Comedy grind band 7000 Dying Rats made short work of Venom, Thin Lizzy, and the theme from Beverly Hills: 90210 on their last couple of records, frequent tour partners Anal Cunt got a taste of their own medicine on "Anal Cunt Is Gay," and a triumphant opening performance for Dio nearly got the band run out of their own hometown. These guys take acting infantile as seriously as Neil Hamburger takes his non-sequitur punch lines. No sacred cow is too tender to gore—or, in the case of the group's infamous backyard party "tribute to black metal," get butchered and nailed to a homemade cross.
Black Sabbath (via a banjo arrangement of "Paranoid") and KISS (the stadium-sized parody "Rock n Roll Weapon") get the typical derisive 7KDR treatment on Season in Hell. As usual, half of the fun comes from parsing the song titles, identifying the parody targets, and listening to hear how far the Chicago-Detroit collective is willing to carry a one-note joke. Tracks like "Grind Fluffer" and "Jesus Farted" require no further explanation, but "We Had 'Dying' in Our Name Before All Those Metalcore Cocksuckers Came Along"—which reduces the whole genre into one 20-second song-snippet—is unquestionably the band's finest hour. "We are totally bothered by our genius," explains vocalist Josh Diebel, the band's only remaining original member. "And it keeps us up at night like a bad case of the squirts."
Not only is Season in Hell the most succinctly titled record in the group's somewhat spotty recording history, but it's also the best sounding, courtesy of Sanford Parker's production and a bang-up mastering job from Scott Hull (Pig Destroyer/Agoraphobic Nosebleed). "Sanford was a no-brainer, because of his work with Lair of the Minotaur. Also, he is quite beautiful to look at," notes Diebel. "We never saw Scott Hull, so I can't comment on his appearance, but his efforts were palpable. The final mix of Season in Hell was great, but the mastered version is a totally different record. Give anything to Scott Hull and he'll make it fuckin' huge!"
This past November, 7000 Dying Rats celebrated the completion of Season in Hell with a record release show in Chicago that prompted the group to put their trademark ski masks back into mothballs. This may be due to D.J. Barraca and Steve Rathbone's commitments in Lair of the Minotaur or the fact that Season in Hell is really just a collection of previously unreleased material. Diebel chalks it up to their label's "unorthodox" business practices. "A group of lawyers representing the corporate heads of Hewhocorrupts Inc. offered us a large sum of money in exchange for the band's name, our current catalogue, our merchandising rights, and all of the songs we will ever write in the future," he sighs. "Now we must obey our masters. - Nick Green