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MUSIC: Sinister Fate – Blood Pact (2016)

MUSIC: Sinister Fate – Blood Pact (2016)

Horror rock is still kickin’ these days. For the longest time, it was all I ever knew and by far the most fun subgenre of punk and metal. Nothing was off limits in horror rock, and what made it more of a fun time than most other genres was the actual all-inclusiveness of everyone. Not saying other genres/subs don’t. You go to a hardcore, metal or OG punk show, you’ll see 90% white males…even though we don’t hate…that’s what’s there…the other 10% is scattered among women as well as other ethnicities so with horror rock/punk how it differs is a wide rainbow of a crowd as well as on stage. Did you know there are also Christian horror punk bands? That’s…odd. Yes, it is; however, it’s a testament (no pun intended) to how this particular subgenre is pretty open to anything. I guess no more odd than Christian black metal now that I think about it, but we’ll discuss that later.

The Chicago-area band Sinister Fate came to us with their album BLOOD PACT. I didn’t listen to the album at first; I did a little research on the band and watched some videos. My first impression was far from what I normally get from horror bands. Their videos are very reminiscent of the 90s style Gwar videos. Ya know, handheld shaky camera, choppy editing, Tromaesque splatter effects. So I instantly fell in love with this style. I also was impressed that there are female participants in the band. Again, this is rare for a lot of other genres but in horror rock, it’s very normal.

What really sealed this band for me was the guitarist. This chick really wails on this thing. Her playing is absolutely amazing, from just riffs down to solos. She really takes it and shows what’s up with guitar playing.

The music begins and this is definitely horror rock. BLOOD PACT is just an EP-style, 6-track short album. However, it gives you what you need to know about this band. The album as a whole is executed beautifully. I can say that if you’re a fan of any horror business, then this is a band to definitely check out.
Sinister Fate - Blood Pact
Track by Track (not in order as they appear on the album):

  • The Monster Within: This track is like a solid break down style track, a lot of palm muting and kind of a slower pace. However, it gets the point across on what the song’s feel is all about. Lyrically very dark, and a nice look into the writer’s head, that guitar solo though…Just listen and enjoy this.
  • Trust/Obey: Another slower, heavier/slow paced track. Vocally reminiscent of older Frankenstein Drag Queens, lyrically super intense and “demanding”…yeah we’ll say demanding. Very catchy and fun.
  • Decay: Starts out very spooky sounding musically, almost like they’re going for an epic battle in a back alley. Not like “Beat It” style, but more like A Clockwork Orange vs. The Warriors type of battle. Then carries on in the same fashion, maybe my imagination just sees images too much I don’t know, but this is what I get from it.
  • Kill the Pain: I don’t care, I love this guitarist. This track is pretty straightforward, I listen to lyrics and wonder if there’s more of a personal meaning behind them or if someone is just trying to fit the genre. However, it sounds very personal and has the same feeling through the music.
  • Six Feet Under the Big Top: Oh circus style and creepy on the intro, then some crunchy heavy stuff happening. A very cool number that, tells a fun story of murder and mayhem
  • Sympathy from the Devil: A more upbeat almost poppy tone with this song, and catchy as all hell, If you’re going to listen to this band then listen to this song first.

Overall, BLOOD PACT is great to listen to, the band as a whole are all talented and know their stuff very well. About the album: It runs together from track to track a lot of them being so similar it’s hard to tell them apart musically and vocally. By this I mean, musically it’s the same arrangement, not the same notes and so forth but the same blueprint for each track. Vocally flows the same way, same influx like before a chorus and so forth notes carried out, blah blah musical mumbo jumbo. This works well for some bands, and if it works don’t fix it, is the common consensus. However, I can see a lot more coming from this band maybe some faster tunes and a bit of a change in arrangement from track to track. This would really send this band into outer space and put them up there in the horror world.

Sinister Fate - band


Posted by Schock in MUSIC REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
Joe Becker-Monster

Joe Becker-Monster

Another artist of the underground world got with us and wanted us to hear what they have to offer. Remember in my last review I stated that the underground is home to me, so I love seeing new faces and hearing new and original works.

A fellow by the name of Joe Becker got with us here at House of Tortured Souls with an album Monster that he described as Death Rock. This is an honest description and I respect that, I’d call it something like mind fuckery rock…and here is why.

