With 12 Step Rebels, Shotgun Idols, the Stink and Kandi and the TubeTops
After rockabilly exorcised its ruffian edge, around the time Elvis traded in his blue-suede shoes for Army-issue combat boots, it floated about aimlessly as a musical specter for nearly three decades. That leather-clad spirit later found a new home in the marginalized fringes of Britain's post-punk fallout. Born in the clubs of South London in the early '80s, psychobilly became the bastard stepchild of this ghost of '50s anti-establishment rock and roll and a punk scene looking to abandon its own political ambivalence. Though the Meteors and the Polecats set the stage, it was the second generation, led by America's Reverend Horton Heat and Germany's Mad Sin, that carried the hellbilly sound even further forward. Built on the maniacal, machine-gun drive of guitar and slap bass, Mad Sin is part band, part performance art. Its latest release, Survival of the Sickest, is a relentless assault that builds from the first cut, "Communication Breakdown," to the final nuclear blast of "Class Warpath." What falls in between is a dizzying swirl of piercing punk, remarkably deft songwriting and the glorious thrash of musical anarchy.