Category Archives: MUSIC REVIEWS

MUSIC REVIEW: Danzig – Skeletons (2015)

We all know and love Mr. Glenn Danzig, the man behind the almighty Misfits, Samhain, and Danzig. What most suspected and read in past interviews is that he was heavily influenced by the likes of Elvis Presley and Jim Morrison. I mean, he’s like the evil version of both that’s wrapped into a ball of energy that, honestly, after seeing him live a couple of times, I think cannot be matched by a lot of people in his age bracket. So he brings us now Danzig Skeletons.
For many years we all waited for an album to come out in which Danzig would cover some of heaviest influences. Finally, as of 2015 he did, and it’s a glorious record. Listening to Glenn speak in interviews and with the unexpected reunion of the Misfits 2 Riotfest gigs, you can see he’s really getting nostalgic and so an album like this is pretty cool to have on his resume, paying homage to some things and introducing fans of his to music they may not have heard prior. A couple of tracks from some B film biker flicks really threw me off, but when you listen to the original versions, it makes sense as to why he would throw his particular style into it.
Danzig - Skeletons / Fair use doctrine.
So let’s get down to business:
Devil’s AngelsThis was taken from the theme song of an old biker movie. Straight up I had hopes that maybe he would revisit the O.G. punk rock sound of The Misfits with some of this, and this one did it. A very well done number with some throw back punk rock that made us all fall in love with Mr. Danzig.
SatanAnother number that has that old time biker film jive to it. I had never heard of this, so I researched the original and found it to be mega slow, and, I don’t know, I always thought bikers were supposed to be hard and mean, and this didn’t do it for me. However, good ol’ Glenn really threw in some of that bluesy metal vibe and smashed it. Definitely made it more convincing to the reader.
Let Yourself GoAn Elvis number that isn’t very well known unless you’re a die hard fan and not just a fair weather Presley fan. Really, there’s no difference. Danzig nailed this one PERFECTLY.
N.I.B.By far my favorite Black Sabbath song, and I’ve heard many people cover this one and even considered covering it myself. I can’t say it’s my favorite version, but it’s definitely in the top 3. It’s slowed down a bit, and Danzig puts his own spin on it, of course, and really turned it into a Danzig song. If you hadn’t known Sabbath was the original artist, you’d think it was a Danzig tune for sure.
Lord of the ThighsAerosmith... uh, yeah, you read that correctly. An older Aerosmith number that was great originally, and then Glenn gets a hold of it and adds that metal flair and really gave it some justice. I’m sure anyone who knows the original and then hears this will absolutely love it. Putting that Danzig twist to it really makes a difference in the song’s dynamic.
Action WomanAnother song I had never heard prior to this, originally recorded by some band called The Litter. I felt, after listening to the original, that if Danzig wasn’t in the punk scene, this would have been his band. No doubt about it, he took this song and again made it a tune of his own with the carried out notes and guitar squeals. It has Danzig 1 all over it.
Rough BoyWhat’s funny about this whole record is there are songs by bands that you’re not going to expect. This one is brought to us by ZZ Top. I was not expecting to hear this; again, though, it’s very well done and perfectly arranged, really paying great homage to the original. I don’t care for ZZ Top, but to see what’s up, I listened to it and found it a good representation.
With a Girl Like YouDanzig frequently can be incoherent in his lyrical projection. When I listened to this one, I thought that’s what was going on here, but nope, the original has the same vibe. I’m not so stoked about this one as the others, the distorted bass really throws off the vibe of the song and kind of gets annoying after 45 seconds.
Find SomebodyThis is another tune that sounds as if they were dying down towards the end of writing. Not very well arranged and sounds as if the whole band may be falling asleep. I’ve heard this one in original form a few dozen times, and it doesn’t really pay homage as well as they could have.
Crying in the RainOriginally recorded by The Everly Brothers, it was an amazing song then, and the way Danzig recorded it is fantastic. Light instruments and some echoed out vocals. It’s a fantastic way to end this album.
Overall, Danzig did a fantastic job with this record. A few songs could have been represented better, but who am I to say? They stayed true to a bluesy but metal style and picked songs that represented the Danzig sound.

MUSIC REVIEW: Wolfman Chuck and the Spookalele of Doom – Another Confession (2017)

Wolfman Chuck and the Spookalele of Doom / Fair use doctrine.
Another Confession / Company: Ukulele Horror Records
  1. 1. Dance With The Devil
  2. 2. Wolfman Chuck
  3. 3. They Pray, My Prey
  4. 4. When You Die
  5. 5. Another Confession
  6. 6. Gore To The Whore
  7. 7. Rotten Pumpkins
  8. 8. Lucille
  9. 9. Ballad Of Ronnie
  10. 10. Yup, It's Rape Again!!!
Promoter, host and musician are just some of the words used to describe the Massachusetts based Wolfman Chuck. Whether leading his band of Brimstone Boys or working solo, this genre staple has made a career out of crafting music based around his morbid sense of humor. Chuck has previously unleashed two full length albums and a slew of split EPs on his label Ukulele Horror Records. With the Brimstone Boys, Chuck focuses his sound on a heavy punk and metal feel, but with the “spookalele” he tends to stick closer to love songs filtered out through his twisted mind. Chuck spent most of 2016 working to unleash The Brimstone Boys, his full band project, with Dave Sage and Zack Zombie, to the world but managed to find time to write and record his best effort to date. Titled Another Confession, Wolfman Chuck and the Spookalele of Doom bring 10 haunting, dark tracks to the table in an album that entertains from start to finish.
The disc opens with “Dance With The Devil” a track that helps set the album’s overall darker tone. In a conversation regarding the writing process, Wolfman Chuck explained that this album would contain more personal tracks than in previous recordings and, from the start, there’s a noticeable difference. Continuing with the theme established on the previous song, Chuck segues into “Wolfman Chuck”. With a nod to the Brimstone Boys and boastful lyrics about his preference of women, alive or dead, Chuck portrays himself as a repulsive and diabolical deviant through a hauntingly mellow track ripe with his standard gore and violence.
Track three, “They Pray, My Prey” sticks out as a song that expresses Chuck’s ability to add depth and layers to music consisting only of a man, his beard, and his ukulele. A uniquely haunting and distant opening riff leads into a mid-tempo track about the sinister woodsman toying with his victims in lyrics like, “You can cry all you want, but you’re mine.” Track four is the most outright hostile track on the disc as the Wolfman barks lyrics like, “what you see is what you get, I’m not a fake motherfucker like you” and “I’ll be there when you die. No angels gonna cry." "When You Die" is a comfortable norm for longtime fans of Chuck, poppy, friendly riffs with aggressive punk vocals. Tracks like this prove the Wolfman can be a well versed artist while maintaining loyalty to what got him immediately recognized. The macabre mountain man is a master at his craft, successfully fusing the stark contrasts of violent lyrics over the top of a happy and upbeat ukulele. The album’s title track, “Another Confession” is the standout of the bunch. Packed with emotion and a long build up to an incredible chorus, this is the best Chuck has sounded all around in vocals, playing, and writing. On my one hundredth play through, I still get goosebumps as he segues into the songs hook “What was wrong with you is now right with me and your dead and buried.” If you know nothing of his extensive musical history, this track is a perfect starting point and the highlight of an album full of incredible songs. It's not uncommon to see fans of the genre bypass acoustic acts as nothing more then an artist doing less than others, but those with that elitist mentality generally miss the creative genius of artists like Chuck. The album’s title track alone would be perfect for showing what acoustic solo artists have to offer.
With “Another Confession” being as powerful and moving as it is, I would’ve been satisfied if the record ended there. Fortunately, the second half of the album is as equally enticing as the first. Track six, “Gore To The Whore”, shows Chuck flexing the romantic muscle he’s know for with a song of death, blood, and guts crooned sweetly over a track fit for any make-out point rendezvous. If I haven’t brought attention to it before, it’s important to note how well Chuck wrote these songs and fit them together to keep a mood flowing from track to track without breaking its hold. The next song, “Rotten Pumpkins”, features Brimstone Boys bassist Dave Sage lending a backing vocal track. While the majority of the disc is a more honest form of horror expressed in a way Chuck pulls off convincingly, "Rotten Pumpkins" is a return to a more fun form of horror. The track was originally released in 2016 as a single recorded with the Brimstone Boys and is, as the majority of the album, one of the strongest songs penned by the bearded butcher. Without breaking the streak, the album continues on to another recognizable track, “Lucille”. Yes, a track written about the blood drinking bat swung into the skulls of his victims by Negan in Robert Kirkman’s Walking Dead comic books and the AMC TV series of the same name. A fitting topic for a man destined to offend everyone to some extent, Chuck portrays the violence of the show in a spoiler-ridden track too good to skip. Just like “Rotten Pumpkins”, “Lucille” can be heard with The Brimstone Boys backing, but to garner the true essence and malice of the song, the version from this album is more fitting.
“Ballad Of Ronnie” is the ninth entry on the disc and another showcasing Wolfman’s ability to write a catchy hook. Most notable about this track is the almost western feel injected into the playing - a fresh turn if you found yourself of the minority needing a change of pace. Chuck croons about Ronnie, a street walking transgender meeting her demise at the hands of a violent John. The song strums along as Chuck delivers lyrics in the form of a tall-tale fit for the most macabre. Chuck has remained adamant that his music is written because he enjoys it and it's not penned for snowflakes, and "Ballad of Ronnie" is a strong example of just how little he cares about offending listeners. The disc closes with the song “Yup, It’s Rape Again”. Premise, title, and delivery of this track display what Chuck is most noted for bringing to the scene. He garners the ability to spew out violent offensive lyrics with no difficulty over riffs that, in the hands of anyone less sinister, would be coated in happy and uplifting words. As a finale, this song wraps up Another Confession in a neat bow. Complete with memorable hook and all, Another Confession ends on a strong note.
Clocking in at just short of 30 minutes and available with full color art for only $5 from the label’s Big Cartel page, the disc is worth the time and money spent. Described by Chuck as being “less campy but still fucked”, Another Confession is a audible splatter-fest that assaults the senses and calms the nerves. Aggressive, offensive, and fun as hell, Wolfman Chuck has been an artist I’ve enjoyed watching evolve. If you’re a fan of home grown and unique acoustic horror, this album is a must. This is entirely my take on the music this album has to offer. I wanted to briefly touch base with Chuck to see what his thought process was going into this and what he foresees himself doing next.
House of Tortured Souls: To start off, could you describe your music in general and what you would like your listeners to get from hearing you?
Wolfman Chuck: I play a ukulele. My play style sometimes sounds punk, rock & roll and a little traditional uke sound, this is all I've been told in feedback. I really don't know how to describe it... I just play what I feel. As for what I would like my listerners to get from my music... well, nothing. I make music as a release. If someone like it then... OK, right on, glad they dig it... if not, I don't really care. I make music for me. It's my therapy.
HoTS: I bring up The Brimstone Boys, could you describe that band? How does it differ from your work with the spookalele?
WC: With the Brimstone Boys I don't play my spookalele at all. I am the front man, throwing blood and tossing body parts and fetus's while singing my spookalele tunes as a well as originals to the band. Wolfman and the Brimstone Boys is another release but this time I share the stage with friends of like mind.
HoTS: As a solo artist and with a backing band, you've perfected the art of taboo themes. Have you ever worried that your content would scare away potential fans?
WC: I don't do what I do for fans, no, nope.
HoTS: I honestly hope it stays that way. Moving onto your new album, the record in total has a different vibe. The same content and the same old Wolfman. Could you explain the different approach, if any, you took in crafting this disc?
WC: Writing this album I was in a dark place for a while. I feel it tells with the lyrics and tone. I have also been listening more to some folkish bands lately. I'm sure that influence shows through as well. I feel it has more of a serious feel and is less campy, yet I still have my dark humor.
HoTS: Of the 10 songs on this album each one seems to show you writing at the top of your game. Do you have a favorite song from this record or at least one that you feel would be the most widely accepted by your fans?
WC: Nope, can't say that I do.
HoTS: We talked before about the use of different ukuleles on this record, can you explain how that benefited this disc?
WC: I have many ukuleles and they all have their different tone and personality. When I use a certain one to write a song it is created with that ukulele. Feel, tone and soul. So to use a different ukulele for a song that was written on another... you just lose the songs essence.
HoTS: Is that a technique you've used on your other albums?
WC: Yes. My other two albums, I use the one uke I wrote the songs with. It's just this time I used more then one uke.
HoTS: Do you have plans for what you're going to do next?
WC: I have been tossing the thought around about maybe forming a full band again. This time with me fronting ON the ukulele... Wolfman and the Hounds of Hell... we will see.
HoTS: And in conclusion, Chuck you've written an incredible record, easily one of my favorite releases. You've got plans for the future, anything else you'd like to say to the readers?
WC: Glad you dig it, and I would like to conclude with telling the readers to get out there to the local clubs and support local music. Don't just go to shows with national acts. So many good bands to be discovered. Get out there!!! Also check out Ukulele Horror Records, my label. It supports lots of great local acts.
If you found the foul-mouthed, ukulele-wielding mountain man to be entertaining, then be sure to follow him on Facebook and pick up a copy of his latest CD Another Confession at the Ukulele Horror Records web store.

