In The Streets is easily the best album to date from The Jasons. The performances, the songwriting, and the production – from the actual audio engineering to the slick artwork/packaging – have all been stepped-up in a monumental way. The previous albums from these hockey-masked Mongoloid minstrels have all been solid releases (even Stalk and Slash Summer, so, eat it, Jason V), but Blood In The Streets throws down the gauntlet in terms of sheer quality.
Blood In The Streets opens with its title track, wasting no time to vault listeners into a pure pop-punk assault. The Jasons’ aggressive brand of Crystal Lake Punk Rock continues with “Kay-Em 1,” an ode to everyone’s favorite cyborg hottie from Jason X. “Kay-Em 1, are your nipples made of steel/Kay-Em 1, is your pussy really real?” inquires frontman Jason V, until the song leans even harder into the absurd with a bridge that takes the piss out of anyone that would take The Jasons seriously enough to take offense. This duality of snotty, abrasive punk mixed with a “just fuckin’ with ya” approach continues in “Scene Police,” which laments the softening of punk’s edge in the wake of an overly sensitive culture, but, how offended could anyone be by a band which mixes the best parts of KISS and The Ramones with 80’s slasher schlock?
Things plunge back into Voorhees territory with “JJ Was A Headbanger,” an ode to Jason Takes Manhattan’s resident hellraiser JJ, who unfortunately found herself at the end of a Jason Voorhees guitar check. Metalhead naysayers (the ones with a sense of humor – all three of them) will enjoy the references to Hit Parader magazine and Yngwie Malmsteen, and everyone else will enjoy one of The Jasons most catchy tunes to date. Continuing to dive into the Friday the 13th mythos is “It’s Still Crystal Lake To Me (No Matter What They Say),” echoing Tommy Jarvis’ unheeded warnings to the local authorities in Friday the 13th VI: Jason Lives.
The masked marauders switch things back to pure, angry punk rock with “No Motivation,” a song that could easily be mistaken for a non-Jasons track, with only cursory references to the Voorhees saga. This cannot be said for “Dead Fuck,” however – The Jasons’ first dance hit and one of the highlights of the album. “Dead Fuck” is a tribute to Jimmy, everyone’s favorite hopeless romantic and dance superstar from Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, and it seems only fitting that Jason V would break the fourth wall and instruct the listeners how, exactly, one does the “Dead Fuck.” “First you thrust your hands/then you gotta move your feet,” instructs V; one can only hope the punks at future Jasons shows become a sea of Crispin Glovers.
The Jasons then turn the dial up to 11 with “Red-Blooded American Punk Rock,” which, despite its title, owes more to leather-and-hair metal of the ’80s than any “American Punk Rock,” trading Ramones-core for something much more akin to Dokken. If Blood In The Streets wasn’t such a solid record – which it most certainly is – no one could blame listeners for wishing for a full-length, 80’s metal offering from the boys in the hockey masks. The guitar work on this track really stands out, with some heavy lifting from the New & Improved Jason Hollywood. It really should be noted that the musicianship on this album is a step forward for the band, doubly impressive that this is the first release with two new members (the aforementioned N&I Hollywood and drums from New Hell). These new contributions, supported by the always killer vocals and guitar work of Jason V, and the glue-and-blood bass guitar from the wickedly wonderful Jason 3D (heavy lifting has NEVER come with a power stance like THIS), seamlessly fuse together to make this the best Jasons album yet.
The Jasons show their sensitive side with “Vera (I’m So Sorry),” a track about doomed camp counselor Vera from Part 3 in 3D. Truly an innocent victim in the Friday The 13th film world, Vera would probably be honored by this paean to Shelly’s object of desire… although I’m sure she’d have been happy to skip this camping trip altogether. “I’m so sorry, Vera,” wails Jason V — and one can ALMOST imagine the actual Jason Voorhees having second thoughts after slaughtering poor Vera. Well, maybe not, but, damn, the boys from Crystal Lake know how to pull at your heartstrings before ripping them out of your chest. Chili, the female stoner from the same Friday the 13th entry, is given the opposite treatment, with Voorhees’ seemingly Regan-era straightedge tendencies fully on display. “Chili has a dead clit/her pussy’s like a tar pit/it smells just like a skunk and has more resin than a bong hit!” Vile? Yes. Off-putting? Most certainly. One cannot say, however, that The Jasons don’t have a way with words.
“You Should Never Have Reopened That Camp” throws things back into more serious sounding punk rock, referencing the original Friday the 13th and the repeated mantra from the locals of Crystal Lake, New Jersey. It’s not a throwaway track by any means, but in the wake of such strong, memorable songs in the first two-thirds of the album, this track, admittedly, serves more as a palette-cleanser before leading into the last three tracks. “3D Got Ramones Jeans” leaves Crystal Lake behind and tells the story of how our favorite goalie-masked bassist became so damn fashionable, even if its a self-proclaimed “total fucking Queers rip-off song.” Somehow, I don’t think Joe Queer will mind.
The penultimate track on the album, “Mark’s Legs Don’t Work,” may be the best track on the whole damn album, and that’s saying a lot, as this is, if it’s not clear by now, an album full of great songs. It’s a warm, cheeky tribute to the wheelchair-bound Mark from Friday the 13th Part 2, and, while definitely not politically correct, is not, as the title may suggest, some cheap shot at the series sole differently-abled camp counselor. “His penis isn’t broken/oh my God he’s so well spoken,” sings Jason V, in what very well be the most hilarious track on an album that is full of wonderful, terrible jokes. That cheekiness extends into the final track of the album, “I Jacked Off (To Dee Dee Ramone),” which sees Jason V relying on “any port in a storm” in a moment of horny desperation. Who knows if Dee Dee would be flattered or horrified? Both is probably the best answer, as Dee Dee wasn’t averse to sophomoric humor himself. “Necessity is the mother of masturbation when you’re broke and all alone.” Truer words may never have been spoken by a leather-clad Mongoloid punk rocker in a hockey mask.
Blood In the Streets is nearly a perfect record; an excellent horror-punk, Ramones-core, pop-punk powerhouse dipped in 80’s metal and an absolute subversive and sophomoric sense of humor. It pulls no punches and, much like Jason Voorhees himself, leaves no survivors in its wake. While one or two of the tracks might not stand exactly toe-to-toe with the rest, it doesn’t mean that they’re weak material or only exist as filler; all of these songs are excellent, if not equal. There’s no way that every song is going to be as strong as “Dead Fuck” or “Mark’s Legs Don’t Work,” and, why should they be? Blood In The Streets is an album from a band that transcends any petty or dismissive claim of relying on a gimmick, and, if the idea of listening to an album or attending a show where the four dudes performing are in hockey masks doesn’t thrill you, then, really, they’re definitely not a band for you — and you should seriously get a sense of humor. The Jasons may use the “gimmick” of being a masked act in the same vein as KISS, Gwar, or Ghost, but, like the best of those bands, their music transcends both the aesthetic and the source material. Blood In The Streets absolutely slays and is already one of the top contenders of the album of the summer, if not the whole year. Grab your favorite guy or girl, pack the beers and the bong, and get ready to head to Crystal Lake and party like it’s your last summer on Earth… because if The Jasons newest album is any indication, it very well may be… because this album KILLS.