The album as a whole is well produced musically, not a lot of vocal singing, but plenty of vocal dialog and storytelling over an accompanying musical background like a narrative. Joe’s way of interpreting what he’s got going on is like listening to the thoughts of an asylum inmate’s thoughts or better yet, what this inmate did to get where he is.

Each track is like a tale of a different victim and how they either asked to be murdered or just how this absolute insane person took it upon themselves to give the victim a release from life. Going into this being told it was death rock. I was expecting something with a lot of synthesizer, deep Peter Steele style vocals and a lot of vampiric sex. However, I was surprised at what I did here. As I said, each track is slightly different from the next on the tales told within them.

A few pointers to note: where Mr. Becker does sing or attempt to do so, it was a bit off key from the music and that very well could have been the intent. If not the intent, then this did not work out as planned. I feel like this record is fine how it is with the narrative style of vocalizing the poetic, goth, yet murderous lyrics. However, if singing is something you want to achieve on a record..for anyone..find that note you’re on and match your voice to it. I am NO singing vocalist…I yell fast and violently. However, when I do make my attempts at singing I hit that first note on the guitar and find it in my voice before carrying on.

Overall this is a great album to listen to if you really want to fuck someone up…keep it low in the background while friends are over just to fuck with their heads a bit. They will hear music and be like, “okay, whatever”, then dude starts in on his vocal track and it will subliminally mess them up, probably cause a nightmare or three. Another option, any one of these tracks will be good to send as a single (oh..oh showing what time period I’m from, yo) to basically say “I hate you, and this will happen if you contact me again”.

I highly recommend listening to this record at least once even if just for curiosity. It’s not something I’d recommend for driving, jamming out to or if you’re suicidal or a sociopath. For fun and “horror on tape” kinda deal, then definitely have a go at it.

Posted by Schock in MUSIC REVIEWS, 1 comment
Scott Andersen – Horror Artist

Scott Andersen – Horror Artist

Some of the horror world gets overlooked by the masses. We all see the movies promoted heavily and the occasional book promoted heavily music also gets in there every so often depending on the name behind the band. Something that flies under the radar to the mainstream world is the horror fine arts.
There’s a few of us out here still pushing the pencils, brushes and other classic ways of making visual works of horror that bring joy to the hearts of this community. With the age of digital everything, the ways of traditional arts have gone by the wayside, again though there’s a few of us out here that as artists we need traditional to keep us sane. Sure digital is fun and easy and at our fingertips, but if you’re an artist you know the feeling it is to pick up a pencil and put it to paper, or a paintbrush to canvas. I’m not discrediting digital artists at all, but the traditional artist is still alive in all of us, some just lost it. Others, though, keep it thriving and one gentleman and a great friend of mine I’ll be talking with today is Scott Andersen.
Scott uses the pencils, pens, markers, paints, airbrush…etc etc etc. The ways of the old to do the art he does, as well as utilizing digital rendering for certain aspects, however, it is important to note that this guy although a jack of all trades, is a master with a good ole fashion number 2 pencil if that’s all he has.

Horror heroes - Artist: Scott Anderson

House of Tortured Souls: When you started drawing what made you pick up the pencil?
Scott Anderson: I just always loved drawing and painting. I took some art classes early on but mostly taught myself. I remember spending hours watching Bob Ross on TV. I even bought one of his painting sets….most of my trees never came out quite as happy as his. Art was and always will be a huge piece of my life.

Lemmy of Motörhead - Artist: Scott Anderson

HoTS: Who have been the biggest inspiration/inspirations on your work?
SA: That’s a tough one. I think I really draw inspiration from all the artists I see. When I see an artist’s work that I love I try and take a little bit away from it that will help me push myself to be a better artist. Two artists that come to mind right away are Alex Ross and Nathan Thomas Milliner. Two great artists that always inspire me with their work. I think the trap that many artists fall into is seeing another artists work and comparing themselves to that artist. I have learned over the years that you can only compare your work to what you have done in the past.
HoTS: When I’m drawing if I’m not feeling it, I just don’t touch the pencil until it’s absolutely right I feel like it’s forced. Do you feel the same about it, or just pick up and go with it?
SA: I have been trying lately to draw, paint or do something creative every day. There are times where I don’t feel inspired or I just really need a break. I find that if I sit down to draw and it feels like a chore than maybe the time isn’t right. I have a tendency to want to try any and every kind of medium I can get my hands on which means I usually have at least two or three projects going on at a time.