MUSIC REVIEW: Darkness Visible – Australian Horror Rock

Every once in a while I’ll stumble upon a band that differs from what’s out there in the midst of the horror rock community. Darkness Visible a band from Australia is really one of those bands that has shown they are far different from the rest of the horror rock bands that are circulating.
With a visually appealing musical act, the artistry is very well done, like a tamer version of Genitortures. Less sex than the Gen’s of course. Definitely a band that would be a lot of fun to see live. The musical aspect of Darkness Visible is eclectic as it is not just one set genre. They kind of jump all over the place as far as style goes and that’s not a bad thing. Simple people, want simple music: “If it’s not this one genre, I don’t want it”. So if you’re a simpleton don’t bother listening to Darkness Visible. I say that with the utmost respect because one minute it’s a slow death rock style song, and then you’re taken into a world of pianos and almost jazzy, swing-style forte, which I absolutely love.
The female vocals are KILLER on every song she sings on. If this were my band, I’d stick her on vocals and never touch a mic again. In the Horror Rock world, females always shine through, and this is no different.
With a new video out for “The Truth Hurts” set in a silent film kind of style, very unique and well put together. Musically it’s like if a Danzig meets Alice Cooper vibe. This particular song features male vocals. The darkness, and artistry really shows through on this video.
Let’s not stop there, I can’t seem to find any music online other than videos, and that’s really a good thing because the visual aspect of this band is pleasing to the eyes. The song “Flesh” and the video for it is quite the visual horror freak show. If you’re going to listen to a band with a different sound and different way of doing things, this is the band to check out. You can do so by visiting their Facebook page where you can find their videos and more information about them.
Darkness Visible star / Image: Darkness Visible
Darkness Visible star / Image: Darkness Visible
Stay tuned for more and, as always, keep it creepy! -Schock

MUSIC REVIEW: Ratbatspider – Night Of The Sharksquatch (2014)

  • 1. ...And I'm All Out Of Bubblegum
  • 2. Inward Skeleton
  • 3. Last One Out Close The Coffin Lid
  • 4. Dead Girls Don't Say No
  • 5. Night of the Sharksquatch
Sometime in the latter half of 2015, I was first introduced to the Martian rock monsters Ratbatspider. Hailing from the angry red planet but currently residing in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, this horror punk outfit blends the obvious standard scene influences of The Misfits, Glenn Danzig, etc., with a heavier, more metal-influenced style that’s rare to see with bands who identify as Horror Punk. The four piece machine features vocalist Ryan Remains, bassist Chris Rat, guitarist Jack Bat, and drummer Doug Spider. The first impression this band made on me was in form of their 2014 release, Night of the Sharksquatch. The album cover shows a hulking Sasquatch with a shark’s head superimposed on it. Between the cover art, album title, and band name, I had no idea what to expect from the group and went in with zero expectations.
From the start of the album, it was obvious this was a group willing to pave their own way in a genre over-saturated with copy artists trying to emulate groups that came before them. The first track “...And I'm All Out Of Bubblegum” opens with the Rodney Piper quip from They Live where he threatens the alien invaders and then tears right into the music. Front man, Ryan Remains’ aggressive vocal track soars to drummer Doug Spider’s blasting beat as he shouts about the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. The track ends with a shotgun blast before the album’s second song, “Inward Skeleton”, begins. The group slows down slightly for this track and falls into a tighter groove while Remains demonstrates his capable vocal abilities as he jumps back and forth between a croon and shouting.
The third track is the disc’s longest play, coming in at 3:13. “Last One Out Close The Coffin Lid” has the characters playing a game of Russian roulette. Chris Rat’s bass line prominently carries this track as Remains barks the lyrics like, “one is six chance I’ll wind up dead, paint the room with insides of my head”. Overall, this was my favorite listen on the album. The fourth track “Dead Girls Don’t Say No” starts with Jack Bat playing a thrash-style introduction before Doug Spider starts in with another breakneck pace drum beat. This track showcases the groups plethora of influences as collectively they sound like something straight out the late 80s thrash metal scene. The band works at double time as Remains’ vocals change shape again into a more powerful howl.
The album closes with the title track, “Night of the Sharksquatch” a powerful and heavy closer centered around a Kaiju-style beast created when toxic waste fuses the infamous Sasquatch and a shark together. The light-hearted song premise shows a band that can have fun and still write incredible, gripping, and powerful music. Ratbatspider has proven time and again on each of their more current releases that they are a band with confidence in the direction they are going and the raw talent to get them there.
Follow Ratbatspider on their Facebook page.
And check out more from them at their Bandcamp site.

