The Flea Pit -
The Life And Times Of Doug Jaranski

(CD 2020, 47:44, Painted Bass Records PBR 20-001)

The tracks:
  1- Blood Red Awakening
  2- Books
  3- One Of A Kind
  4- The Barfly
  5- Behold The King
  6- All But One
  7- Spotlight Agony
  8- Worm
  9- Radio Jaranski
10- Hymn To A Dead Dog
11- Throw A Bone
12- Last Call

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“And now for something completely different”. No, not an album with Monty Python references, but here's The Flea Pit. A combination of heavy music and a comic book story, initiated by drummer, comic artist Willy Van Haren and guitarist, vocalist Harald Te Grotenhuis. Their ambition is to create a story where music and comics complete each other. Therefore, besides a CD the package holds a nicely printed 40 pages comic book.

The Life And Times Of Doug Jaranski tells the story of a tormented poet, drowning himself in cheap liquor and shady women. Throughout the story, the situations become surrealistic as he gets confronted with his failures, lost love and a giant mescal worm.

Basically, the music sets the atmosphere for the comic book, which mostly is set in a bar called The Flea Pit. Musically the duo embraces the music they grew up with; old school trash metal, played nasty and brutal. To embrace the bar feel, spoken words or background noises were added, like the track The Barfly, which forces you in a comical way, to listen to German drinking music. Perfectly fitting the atmosphere in the book, devastating for the ears. As the album moves along, the psychedelic parts are gently added; Radio Jaranski or Throw A Bone. But the trash metal always forms the core of the band's music. Personally, I prefer the tough riffs and powerful compositions, like Hymn To A Dead Dog, the very strong opener Blood Red Awakening and fine One Of A Kind.

The Flea Pit is something very special, I don't think the combination of comic books and music has ever been presented to me, but the outcome is a very nice one. If you need musical references, I would say The Flea Pit is a tough combination of Anthrax riffs, a powerful voice and sometimes some Volbeat accessibility. If you want to go and find out what The Flea Pit will be live, be surprised, you literally will be entering The Flea Pit.

***+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)

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