The Periodic Table of Horror Movies - Artist: Scott Anderson

HoTS: I have seen many of your works and have loved them all, even the sports figures. The execution was spot on. So out of all the years you’ve been at this, what is your favorite piece?
SA: Oh boy…that is like asking me who’s my favorite member of Nickelback ( just kidding). Every piece that I create is special to me in one way or another. The pieces that I love the most are ones where I try new techniques or new medium or where I push myself to try something I have never done before. I have been working with black and white colored pencils on toned paper lately and I really love the results. If I had to pick on or two I would say [The] Periodic Table of Horror Movies and the custom Fright Night shoes I painted.

Fright Night shoes - Artist: Scott Anderson

Owner of Fright Night shoes - Artist: Scott Anderson

HoTS: When you started the Horror Artist Group on Facebook.com did you think it would ever grow to the numbers it has?
SA: It really has grown beyond what I ever thought it would. I started the group not only as a way for artists to share their work in a positive environment but also as a way for them to network and get feedback from other artists. For me, it has been a great place to share my work and I have also met some really great people. One of the coolest things was hooking up with Erica and Zack from Atomic Cotton and having one of my designs printed on a shirt. The networking for me is just as important as being able to share my work.
HoTS: Did you ever think the group would attract the attention of some of the bigger name artists that are in the group?
SA: Are you kidding me? I was surprised that I wasn’t the only member of the group! I feel that every artist in that group is amazing and if we can pull in some big name artists well even better!

Blondie - Artist: Scott Anderson

HoTS: How do you feel about the way sites like RedBubble and TeePublic are for the independent artist community?
SA: For me, it has been amazing. I have had great success on both sites. They are a great means of exposure and can really bring in some great revenue. It makes me happy to see so many people buying my work. Unfortunately, there can be a downside to these sites as well. With the ease of these sites also comes the ability for some folks out there to blatantly steal other artists work and pass it off as their own. I think that if used correctly and if the company is legitimate than it is a great tool for any artist.

Bride of Frankenstein - Artist: Scott Anderson

HoTS: Do you feel horror art should have a spot with the likes of music, comics, and movies? Or should it stay low key as it has for the longest time?
SA: I don’t think it’s a matter of being low key, I think that the horror genre itself has always struggled to be recognized. I feel that great art is great art no matter the theme. There are some great horror artists like Basil Gogos, H.R. Giger, and Bernie Wrightson who helped to push horror artwork into the mainstream. Horror and dark subject matter have always been an influence in art even going as far back as artists like Caravaggio and Albrecht Durer. Go back and look at their work…that is some creepy shit! I think the important thing is to put out great artwork. That is how we as artists can push horror artwork to the forefront.
HoTS: Horror Conventions are a hot spot for artists to sell prints and things. How do you see this helps the art world? Or is it something more of a competition between artists?
SA: Conventions are a tricky subject. I haven’t had the opportunity to vend at a convention, but many of my artist friends have stopped going to conventions for a number of reasons. The fees are getting higher and higher, and with so many different vendors and with celebrities charging more and more for autographs it seems that people have less to spend on merchandise. You really need to stand out with your work if you are going to make any money at a convention. It is a great place, however, to get your name out and network with other artists. I feel that you have to go to a convention with very low expectations.
HoTS: You’re a huge advocate against artists stealing others work. How does it make you feel when you’re at a convention and you see someone selling multiple prints of movie posters, but then see fellow independent artists work in their collection?
SA: Anyone who steals someone else’s work is NOT an artist. They are purely and simply a thief. The advent of social media has really made it easy for people to steal artists work and hard for artists to crackdown on art thieves. Unfortunately, stolen artwork has become almost the norm. I think the real solution to the problem is for fellow artists to work as a group and call out thieves when they find them. There is power in numbers.