MUSIC REVIEW: Beheaded – Beast Incarnate (2017)

Earsplit Public Relations is really bringing back the true meaning of Death Metal with some …dare I say it, ear splitting metal bands that simply murder what we hear from the big wigs of metal these days.
On this label there is a healthy mix of Death, Doom, Grind, Black and Thrash Metal. First up for my listening pleasure on this label is the band Beheaded of the album Beast Incarnate.
Straight out of the gates with this one it’s a barrage of blast beats and growls. Ya know, the way Death Metal is suppose to be. The first song, “Beast Incarnate”, really gives the album title its meaning and brings to you what the rest of the record holds true. The songs to follow are no less brutal, and unlike some modern day more well known Death Metal bands, there’s nothing clean about this record. It is gritty, raw, and killer to the point of being terrifying.
Song by song there is seriously just no stopping this band. The brutality of the drums, let’s focus here for a moment. The drums are so on point, 30000 bpm (slight exaggeration) and clean with a flawless Death Metal precise landing. You might fall in love with the just the drumming alone on this record. This isn’t to take away from the rest of the band, I’m just saying this is something I noticed right off the bat.
Beast Incarnate, right from the beginning of the album, I mean as soon as you hit play, will have you head banging – even if you’re driving down the road. You will NOT stop until the record is over this I can promise you. So wear a helmet and be safe while driving and listening to this record. Each song is a supreme example of what Death Metal truly should be. This is my first listen of this band and I’m in awe at how precise and solid this album has been executed. Lyrically, vocally, and musically, this album is truly something to buy today!
When I listen to metal bands, a lot of times some of the music is sloppy and a bit simple for the style of music. You’re asking yourself, “Who are you listening to?” I listen to the underground world, and some of the more popular bands as well, and if you listen close, you can hear some rushed recordings and who is just trying to be one of the cool kids. This is not the case here. This whole album should be in rotation in any TRUE metal head’s collection. Warning: This is not for people who think Five Finger Death Punch is a metal band. No no, this is the real deal.
Until next time... Keep it Creepy, Schock
Follow Beheaded on Facebook
Check out Unique Leader Records on the web
Follow Unique Leader Records on Facebook

MOVIE REVIEW: Underworld: Blood Wars (2016)

The golden years of horror franchises seem to be over. With Friday the 13th, and Hellraiser both looking to be rebooted, again, in the near future, the lingering bad taste of the Nightmare on Elm Street re-boot and who knows what in store for Halloween, it looks like the days of continuing series are in the past. Meanwhile Underworld: Blood Wars keeps the Vampire/Lycan series quietly churning on.
Knives and guns, vampires and werewolves are back and so is Beckinsale
I can hear the horror purists screaming now, "Underworld isn't horror!!" and that's okay, get it out. Honestly, I could write a whole article about how I agree with you. Maybe I will, but not today. The fact is a lot of people who identify as horror fans do love the Underworld series. A lot of them hate to admit it though. It's like the guilty pleasure of horror. Our own Fuller House without the annoyance of Bob Saget a couple of times a season.
However you feel about Underworld, Underworld: Blood Wars isn't likely to change your opinion. The film opened well enough that a sixth installment has already been approved, yet it was the lowest opening weekend for a film in the series, a sign it might slowly be running out of gas. Hey, it's been almost fifteen years since the original, and even a Prius can only go so far.
Theo James and Charles Dance protect a wounded Kate Beckinsale in Underworld: Blood Wars
For good or bad, Underworld: Blood Wars is basically more of the same. CGI werewolves, stylized fighting with beautiful heroes and villains. Kate Beckinsale is back in the skin tight spandex she has donned for four of the five installments, looking as delicious as ever. Beckinsale plays Selene, former death dealer now renegade vampire, but if you are reading this, I'm sure you already know all about Selene. Returning from the fourth installment, Underworld: Awakening, is Charles Dance (Game of Thrones, Dracula Untold) and Theo James (Divergent). Also in the cast is Laura Pulver (True Blood) and Daisy Head, the daughter of Anthony Head (Buffy the Vampire Slayer). Underworld Blood Wars is also the directorial debut of Anna Forrester.
From watching the trailers, you might be tempted to think the film revolves around the search for Selene's daughter Eve. However, the search never really happens. It's really, as I said above, just more of the same. Werewolves have a leader who unites them against the backstabbing and traitorous vampires. They make attempts to diverge from the standard formula but for the most part it keeps coming back home. There is mention of Eve, as the Lycans try to pry her location from Selene, but it always boils down to wolves against vamps. It does lead up to the sixth installment actually involving the hunt for Eve and a possible last hurrah for Beckinsale as the lead.
Basically if you like the Underworld series, you will probably like Blood Wars. It's not as good as the first installment, but I actually enjoyed it more than the last one. Beckinsale is still as fetching as ever, and I still enjoy watching her. Theo James makes a decent lead to replace the long since gone Scott Steadman, who I still think is actually Scott Stapp of Creed. The acting is decent enough for what it is. If you hate Underworld, this film won't convert you, and neither will Scott Stapp, but that's another story too.
My advice, if you are a hard core Underworld fan, or just need a dose of Beckinsale booty wiggle, rush on out to Underworld: Blood Wars. Anything other than full loyalty to the brand, wait for it to hit DVD or Netflix. I'm giving it five out of ten stars (don't hit me!) for being more of the same, stay the course, but a little extra sexy with Laura Culver.
So, there ya go - 5 out of 10 for Underworld: Blood Wars.

MUSIC REVIEW: Calabrese – Lust for Sacrilege (2015)

Image: Rock Revolt Magazine
Over the years since I first started listening to Calabrese, I thought they couldn’t get any better. Their E.P. Midnight Spookshow (way back on MP3.com) made me fall in love with this band. They were campy, fun, and cartoonish with some hard-hitting yet almost poppy rhythms that really brought something different to the scene at the time. Then 13 Halloweens comes out with the same flavor, and you could tell it’s a great band that would – and has – just kept getting better. So, skipping past the rest of the albums to the latest, which I’m going to talk about here, I’ll say those first two defined them with some of us in the early 2000s punk rock scene.
The following Calabrese expressed a lot of growth and experience from this band of three brothers. I just finally had a chance to listen to the latest record, Lust for Sacrilege, and it is definitely a solid, one hundred percent different feel from where they were until now.
The talent in the music is very present in this album. It’s slower than the previous albums, however, as after 13 Halloweens they did kind of slow it down and evolve into more adult-themed with their brand of horror rock. Lust for Sacrilege is an album that I would put in a category with bands like Sisters of Mercy and The Cult - the super dark death rock that is great to listen to and just admire the marksmanship of the lyrics, harmonies, and music that really shows what kind of band can come from the land of campy cartoons to the big screen adulthood of rock n’ roll.
I would not classify this album as Horror Punk because, like horror, there are many subgenres. In the beginning, Calabrese got straight to the point with songs like “Blood in my Eyes”, “Midnight Spook Show”, and “Backseat of my Hearse”. Moving on to the albums III-Touch of Death and Born of the Scorpions Touch, we saw that their style was evolving – maturing. Lust for Sacrilege is the ultimate mature album for a truly talented band that is strong in everything they do that each song glides smoothly from one to the other.
The album opens with “The Dark Is Who I Am”, and, man, you CANNOT get a better opening song than this as it really sets the tone for the rest of the album. It’s a bit slow and different from the Calabrese signature sound they started with. It really sets the dark tone of the album. The following tracks are a little harder and faster as they move on to “Teenage Crimewave”, which showcases some of that old school Calabrese guitar riffs and driving tempo. Still, it’s not campy and is very lyrically pleasing, a solid song from start to finish that serves as a great throw back number for them musically. The rest of the album, like I said, has some really heavy vibes of The Cult, which is a fantastic band to be compared to. “Wanted Man” is probably one of my favorite songs on the album. When I first heard it, I could practically feel it actually resonating through the speakers. In short, the whole song gives off a vibe that is just amazing and needs to be felt not heard. Some slower songs on the album, such as “Serpent Flame” and “Drift into Dust, I couldn’t really get into. I don’t mind slow songs but these just didn’t do it for me, and I skip over them. On the other hand, you, the reader, may prefer such numbers. The beauty of music is there’s always something for everyone. This album exemplifies that.
For a band that came from some punk rock, campy, horror roots, Calabrese evolved and transformed their signature sound to create something marvelous with Lust for Sacrilege , a solid album with something for everyone and really keeps you listening. I highly recommend this album, and, while you’re at it, please show Calabrese some love and pick up their other albums as well. If you have a chance to see them live, let me assure you that you should. Calabrese is something you will want to experience live, and you will not be disappointed - I promise you that.
Don’t forget to check out the official Calabrese website.
Keep it Creepy
-Schock

