Band breakups are surreal experiences. When you put blood, sweat, and tears into a body of work with other people, moving on is never as simple as just starting over. A band is a family. A breakup is a divorce. Divorces can get ugly.
Although they set the gold standard for horror punk, the Misfits were never a particularly content band. Upon calling it quits, frontman Glenn Danzig incrementally headed towards the shadowy shores of occult metal, navigating his experimental punk band Samhain further and further into the void until it changed shape into the heavy doom blues of his eponymous band. Acrimonious legal battles with their former singer and primary songwriter aside, brothers Jerry Only and Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein were relatively quiet on the music front for a few years, going to work in their father’s auto-body shop and concentrating on family.
Or so it would appear…
Having walked the dark path of the Misfits for several years, Jerry and Doyle (real names Gerard and Paul Caiafa) further distanced themselves from Danzig by getting right with God. The Caiafa brothers started the Doyle Fan Club in 1988 to connect with Misfits fans about their new project, a Christian power metal band called Kryst The Conqueror. Having redubbed himself “Mo the Great,” Jerry hoped that Kryst’s message of righteous praise and fury would lead to the salvation of those who followed Danzig, who the brothers viewed as satanic.
Having recruited longtime Yngwie Malmsteen vocalist Jeff Scott Soto, the brothers recorded a full length album called Deliver Us From Evil. Although the record itself was only released as a five song EP, the remaining tracks have surfaced online over the years.
In the biography Music Leaves Stains: The Complete Story Of The Misfits, author James Greene, Jr. describes the Kryst the Conqueror era like so:
Rechristening himself Mocavius Kryst (“Mo the Great” for short), Jerry Only spearheaded a viking-themed heavy metal act with Doyle called Kryst the Conqueror. Joined by fellow Lodian Jim Murray on drums, Kryst the Conqueror embraced a galloping power metal sound a la Helloween or Manowar. The overt Christian themes were difficult to ignore, however, not only in the band’s name but on their singular release, 1990’s self-pressed Deliver Us from Evil EP, which boasts songs such as “In God We Trust” and “Trial of the Soul.” There were also “Mo the Great’s” various fan club writings at the time. To wit: “In the final days of the second millennium, I, Mocavius Kryst, and my men now swear this pact with God. For it is by His command that I now open the gates, unleashing the fury of His vengeance… behold the power of truth for it burns its light up the sword of my brother.” “We don’t want people to come out and say, ‘They were great, but they’re into that devil shit,’” Only explained to Yeszista. “That’s not it, all of our songs are about going out and chasing the son of a bitch. That’s what it’s all about… if I made Kryst with a ‘C,’ people are gonna say, ‘He’s making fun of God.’ We’ve come in His name to do the job.”
Former cohorts would question the validity of the Caiafas’ sudden conversion to ultrapiousness (“They’re about as born again as Anton LaVey,” Bobby Steele snorted to MRR in 1992). Further doubts surrounded Jerry’s proclamation that Kryst the Conqueror was on par with Led Zeppelin and that the band’s music would sustain for a minimum of three decades. When push came to shove, “unleashing the fury” ultimately proved somewhat tricky for Kryst: The band never managed to employ a full-time singer as Jeff Scott Soto, the vocalist who sang on Deliver Us from Evil, was under contract to Swedish guitar sensation Yngwie Malmsteen at the time and could not commit fully to another project. In fact, Soto couldn’t even legally be credited in Deliver Us from Evil‘s liner notes—the vocalist listed on the sleeve is, in fact, Kryst the Conqueror.
Upon winning the right to perform under their old banner, Only and Doyle handed over their bibles and folded Kryst the Conqueror into a new version of the Misfits. Only has gone on record about his fear for Danzig’s eternal soul, so not that much has changed.
Check out Deliver Us From Evil here!