Vincent Price - Artist: Scott Anderson

HoTS: You use many mediums to make your work. Do you feel like an endangered species of sorts because it’s mostly traditional methods?
SA: I don’t think so. Good art is good art no matter if it is traditional or digital. I have done a few pieces digitally and I really enjoyed it. For me, it is all about pushing myself to try new areas and new mediums. Being able to work digitally makes me a more well-rounded artist. I love trying things that I am uncomfortable with. It makes me work harder and is really satisfying in the end. With that being said I have seen some folks who take a photo, throw a couple filters on it in Photoshop and call it art. There is no skill or artistic ability in that.
HoTS: Which is your favorite medium?
SA: I will always love graphite. It is how I started. I have recently started working with colored pencils, and I want to try to get back into mask making which is something that I have always loved but haven’t done in years.
HoTS: Over the years being friends with you, I’ve seen a lot of fantastic ideas come from your work. What drives these ideas?
SA: The countless voices in my head!! Honestly, I get my ideas from many different places. Many times other artists work will inspire me to come up with cool ideas, other times I just get bursts of inspiration. I have a black composition book that I carry with me that I write down all my ideas as they come to me so I won’t forget anything.

Kurt Cobain - Artist: Scott Anderson

HoTS: Going back to the Horror Artists group, do you feel that group has helped you grow as an artist? Do you feel it’s helped the community of lowly horror artists grow themselves?
SA: I think that our little group has had a great effect on everyone. I know for me personally, it has been a great source of inspiration. I have seen some really fantastic pieces. What really makes me proud is the fact that it really is a judgment-free zone. Members can post their work without worrying about bullying or abusive comments. I run a pretty tight ship. If you can’t play by the rules then you are gone. As I mentioned before it really is nice that I have been able to meet so many great artists.

- Artist: Scott Anderson

HoTS: Any advice for aspiring young or even older artists that want to get their name out?
SA: My biggest advice is to never underestimate, or undervalue yourself. There will be artists out there that you feel are better than you are but always remember that there is someone else out there who looks up to you and your work. Also, keep pushing yourself to try new things and challenge yourself. Surround yourself with positive people and above all NEVER work for free. Your time and talent is worth the money!

The Omen lunchbox - Artist: Scott Anderson

 

It’s been a great pleasure knowing this fine gentleman of an artist for the past few years, and actually digging deeper into this creative mind has also been something completely awesome. If anything can be taken from this, is that keeping art alive and bringing back to the forefront of the horror world the art and the magic that it brings. Movies are cool, music is cool, but let’s face it. Looking at a finely drawn picture of either an original design or someone’s unique take on a beloved character really makes you smile inside.

H.P. Lovecraft's Re-Animator lunchbox - Artist: Scott Anderson

Posted by Schock in ART AND VENDORS, 0 comments
Slayer…The Grand Finale!

Slayer…The Grand Finale!

For the last 37 years, the music world has changed dramatically in many aspects and it can be said without a doubt that there is one band that has touched all of us in the world. As a music fan of every sort, I have studied the likes of Chuck Berry, Alice Cooper, Tommy James and the Shondells, Black Sabbath, Motley Crue, Ramones, Sex Pistols and beyond. Music has always been important to me and something that keeps the world ticking. One band though that has changed the way we look at music in the metal, punk, and underground genres that everyone has pulled inspiration from is the almighty SLAYER.

Slayer Group

It was announced this morning that Slayer would be doing one last tour this year, which we announced earlier this month. With Anthrax, Testament, Behemoth and Lamb of God and then that is it for a band that for nearly 40 years has not only stayed true to their sound they have inspired many metal and punk acts across the world. Leaving a legacy that will be remembered throughout time.

Slayer Tour image

On May 2, 2013, original founding member and guitarist Jeff Hanneman passed away from cirrhosis of the liver. Jeff Hanneman For a lot of us in the metal world, this was it for Slayer. However, they pressed on with Gary Holt of Exodus fame.Gary Holt He was a worthy — stand-in  we will never say replacement due to Jeff Hanneman’s signature style of playing it could not be matched. Slayer has gone, now this will be the 5th year with Holt on guitar, releasing Repentless on September 11, 2015, Slayer showed the world that they still have what it takes to be the best thrash metal band of all time. Also, past drummer and original founder of the band, Dave Lombardo has gone on to do so many different projects such as Suicidal Tendencies, Dead Cross and of course taking the throne for the Misfits on these past 4 performances. Slayer’s legacy is something more than just who’s in the band now but the musical genius of Dave Lombardo and his influence from being in Slayer and beyond.