MUSIC REVIEW: The Music of Horror-punks.net Vol. IIII

By Shock
Horror Punk is a genre that many in the punk rock world will overlook and say, “Oh, they’re just trying to sound like the Misfits.” Coming from the heart of my being, I can say that this is not true. Yes, there are many who try. Much like any genre of music, you will have such seminal acts come around and these bands will mimic their influences heavily. However, this compilation and the compilations previous to it have proven to give the Horror Punk world a new face and a new life.
If you’re just getting into the genre, this and the previous Music of Horror-Punks.net compilations are where to start. You’ll find some acts that are well known as well as some that some of us have not heard of yet. The Horror Punk world is vast with many styles, due to the many influences from punk and metal. So now let’s break down a few of my favorite songs off of this particular album and then you’re free to download from the link that will be provided at the end of this. It’s a name-your-price type deal which is awesome for those of us on the comp, but if you wanna help out the horror-punks.net site throw a few bucks towards it. Trust me this compilation is worth every penny you put into it. Without further ado..I give to you 21 songs from the 62 track record.
Guitar iconBishop Lake – “Make You Mine”: A heavy rock and roll sound with the classic love song for stalker type quality. This song tells a story, with melodies and harmonizing that is true to the horror rock sound. This is a powerful piece that depending how you feel about someone could really work as a love song toward someone you’re stalking.
Guitar iconBloodthirsters – “Psycho City”: Campy, fun psychobilly sounding song. If you want to crawl yourself out of your grave and dance sock hop style, this one is the song for it.
Guitar iconCyclotrode X – “Killing Time”: Where Horror Punk bands pull influence from is all over the spectrum. Here’s a band with a song that really mixes it. You can hear some heavy Stooges influence as well as hints of The Exploited and some other street punk style. With a real classic sound that any one into punk rock can get down with.
Guitar iconDead End Lane – “Cat Fight”: Holy Hell! When I turned this song on, I knew it was time to get down and slam dance old school style. That’s right, this monster of a song really gritty and true to the head-climbing, stage-diving old school circle pit punk rock. This particular song is most definitely one of my favorites on the comp. A lot of what Horror Punk is about also is being all inclusive. Female vocals and female musicians are always welcomed and common here. This song really shows that off with gusto.
Guitar iconDeathwood – “Number 85”: Sing-A-Long hardcore is what I’m going to call this, an anthemesque tone with a vocalist that sounds an awful lot like Bruce Dickinson, just a splash grittier but still very impactful. Another song and band I believe everyone should be listening to. The harmonizing gang vocals really pack a punch here, as well as the music being flawlessly beautiful. You will listen and get chills, I promise you that.
Guitar iconDr. Hell – “Poison Cabinet”: I’ve been listening to this band for a while - true Horror Punks right here. Keeping to the classic punk rock sound, adding the horror flavor lyrically and visually, this is another band keeping the female musicianship in the game. Once these backups hit you’ll be like, “Oh Hell yes!” Every song they have is a hit to me. I’m glad to see them on this compilation.
Guitar iconFear Incorporated – “The Boogey Man”: This is a song, something you could really play during a Halloween mixer or in a haunted attraction and creep the hell out of people. It’s very synth-sounding and has a lot of spooky overtones and reverb that definitely is worthy of a creepy good time. On a regular basis it’s not my cup of tea, but it’s perfect for a party situation for sure.
Guitar iconGenki Genki Panic – “Two Girls One Casket”: SURF ROCK! There is nothing better than surf rock that adds horror elements. This song really had me going the whole time with no vocals, just guitar, bass, and drums. It’s a solid, reverbed surf rock number.
Guitar iconGhoultown – “I Spit on Your Grave”: Ghoultown has always been a staple in my personal collection. I forget exactly what they call their blend of cowboy horror, but I can say this old west meets slasher movie mix is amazing. This particular song is a great introduction to this band if you’ve never heard them. To add to it if you ever get a chance to see this band live, then I highly recommend you do so.
Guitar iconHaiduk – “Azyr”: This one threw me off a lot. It’s the music of Horror-Punks.net yes so there’s a lot of variety. However, thrashy death metal I was not expecting. Fast, precise, technical, brutal this is definitely an artist worth checking out if you’re really into the metal world.
Guitar iconJasonxVoorhees – “WYFSM”: Horror, Straight Edge, Hardcore. These dudes are the coolest; I’ve been friends with these guys for a while. We have done a few compilations together musically for charities, and these cats are solid good-hearted fellas for sure. This song really showcases their hard-hitting sound mixing Hardcore, Metal, and Horror to make music that is definitely worthy of listening to. You’ll really feel this band, claiming their own subcategory of all of this calling it Horror Edge!
Guitar iconJess-O-Lantern – “Corpse Revival”: More of this female flavored Horror Rock! I love this for sure. It’s upbeat, bob your head, dance around type horror rock. If you’re a fan of music at all, this is what you need to hear. I went through the Internet and found more of Jess O Lantern, and I can say it’s a solid experience.
Guitar iconMarquis DeBlood – “Death Knocks Three Times”: Woooo! This is dude has been on the scene forever with some different projects, and this, by far, is my favorite. I could listen to this song over and over and never get tired of it. There is not a single word in the whole thing, just symphonic, creepy, horrifying greatness!
Guitar iconMutant Reavers – “Blood Magic”: This band has more of that classic horror sound. With a voice that resembles early Danzig (or Samhain, if you will). Musically, if played in a live performance, I can see a crowd erupting with some old school pogo dancing and then throw down circle pit. They have a good mix in this one song, a very enjoyable band to listen to.
Guitar iconOthers – “Heart of Darkness (Tales of Dracula)”: If you’re into symphonic music with BEAUTIFUL female vocals, this is that song! Listen to this band as a whole. It’s another one I’ve been listening to for many years and even did art for them years ago. To be introduced to this band with this song is ideal. I’ve probably listened to it 9 times in a row just to soak it all in.
Guitar iconPoison Anthem – “Choke and Die”: Okay, I’ll say it again and you’ve probably figured out that I love female vocals in this particular subgenre especially. This song is amazing and another top favorite on this record. This band is front to back just solid. If you want punk rock, this is it right here. If any song gets listened to first, make it this one.
Guitar iconScanner – “Just Like Bela”: This song is a little hard to describe really. Reverby vocals and a great rock n’ roll sound coming from it. With a catchy hook, I can’t really stop listening to it. So just listen and like it.
Guitar iconScarecrow – “Horror of the Beach Party”: Another catchy tune with a super catchy sing along vibe. Imagine, if you will, Dropkick Murphys but as a Horror Punk band. This would be that band, and I checked their other songs out and they should easily be right up there on the best of the best list.
Guitar iconxSchockx – “Bloodbath Orgy”: Okay, I can’t review myself, but I have to give an honorable mention to my music. I don’t say band because it’s all just me creating what I call “HardGore” music. About the song: It is based on a couple that get pleasure from murdering people then having relations over their bodies. Sorry for the PG rating of the description.
Guitar iconSlavething – “Queen of the Dead”: HORROR PUNK 100%. Melodic, Upbeat, Great to grab a girl/guy and just start dancing to. The sound these cats put off is exactly what Horror Punk is about.
Guitar iconThe Casket Creatures – “Spirit of Vengeance”: Punk rock at its finest - harmonizing vocals that really stand out, and guitar work that is so solid you can just feel it. This one is in my top 3 for sure on the whole record, clean and crisp and Horror Punk gold.
Guitar iconVoice of Doom – “Dead Things”: Some of that Samhain flavor of Horror Punk rock goodness. An enjoyable sound that gets your head banging, then the infamous Danzig style: slow down, then speed up. It’s some good stuff for sure. Zombies, blood, and guts. Can’t beat it!
So there you have it kids. The Music of Horror-Punks.net Vol. IIII is a great record all the way through, and these are just some of my favorites from the over 62 track compilation. Each artist brings something different to the table, giving an idea that not all Horror Punk is “whoa” and horror movie references; it’s actually filled with diversity and talent. So, please check it out at The Music of Horror-Punks.net Vol. IIII.
Keep it Creepy,
-Schock

MUSIC REVIEW: Mister Monster – Over Your Dead Body (2001)

By Shock
Mister Monster - Over Your Dead Body / Image: Discog.com
For about 17 years now, Mister Monster has been a staple in the Horror Punk fan's collection. Well, to those of us who have been fortunate to hear the best horror punk album ever written. Some of the newer guys and girls to the scene have stated they do not know who Mister Monster is or what they're about. For those who may not have heard the album Over Your Dead Body, here's a little song by song write up on an album that changed the way a lot of us looked at the genre of Horror Punk.
With Over Your Dead Body, released March 19, 2001, the New Jersey-based Mister Monster set a new standard with a subdivision of Horror Punk called Boo Wop. OYDB had been anticipated for a few years and prior to its release a handful of demos and singles were released. OYDB showed people what the band was about, introduced the Boo Wop sound and style, and highlighted the outstanding musicianship of the band.
The album album opens with a track called "Weird NJ", a news report about different females named Anna or Annie around the New Jersey area who have been killed, describing in detail the different fictional (or were they?) murders and cannibalistic rituals involved. They then slide into the song "Over Your Dead Body", which alone set the standard that could have carried this band for another two decades. This song is simply the best written song from start to finish. Full of murder, love, and necrophilia, this song really gets you amped for the whole record. While not every song is as masterful as this one, it certainly sets the standard and showcased what Mister Monster was capable of.
Following this amazing opening is "Guaranteed to Bleed" which we can tell by listening has that Boo Wop sound, a nice mixture of 50s/60s doo wop and modern day punk rock. It really gave way to a sound that wasn't present in any band at the time or before. Following this was "Love Thornz" and "This Night I Call Bad Luck", two songs that I've heard some say represent their lives. "This Night I Call Bad Luck" really when you put this on you're thinking, 'Yes, Jsin, I totally feel ya, bro'. With its catchy hook, and relateable lyrics that aren't precisely horror, it's still fitting for the genre and gives us a look into the mind of Jsin Trioxin and how he sees things outside of the horror field.
Track 6, "'Til the End", is by far my favorite song on the album. This track that really gets down to business musically and with such artistry that the music pulls you in and the lyrics right away give you chills. Go ahead and listen. I promise you, this one will change the way you see things, putting images in your head instantly of what is playing out in the lyrics. It's a beautiful song that is in a classification all on its own.
From here it goes into "Murder 4 Hire", a song that is very dirty in nature, evident from the end of "'Til the End", which acts as an intro to "Murder 4 Hire". "One, two, three or four..would you like any more of my blood stained fingers inside....you". Then it goes into this completely necrophilia-driven song. And if you're REALLY into horror, use it as a get your girl in the mood song instead of something like Marvin Gaye or any other Barry White type love song. This one will do it for the punkers and metal heads. The album carries on with "Bigger Shop of Horrors" and then "Prom Night".
"Prom Night" was the first song I heard from Mister Monster when it was still a demo. Let me say Boo Wop definitely is what this song defines. Paying homage to the story Carrie, "Prom Night" brings a really classic rock n' roll vibe and makes you want to grab a girl and sock hop dance. It's such a great track that it makes you feel like you're in the song. After this is "Amy Sue", and I've had many arguments with people over this song. Personally, I don't like it. Too slow for my taste, and I could never get into it at all; however, others would say it's the best song on the record. "Teenaged Dreams" and "Tina and Freddy" follow "Amy Sue" making up for the slower vibe. "Tina and Freddy" another Return of the Living Dead reference, is very fast and almost metal in style and is for sure a head banger. Getting further into the album, "Little Frankenstein" goes back to the Boo Wop style and sucks you back in to that genre created by this band. Next is "Her Open Grave", another slower piece I usually skip because, well, I just do. I've heard it a few hundred times but still can't get into the style that it is. Some of you may feel differently, and that's cool as well.
"Gore Whore" on the other hand, which is homage to Trash from Return of the Living Dead, rocks. Something that really gets you with music is not always being able to understand the singer, so when you listen to this one and hear, "She likes to bat fuck...she's my little gore whore". You won't hear bat. So, have a chuckle at this one, a lot of us have for years. It's a solid song with a heavy overtone and is great for anyone with a dirty mind and love of zombies. Then it goes right into "Resident Evil" another metal style piece; extra fast but crooner style vocals really make this song something to remember and get stuck in your head for years.
"Dead Flesh Gurl", another necrophilia driven song, is slower but still a decent listen. Next it goes into "Transylvania Mania", something completely different. This song is that. I remember listening to a radio interview with Jsin Trioxin in which he stated he and Myke Hideous were drinking one night and laid the vocals for this one. It's not really singing at all, just random spooky nonsense.
Finally, they end the album with "Send More Paramedics". What do you know? Another Return of the Living Dead reference; however, it has nothing to do with the movie. This is a ghostly tale of sorts and pretty much a love song that is another favorite of mine on the album.
This album is solid from start to finish (evidenced by the the fact I have had 18 copies of the album and that this is the first thing I mention when anyone asks what I'm into). Lyrically, it's a magical piece. I remember a conversation I had with Jsin one night when he was playing guitar for Blitzkid and the band I was in played with them that night. I asked about a particular lyric and what it meant he said, "You take away from it what you think it means". So, unless it's a blatant reference, you will have to figure it out for yourself. Musically, this is the best album period. Hands down. No matter what genre you're into, if you're a true music fan, this is the album for you. Punk, horror, rock'n'roll, metal... this album has every bit of it blended perfectly in 19 tracks.
Some of us fans have been waiting for years to finally hear new music, and all we have been given are singles here and there and word on the street that is there is another album being made. When it is released, I'll be all over it. I can say, though, topping this album is pretty impossible. I listen to many genres and many different bands, and this one has been my favorite for a very long time. This album is number 1 on my list. If you haven't listened, then click the link below and enjoy the whole thing. If you have the opportunity to purchase the album, do so! It's money well spent, I promise you that.
Keep it Creepy,
-Schock

MUSIC REVIEW: Misfits Reunion @ Riot Fest 2016

By Shock
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Misfits 9/18/2016
Photo credit: riotfest.org
Throughout life, we all have the need to see a band that made us who we are today. Music comes to us, and speaks to something deep inside every person. No matter whom it is or what kind of music it is, music speaks to us and, I dare say, is a necessity of life in order to survive.
Some of the bands we go through in our lives stick to our souls and yet there is no chance of seeing a live performance, bands like Queen with a front man as inspirational, charismatic and amazing as Freddie Mercury. Some of us never had the pleasure and honor to see him perform with a band that changed the standard of music. That's just one example of thousands, and most of us who can bounce between genres, we also have home where we go to.
For me, home is Horror Punk and although some would say it pales in comparison to bands that can't be classified like Queen. It is still where my heart and soul have been for many years. This genre was made famous by a small little band we now know as the MISFITS, a band that has a legacy that has been undeniable for decades. So when I got the email from the Riotfest.org mailing list that was nothing more than a picture of the iconic Crimson Ghost that stated ORIGINAL MISFITS LINE UP, I may have felt my heart sink. Tears flooded my eyes, and I literally screamed. Laugh if you must, but I totally did scream in the middle of a grocery store. Looked at the email on my phone and emotion flooded me. It was like finally having a dream come true - a phrase that is often used but rarely true. We have all been hearing for over 30 years "It will never happen!" Well, it was happening, and the skeptics came out in droves to instantly try to disprove this and call it a hoax. There was not a care in the world on my end of it, I logged on right way and dropped a healthy chunk of money to purchase tickets.
One thing I know is the music industry, not the lives of the people but the industry itself, so I figured of course there had to have been a solid contract in place. So I wasn't worried like many others were, stating their past beef ruining the reunion. Now, enough of that, let's break down the show.
It was a long three days of Riot Fest in Chicago. I spent the months prior awaiting the three day festival. Of course, being into punk and metal, I attended the whole three day event, eagerly anticipating Sunday and the opportunity to witness a band that created a genre that had influenced some of the biggest names in the music world.
The energy was intense with 50,000+ people in attendance. For us into the underground music scene, most shows have maybe 500 people tops. This was the most intense experience, the stage garnished with two giant sized jack-o-lanterns from the Halloween EP cover in and, of course, numerous crimson ghosts all over the place. So once the band took stage, the audience erupted into cheers and applause and other audience noises that nearly broke the sound barrier! Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein on guitar, Acey Slade (Murderdolls, Dope, Trashlight Vision and more) on second guitar, Jerry Only on bass, Dave Lombardo (Slayer, Fantomas, Suicidal Tendencies, and more) on drums and of course the almighty Glenn Danzig on vocals.
Opening up the show with "Death Comes Ripping" - a powerful way to start off the set in my opinion, the earth shook once that first beat from Mr. Lombardo's drum intro hit. And I'm not exaggerating. The ground literally was shaking, and it was pure amazement. There was a lot going on, from the stage with the lights and screens to the crowd moving like waves; it was the time we all were waiting for and damn did it hit hard.
Some have said that Glenn sounds great, but you couldn't hear him over everyone else singing along to every single song, so I don't know what they could have been hearing honestly. The performance as a whole was very energetic and very unexpected, with all of them running about like they were 17 again and taking over the stage like kids on a play ground. This was unexpected only because the Misfits original members are a bit aged. There had been a lot of speculation from super elite fans that the performance was going to lack. However, just look at the shape they are in; there was no way it was going to be what was predicted all over the Internet. And I'm sure the energy from the insane amount of people in attendance really fueled the energy they put off. Their overall performance really was like seeing a band of younger cats doing what needs to be done to put on the best show. I have seen HUNDREDS of concerts in my time, and I can confidently say that the way they owned the stage was right up there with the hype and energy of bands like Suicidal Tendencies, AFI, Terror and other high energy bands.
The band slid effortlessly from song to song, each one an obvious classic. The vibe never drowned, and endless flashing designs played on the screen on the back of the stage. You couldn't even tell it was 10:00 PM and pitch black outside. Many have speculated what the origins are behind the songs. As fans we don't really know what the songs are truly about, so hearing straight from Danzig's mouth what "I Turned Into a Martian" was really about or how the infamous "Bullet" JFK art was created was truly a gift to any true fan.
Seeing this live took me back to the first time I heard the MISFITS as a kid, and how it was different from other punk bands. If you're not familiar with the Misfits, well you've been under a coffin far too long. They mixed the two things I love most: horror and music. This took me back to a time when everything was okay with the world and listening to your favorite band made you feel like you could do anything. Seeing them perform together live - something that will probably never happen again - made it all the more of a positive experience.
Overall, this was an amazing and a once in a lifetime event that I am very fortunate to have attended. Anyone that was there know exactly how heavy and intense it was. Everyone who had the means to make it but did not really missed out. This is your own problem. All who did not have the means, I am truly sorry that you could not make it to this historic event.
So, until next time, keep your ears to the streets. There is more horror music out there, and if you haven't heard about it yet, you will hear about it real soon.
Keep it Creepy,
-Schock