Repentless Album Cover

Touring non-stop and hardly ever taking a break, this album will sadly be their last as well as this tour being the last for the band. We are sad, yes, but here’s something to remember: although we see them as gods and heroes, they are after all humans with families and lives outside of the limelight. So let us rejoice and celebrate with a band that has changed our lives, a band that has set the standard for how not to sell out your sound.

Say what you want about Slayer, and about thrash metal, but we cannot deny the influence and the impact overall that this band has had on the world of music from thrash to punk to hardcore to death metal to speed metal… and the list goes on. Slayer will not only go out this year with one of the best lineups of any tour. They will go out as legends, with music that will withstand the test of time. In 60 years, people will look back on music history and see that Slayer was a force to be reckoned with. All of the fans, the bands they’ve influenced, and believe this or not..the lives they’ve saved. Yes, I said it. Slayer saves lives. We will miss the live performance and any future records. However, it’s all for the best, and that’s what matters here.

From all of us here at House of Tortured Souls, Slayer we will be seeing you on this final tour and bid you all the best for the remainder of your lives for you and your families.

Posted by Schock in EDITORIALS, OBITUARY, 0 comments
HORROR NEWS: Balsac the Jaws of Death plagued with Myelofibrosis

HORROR NEWS: Balsac the Jaws of Death plagued with Myelofibrosis

The last few years for the shock rock/metal band Gwar has not been all the best in the way of luck. However, we can say that Gwar though will keep on despite what’s been thrown at them making them, by far, the strongest band in the galaxy.
In 2011, Gwar guitarist Cory Smoot, known by his stage name Flattus Maximus, was found deceased of a heart attack while on tour. Then, in 2014, the greatest frontman to ever take the stage Dave Brockie, known to Gwar fans as Oderus Urungus was found dead in his room, due to a heroin overdose. None of this stopped Gwar from carrying on. One thing that they have always done, is kept going despite the odds. Flattus was replaced by Pustulus Maximus, and Oderus role was filled by Blothar which was the original Beefcake The Mighty. Gwar has been through a few changes over the 30+ years of their time on earth. Now, faced with not another change, but another medical issue within the band's members.
Mike Derks aka Balsac the Jaws of Death is facing a disease called myelofibrosis which is a bone marrow disorder that causes the body’s blood cells to not produce properly. This may have come as a surprise to most people. I know for sure it did for me, I got to see Gwar perform on the warped tour, and Balsac was not on a few dates due to this disease causing him great pain and other physical issues. I was wondering why I didn’t see him on stage, and now I understand.
Over the next several months, Derks will be undergoing some major medical treatment, including blood transfusions, constant monitoring, and eventually a bone marrow transplant in which chemotherapy will be administered to rid the body of the diseased marrow, and then the good marrow put in. None of this monitoring and the transfusion of blood will stop Derks or Gwar, as he is still going on tour with the band this fall/winter and will be utilizing various hospital organizations across the country to monitor his condition.
I love music, I love playing music, but if this were me I’d say, “Fuck it”, and not play until it’s all taken care of. Then again, I’m not a bad ass like the guys in Gwar, and I don’t have fans either. HA! Derks has teamed up with Love Hope Strength to get people in the know, get people to donate and gain knowledge of this condition as well as other bone marrow diseases that people face. You can visit https://www.lovehopestrength.org/ and contribute any way you can.
From all of us at House of Tortured Souls as fans, and people with hearts that care about our fellow man, we wish Mike Derks/Balsac Jaws of Death a speedy recovery and issue a thank you for all you do, keeping the ball rolling and having such a positive outlook on the situation at hand.
Posted by Schock in EXCLUSIVE, 0 comments
SPOTLIGHT: Justin “Schock” Terrell

SPOTLIGHT: Justin “Schock” Terrell

It is a great honor for me to introduce next HoTS ‘In the Spotlight’ Artist: our own Justin Schock!
Justin has done a tremendous amount in the background for House of Tortured Souls this year, so he well deserves this title – and much more! As with many artists, his talent spills over in more than one genre. He records metal music!
Here is a brief bio of Justin “Schock” Terrell:
horror-artist-inthespotlight-justin- schock-jackolanterns-300x300Schock was a nickname given as a stage name in the early 2000s and kind of just stuck with me all these years… I was born in 1982. I was born and grew up in Anderson, IN. I still live nearby but try to disassociate with the town. Haha! I have one kid, a daughter, who is 9 years old and acts like she’s 14. Kids… I’ll tell ya. Currently, my normal day job is the Loss Prevention Supervisor for Kohl’s in Anderson, IN.
House of Tortured Souls: When did you start drawing?
Justin “Schock” Terrell: I started drawing at a young age, like stupid young. I can remember drawing at 3 years old or so.