COMING SOON: Fangoria Musick – The Horde Mixtape

By John Roisland
musick

Growing up as a young horror fan, one of the first publications I remember seeing that covered the genre was, of course, Fangoria. After being around for all these years and still holding strong, they have expanded and have since opened a music department aptly named Fangoria Musick.

So when April Bedan, manager of Fangoria Musick emailed me and asked if I'd be interested in mentioning their upcoming release, I was honored.

Fangoria Musick held an open call for any interested horror themed musicians to send in the best they had. What they ended up with is going to shatter your soul!

Fangoria Musick - The Horde Mixtape Flyer

Fangoria Musick presents THE HORDE MIXTAPE. After a long list of submissions, Fangoria Musick narrowed it down to 11 very fortunate groups that I'm sure had to sell their soul and sign the deal with blood. Fangoria has said this album will cover all different genres of horror music, so whether its dark ominous or head banging thrash, I'm looking forward to it!

The musicians on THE HORDE MIXTAPE are as follows:

Fangoria Musick - Red arrow right20SIX HUNDRED

Fangoria Musick - Red arrow rightCEMETERY HIGH

Fangoria Musick - Red arrow rightSURGERY HEAD

Fangoria Musick - Red arrow rightKARDIAC

Fangoria Musick - Red arrow rightTHE CHURCH OF ZANN

Fangoria Musick - Red arrow rightGEOFF BALL

Fangoria Musick - Red arrow rightBASTARD CITY

Fangoria Musick - Red arrow rightMOJAVE PHONE BOOTH

Fangoria Musick - Red arrow rightDOWD

Fangoria Musick - Red arrow rightTHE CHOKE

Fangoria Musick - Red arrow rightBLOODSHOT

Artwork for the album cover was done by Corey Jennings of KARDIAC who is also signed to the Fangoria Musick label and who also produced and edited THE MIXTAPE video promo. Obviously a busy guy!

Set to release on July 29, 2016, Digital Downloads will be available at FANGORIA.com, while physical copies will be available at FangoriaMusick.bigcartel.com.

I'm sure this release is going to be one to add to your personal library. I, for one, cant wait to get my hands on a copy.

So stay true to the horror genre, support Fangoria and Fangoria Muisck, both online and on their Facebook and Twitter social pages. And don't forget to order your copy of THE HORDE MIXTAPE or you'll suffer eternally!

Keep It Evil.

The Haunting Sounds of CALABRESE

By John Roisland
 

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Hailing from the hot dusty plains of Phoenix, Arizona, the three blood brothers of Bobby, Jimmy and Davey Calabrese are a hard-hitting, ghoulishly-sounding, straight from the grave, in your face rock band known as Calabrese.
 
Calabrese self-released their first EP Midnight Spookshow in 2003, which brought them higher acclaim and huge positive feedback in the underground and independent music scene, and has been on the move ever since with no intention of slowing down anytime soon.
Since their first release, Calabrese, has brought us other great albums as:
 

-13 Halloweens
-The Traveling Vampire Show
-Calabrese III: They Call Us Death
-Born with a Scorpion's Touch
-Lust for Sacrilege

 
The band has once stated having been influenced by The Dead Boys, Stooges, and even Motörhead, among many others, all of which do come out within their music along with their own style and sound.
 
Calabrese's music conjures up scenes of early monster movies - a graveyard under a full moon - the feeling of Halloween in the air. Having a love for monster movies and horror from a very young age, Calabrese holds true to this in their lyrics and image.
 

Their music is tight and comes with a great production value, which is a rare treat among this style of music. Many other bands try to deliver but fall short on the sound quality. Not these guys! Even the sound samples they often use to open some songs with is all top quality. This is grade A horror rock-n-roll!
 
That leads me to what i think is the  greatest thing about Calabrese. These guys drive a horror sound with them and are they a horror band, but they are also punk, rock, rock-a-billy and more.YES THEY ARE! The boys bring you the best of it many rock genres!  Because of this, Calabrese is actually hard to narrow down and  categorize. If you run a general search online, they're called a punk band; yet if you search the music website Pandora, they're hooked up with other artists such as the The Misfits,  Blitzkid, and other horror-based bands, including many with a rockabilly style. I really admire that Calabrese doesn't limit themselves or feel that they have to live up to certain labels.
 
Don't get me wrong, they do deliver  great sounding horror rock n roll...but they reach beyond their own tombs to bring you great music!
 
Calabrese has been holding true in my top personal favorites for some time now. My only disappointment by them, was having missed them playing in Baltimore last winter, only would have been about a 30 minute drive for me. So do your self a huge favor, find out where these guys are playing, go to their show... and get me a 3X t-shirt from them... I'M NOT KIDDING!!! And while you're at it, get yourself one. Support the band, they will love you for it and you'll love the music of Calabrese!
 
Keep It Evil.

Holiday Tunes for the Horror Lover: Even Scarier Solstice

Holiday Tunes for the Horror Lover
Part 3 of 3: An Even Scarier Solstice

An Even Scarier Solstice from the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society.
An Even Scarier Solstice from the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society.

This final segment of my three part holiday tune recommendations looks at An Even Scarier Solstice, the second solstice carol album from the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society (HPLHS). Once again, the good folks at the HPLHS take themes, characters, and events from Lovecraft and Lovecraft-inspired writers, set them to traditional carol tunes, and then perform them beautifully. This album is equally as clever as its predecessor, a worthy follow up to their first foray into holiday tunes.

Here's a list of the tracks and a brief description of each:

1. "We Wish You a Scary Solstice" (1:04) Excellent way to open the album because children love the Old Ones, too!

2. "The World in Terror and Madness Lies" (3:55) It's that time of the year... time for great Cthulhu to rise!

3. "Mountains of Madness" (1:37) Why walk in just a winter wonderland when you can walk in the mountains of madness? One word: Shoggoths.

4. "A Cyclopean Tomb (Down in Deep R'lyeh)" (1:30) There's no place like home, and there's no home like R'lyeh!

5. "Death to the World" (2:02) A carol that examines the best outcome if the Old Ones come. Praise the Old Ones.

6. "Awake Ye Scary Great Old Ones" (1:30) The tale of the Old Ones to the tune of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”.

7. "Mi-Go We Have Heard on High" (1:15) What do Mi-Go want?

8. "The Shoggoth Song" (0:44) Be careful what you wish for!

9. "It's the Most Horrible Time of the Year" (1:23) Some claim this is the most wonderful time of the year, but this song reminds us why that's not so.

10. "Harley Got Devoured by the Undead" (2:52) Taking a more modern tune, this gem tells the story of the statement of Randolph Carter.

11. "It's Mi-Go!" (2:03) Mi-Go! Why DO they put our brains in cans?

12. "A Brumalian Wish" (2:10) An original tune with an excellent period feel.

13. "Look! Professor Angell Brings" (2:42) The heralding angels have nothing on Professor Angell!

14. "The Cultist Song" (2:21) A song about the cultists who work to help bring about the return of the Old Ones to the tune “Merry Christmas to You”.

15. "Death May Die" (2:35) Key parts of the Necronomicon to “Auld Lang Syne”.

16. "The Festival" (1:12) A song inviting a distant family member to partake in the ancient rites and rituals of his bloodline.

17. "Eerie Dreary Solstice" (1:22) Who wants a “Holly Jolly Christmas” when you could have an “Eerie, Dreary Solstice”?

18. "The Deep One Song (Solstice in R'lyeh)" (2:34) Deep Ones, not chipmunks, will mate with humankind on this day.

19. "The Worst Hotel" (2:15) Our narrator was less than satisfied with his Innsmouth accomodations.

20. "Unholy Night" (5:01) Another song about the coming of the Old Ones because there can't be too many songs about the main prophecy in the Cthulhu mythos.

21. "We Three Friends of H.P.L. Are" (6:24) Robert E. Howard, Clark Ashton Smith, and Robert Bloch sing the praises of H.P. Lovecraft and his extraordinary imagination.

22. "Blue Solstice" (2:40) Elvis (or an celebrity sound alike) mourns a solstice without Cthulhu.

23."Go Summon Up the Dead Ones" (2:58) Celebrate your ancestors, but oh so carefully – unless you want to die.

An Even Scarier Solstice is the second of two original Lovecraftian-themed holiday albums from the folks at HPLHS. As with the first CD, An Even Scarier Solstice can be purchased from the online store.

An Unbearably Scary Solstice
An Unbearably Scary Solstice

If you want an extraordinarily special solstice treat, the HPLHS has a bargain double header with A Very Scary Solstice and An Even Scarier Solstice bundled with their songbooks and packaged lovingly in a collectible tentacle stocking that even has room for more stocking stuffers. This treat, commonly known as An Unbearably Scary Solstice, can be purchased here.

10/10 – More top notch Lovecraftian holiday music!

Holiday Tunes for the Horror Lover: Very Scary Solstice

Holiday Tunes for the Horror Lover
Part 2 of 3: A Very Scary Solstice

A Very Scary Solstice from the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society.
A Very Scary Solstice from the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society.

Part two of this three part holiday tune recommendations looks at A Very Scary Solstice from the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society (HPLHS). The HPLHS take themes, characters, and events from Lovecraft and Lovecraft-inspired writers, set them to traditional carol tunes, and then sing with some of the most beautiful voices I've heard on any serious holiday album. It's not just a witty and clever album, it's an album that can be enjoyed everywhere.

Here's a list of the tracks and a brief description of each:

1. "Have Yourself a Scary Little Solstice" (2:30) The dark and drear of midwinter celebrated to the tune of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”.

2. "Freddy the Red Brained Mi-Go" (1:24) This little ditty drops Rudolph in favor of the squishier, yet vastly more talented Mi-Go.

3. "The Great Old Ones Are Coming To Town" (1:11) Why worry about Santa coming to town? The Old Ones will probably just devour him anyway.

4. "The Carol of the Old Ones" (1:16) Actual lyrics to the misnamed “Carol of the Bells”.

5. "Silent Night, Blasphemous Night" (2:12) When it's so quiet that you can hear the horror taking hold.

6. "Awake Ye Scary Great Old Ones" (1:30) The tale of the Old Ones to the tune of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”.

7. "Mi-Go We Have Heard on High" (1:15) What do Mi-Go want?

8. "The Shoggoth Song" (0:44) Be careful what you wish for!

9. "It's the Most Horrible Time of the Year" (1:23) Some claim this is the most wonderful time of the year, but this song reminds us why that's not so.

10. "Es Y'Golonac" (1:21) To the tune of “Feliz Navidad” we learn that he has orifices on his hands. Orifices.

11. "Away in a Madhouse" (1:14) Locked away in a madhouse needn't be a bad thing.

12. "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Fishmen" (1:42) Nothing smells more like Christmas than fishmen.

13. "I Saw Mommy Kissing Yog-Sothoth" (1:18) Why in the world would Mommy kiss Santa with Yog-Sothoth around? Exactly.

14. "Oh Come All Ye Old Ones" (1:28) Another tune addressing the true meaning of the season by calling for the Old Ones to rise.

15. "I'm Dreaming of a Dead City" (3:15) Not dead but dreaming.

16. "Dance the Cultists" (1:01) There's room for everyone around the cultists' fire!

17. "He'll Be Back for Solstice" (1:50) Never stop dreaming.

18. "Mythos of a King" (2:08) Celebrating the vast and insane world Lovecraft discov- , uhm, created.

19. "Here Comes Yog-Sothoth" (0:23) It's not over until Yog-Sothoth sings.

20. "Little Rare Book Room" (3:17) Who doesn't love a good book? Or an evil one?

21. "Demon Sultan Azathoth" (1:01) Lovely redo of “Good King Wenceslas” only creepier.

22. "Tentacles" (1:21) Silver bells? Only if they're on the end of tentacles!

23. "Do You Fear What I Fear?" (1:39) Another fine carol, this one tracking the fear from inception to reader.

24. "Cthulhu Lives!" (0:47) In case you were concerned.

25. "Oh Cthulhu" (3:21) Chorus celebrating the god, the priest, the legend: Cthulhu.

A Very Scary Solstice is the first of two original Lovecraftian-themed holiday albums from the folks at HPLHS. It comes with a songbook with information about each tune as well as lyrics to enable you to sing along.

I really cannot praise this album enough. I listen to it all year.

A Very Scary Solstice can be purchased from the H.P. Lovecraft Historical society store

10/10 – Top notch holiday music with brilliant Lovecraftian themes!

Holiday Tunes for the Horror Lover: Scary Little Christmas

Holiday Tunes for the Horror Lover
Part 1 of 3: Have Yourself A Scary Little Christmas

Tales from the Crypt: Have Yourself a Scary Little Christmas
Tales from the Crypt: Have Yourself a Scary Little Christmas

As December rolls on more winter holidays overtake us, some might like to bust out holiday tunes with a bit of a macabre and maniacal bent than is offered from mass-marketed traditional holiday tunes. Three holiday favorites around our house are Have Yourself a Scary Little Christmas a 1994 release from Tales from the Crypt, A Very Scary Solstice, and An Even Scarier Solstice 2003 and 2006 releases from the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society. These three beauties are must-haves for the lover of horror holiday carols.

This first of three reviews examines Have Yourself a Scary Little Christmas, a wonderfully creepy featuring carols sung by the Cryptkeeper (John Kassir), from traditional tunes to a Christmas rap, and each song is guaranteed to amuse horror lovers in every home. Here's a list of the tracks and a brief description of each:

1. Intro to album (0:51) Exactly what it sounds like.
2."Deck The Halls With Parts of Charlie" (1:55) The joys of using body parts to “Deck the Halls”.
3. "Juggle Bills" (3:17) Santa's not going to "Jingle Bells" this season.
4. "We Wish You'd Bury the Misses" (2:20) Christmas present for self interferes with property values.
5. "Moe Teitlebaum" (2:32) What's more Christmassy than embalming? (To the tune "O Tannenbaum"/"O Christmas Tree")
6. A Christmas Card for the Cryptkeeper (0:51) Spoken Christmas poem from Hannibal the Cannibal.
7. "Christmas Rap" (3:22) Rappin' to “Jolly Ol' St. Nicholas”, the Cryptkeeper outlines the gifts he would like for Santa to brin his creepy friends.
8. Intro to Cryptkeeper's Family Christmas (0:32) Exactly what it sounds like.
9. "Cryptkeeper's Family Christmas" (2:03) The Cryptkeeper describes holiday dinner with his family to the tune of “Good King Wenceslas".
10. "T'was the Fright Before Christmas" (3:55) The Cryptkeeper reads his own version of “'Twas the Night Before Christmas”.
11. "Twelve Days of Cryptmas" (3:42) What can you get your love this Cryptmas?
12. Intro to Revenge of the Cryptkeeper (0:24) Exactly what it sounds like.
13. "Revenge of the Cryptkeeper" (2:18) To the tune of “Up on the Housetop”, The Cryptkeeper describes his dream of stopping Santa's giving spree.
14. "Have Yourself a Scary Little Christmas" (2:21) Homey story of a man who does anything to get home for Christmas (over the Cryptkeeper singing to the tune of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”).
15. "Should Old Cadavers Be Forgot" (3:38) The Cryptkeeper ushers out the old year with a cadaverous parody of “Auld Lang Syne”.

Have Yourself a Scary Little Christmas comes with an exclusive Christmas comic and can be enjoyed throughout the holiday season and all year long! If you're lucky, one of the copies available on Amazon will still be available when you read this...

8/10 – Fun for young and old!

Movie Review: Maniacts

Just Two Crazy Kids In Love

By Woofer McWooferson

Writer and Director: Curt Cressler (as C.W. Cressler); Stars: Jeff Fahey, Kellie Waymire; Rating: R; Run Time: 92 min; Genre: Action | Comedy | Drama | Horror; Country: USA; Language: English; Year: 2001

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While IMDb classifies Maniacts only as Action | Comedy | Drama, I've taken the liberty of adding horror because it touches on our genre as well as any of the categories they assigned it. Sometimes compared to Natural Born Killers, Maniacts is one of those rare gems the dedicated horror fan finds by accident. Loosely the story of two serial killers who fall in love while both are in the Edgemare Institute for the Criminally Insane, Maniacts is a dark comedic commentary on the treatment of the mentally ill and society in general. Written and directed by Curt Cresslar (as C.W. Cressler), Maniacts also questions what is sane and insane, noting that “being good and doing what's right, they aren't always the same thing”.

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Joseph “Joe” Spinelli (Jeff Fahey) is dubbed the Blueblood Killer for his having killed only members of elite society, arrives at Edgemare where Elizabeth “Beth” Windsor (Kellie Waymire) is already incarcerated. Known as the Hitch-Hiker Killer, Beth becomes amazingly strong when she is angered – strong enough to snap a man's neck - feat that Joe finds entrancing and endearing. Reaching out to Joe, Beth shows appreciation for the shock value of Joe's pranks, seeing a touch of the artisit in his handiwork and attention to detail. Although his stunts land him in solitary, Joe finds them rewarding enough to continue since Beth appreciates them as much as he loves doing them. 

Beth, meanwhile, has to reconcile herself regarding Joe. As she finds herself interested in him, Beth asks him if he has killed any actually bluebloods. Believing herself to be a descendant of Queen Elizabeth, it would be unthinkable of her to continue associating with Joe if he had killed actual bluebloods. Lucky for both of them, he had not, and the two are free to continue their budding relationship. Even luckier, they have a friend inside an otherwise completely corrupt asylum. Mason (Mel Winkler), an ex-felon asylum attendant, sees what the rest of the staff cannot or do not want to see: the sadistic methods of the matron and her staff of bullies are destroying any chance that these – and any of the other – inmates have.

Jeff Fahey is always good, regardless of the genre, and he excels in this multi-faceted piece. We laugh with him, we cry for him, and we want to help him. No matter what he goes through, we cannot help but feel for him. Kellie Waymire as Beth is enchanting. Small, perky, happy, thoughtful, and charismatic, Beth is the perfect partner for softspoken Joe. Leslie Easterbrook (Police Academy) plays the inmate's matron with a quite a bit of a nod to Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher) in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Matron Knull, however, is more of a caricature of Louise Fletcher's Nurse Ratched allowing us to laugh in a way that Ratched could not. There was no comedy there; only brutal reality.

Matron Knull is assisted in her sadistic handling of the day-to-day operations of the asylum by her questionable staff, the appropriately named Bull (Bob Koherr) and Carp (Simon Brooke). Meanwhile, the director, Dr. Denton Speck (Bob Bancroft), is more than happy to allow Knull to run the place as it leaves him open to pursue his political aspirations. When things take a turn for the truly dark, Mason is unable to continue to allow the corruption he sees and helps Joe escape. Everything changes when Joe returns for Beth.

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While it is not strictly horror by any means, Maniacts manages to portray the horror of contemporary society with humor, poignancy, drama, and a bit of action. Maniacts is a dark comedy, heady and worth watching more than twice.

NOTE: There is an edited version without the blood. Do not watch that one.

7/10 claws – Dedicated to actor Joe Spinell.

MUSIC REVIEW (RETRO): Demon Knight Soundtrack

By Nick Durham

demon knight

Has it really been 20 years since Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight first came out? It's hard to believe that it's really been that damn long. It's even harder to believe that Tales from the Crypt has been off the air for almost that long as well. With all that in mind, Tales from the Crypt has always held a special place in my heart. The TV show itself was basically my own personal introduction to horror in my youth, and while I still enjoy Demon Knight to this very day, it's the film's soundtrack that has resonated with me even more so than the actual film.

Like how the show was an introduction of sorts for me to the horror realm, the soundtrack to Demon Knight was an introduction for me to metal music that wasn't somehow related to Ozzy Osbourne or Metallica. This was the first time that I can remember hearing Pantera, Ministry, Megadeth, and others that would continue to resonate with me as I got older, and helped mold my love of the metal genre. Even though most of the tracks featured here are from previously released material from their respective artists, they all manage to fit the atmosphere not only of the film, but of the comic book horror lunacy of Tales from the Crypt as a whole.

Opening track "Cemetery Gates" is a classic single from Pantera's "Cowboys from Hell", only here we get an edited take on it that shaves about a minute and a half off the run time. Ministry's "Tonight We Murder" is lovely, while Machine Head's "My Misery" seems to be an original track provided for the film. Megadeth's "Diadems" sounds like a B-side from the "Rust in Peace"/"Symphony of Destruction" era, and Melvins provides "Instant Larry", which is pretty damn kicking.

The legendary Henry Rollins is here with Rollins Band (who else would he be with?) providing "Fall Guy", which isn't really anything special in all honesty, but Biohazard's "Beaten" and Sepultura's "Policia" more than make up for it and make me want to smash my head into a wall in a good way. Filter is here with the only song they're known for besides that fucking annoying ass "take my picture" song from the end of the century, with "Hey Man, Nice Shot", which may be about Kurt Cobain or Bud Dwyer. Take your pick. Finally the soundtrack ends with the lone hip-hop track here, "1-800-SUICIDE" by Gravediggaz. I've never been into hip-hop too much, but this song is wonderful. Not to mention the fact that I can still recite the whole thing word for word to this day.

In closing, the Demon Knight soundtrack may appear to be nothing special at first glance, but for those that were around when all this originally hit, it will hold a special place in your heart. I still listen to many of the songs featured here to this very day, and because of this soundtrack, it helped me discover so much wonderful music as the years would go on. Maybe I'm talking it up a bit more than what it's worth because of the sake of nostalgia, but I can't help myself. It was special to me then, and it's special to me now. Check it out if you never have before.

Rating: 4/5

MUSIC REVIEW: The Body and Blood of Ghost

By Amy Mead

When Swedish metal band Ghost first hit the scene, I was a bit behind the times and it took me a while to jump on the Ghost train. But when I finally did, I was legitimately blown away, making me wonder what the hell had taken me so damn long. And why had no one told me how fucking awesome they are?!

Almost immediately, I was hooked. Within a few days of my introduction to their music, I had the EP If You Have Ghost and both albums, Opus Eponymous and Infestissumam, in my ready and eager hands. I have never regretted the purchases, and I am anxiously and impatiently awaiting their latest offering Meliora, which is being released on August 21st.

ghost-bc-dave-grohlThere are very few bands that evoke such a wide range of emotions in me when I listen to them. Ghost is one of those bands. There are two songs in particular on the album Infestissumam, "Monstrance Clock" and "Year Zero", that literally give me goosebumps and the melodies often ring in my head for days after each listen. I listened to these CDs so much that even my family got in on the action, and we are now ALL Ghost fans. Even my ten year old!

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Ghost has a variety of different sounds, which is one of the things I love about their music. Even with the heavy Satanic overtones and mockery of the Roman Catholic Church and The Holy Trinity being a constant theme in their music, every song is different from the last. The albums all sound quite different from each other. Their EP If You have Ghost has an amazing cover of Abba's "I'm a Marrionette" that I just love. Yes, I said it. There is no point where it gets repetitive or boring and I can listen to each one without skipping a single track. Often. There aren't many albums I can do that with. Listening to the them from start to finish has never been a problem for me at all. The same cannot be said even for some of my favorite bands.

Opus EponymousThough their music may not be considered very technically challenging by some, there is something about their sound that just does it for me. Sometimes melancholic yet somehow upbeat, the tempos and the pace are always changing. Each of their albums evokes a different response from me at different times. Each listen is a new experience for me and for me, personally, that is the true test of music. If it makes me feel something, I am all about it.

I'm not sure that I could choose a favorite from their body of work because there is plenty to love from each offering. However, I am strangely fond of the EP, which consists of mostly cover songs. I mean, who knew Abba could sound like that? That being said, Infestissumam is the one found in the CD player most often, but they are all equally badass and even the artwork for each album is fantastic! You can tell that Ghost consists of horror fans, which makes me like them even more.

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I listen to Ghost, any of it, and I begin to feel cleansed, purified, relaxed and often renewed in the process, which is kind of a nice change of pace for a metal girl such as myself. As someone who often uses squealing guitars, blast beats, and death metal vocals to calm down, it is somewhat refreshing to say the least. Sometimes a girl just needs to relax in a calm sort of manner and not be screamed at while she does it, ya know? Not that there's anything wrong with that, but sometimes a change up can be a good thing.

If you've not given Ghost a chance yet, I urge you to do so immediately. I can't promise you that you'll like them as much as I do, but I would feel somehow remiss if I didn't share the listening pleasure that is Ghost with all of you. I have found their entire body of work thus far incredible and I wish someone had turned me onto them sooner.

Overall I give Ghost a 9/10.