horror-artist-inthespotlight-justin- schock-beardskull-300x300

HoTS: What was the first picture you remember doing?
Schock: When I was younger, I would draw comic strips like Garfield and Peanuts while attempting to mock the style. I then moved on around, 4 or 5 years old, drawing Spiderman and Wolverine mostly before developing my own techniques.

horror-artist-inthespotlight-justin- schock-jason-300x300

HoTS: Who inspired you when you began?
Schock: I just started drawing things always utilizing pencil only. I use to not care for markers and such. The traditional look of pencil appealed to me. I honestly can’t say if I had anyone influence. There were, of course, comic books and cartoons, but I never got the names of the artists. My uncle, Mike Ball is an amazing traditional artist. I mean he doesn’t use computers. He was always showing me tricks as a kid, and I admired a lot of the work he did.
HoTS: Who do you follow now?
Schock: Now that I’m older and pay attention to things, some of my favorite artists are James Rowe, Alex Ross, Nikki Bruin, and Scott Anderson. Then there is this one dude, not sure of his real name, but his store is called Electric Zombie. And Ghoulish Gary is hands down amazing, as is Jason Edmiston. Really, there are a lot of insane artists out there.
HoTS: Do you have a favorite creep?
Schock: Favorite creep…hmm well I’m always all over the monsters. It’s hard to pick, ya know? Ever go shopping and you see Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein stuff everywhere, but then there’s that one off Leatherface item, so you’re torn? Do I pick up the traditional monster thing? Or get the slasher? I’m a horror fan, and it’s just too hard to pick.

horror-artist-inthespotlight-justin- schock-lollipop-300x300

HoTS: What is your most prized piece?
Schock: I have a couple pieces that are prized. One is a full pencil/colored pencil piece I did of Reagen from The Exorcist, and the other is a non-horror pencil drawing of ballerina legs/shoes. Both of those are amazing to me because I didn’t know I could produce such work.

horror-artist-inthespotlight-justin- schock-ballerina-300x300

HoTS: Do you do art shows, comic cons, or any vendor markets?
Schock: I have never done any of the cons or markets namely because it takes a lot of money to get started and I totally do not have that kind of loot. But one day, I will be all over it. I have never done an art show. The art world is a cruel mistress. Fun fact about my region of the world, er, the city: I was told by an artist collective here I was not allowed to join their little club of artists because of my work being mainly horror-influenced. And I went from traditional pencil and paint to almost all exclusively digital coloring, even using Wacom pens to draw without paper. Very snobby artists here. So art shows would only happen, again, if I had the money for it, and if I was more well known.
HoTS: Are you working on something now?
Schock: As of now, I am working on some watercolor paintings, the annual Drawlloween pictures which I am doing all pencil this year, images for HoTS. As well as working on my next record. I make hardcore/metal music also. All written and recorded by myself called xSCHOCKx, which can be found here: xschockx.bandcamp.com I jump around mediums, drawing, painting, music and even writing. Working on a collection of short stories with a friend. No title yet, but its very X-rated and scary all at once.

horror-artist-inthespotlight-justin- schock-regan-300x300

HoTS: Do you do commission work?
Schock: I do, indeed, do commission work. I’m always open to anything graphic design in advertising, drawings, logo design, the list goes on and on. A list of services and prices can be found on my site (listed below), and it does not have to be limited to horror works. That’s just my thing. I’ve done stuff for the MS people, Diabetic Youth Foundation, and even random churches. A good artist doesn’t limit his focus.
HoTS: Do you have a fan page? Twitter? Instagram?
Schock: I am all over the social media and Internet. Heres a list:
Damn that’s a lot. Nah, but I do a lot of different things artistically and sometimes they blend together. I use my nickname for both my artistic and musical endeavors, so that it’s easy to promote both.
Folks, be on the lookout for more of Justin. He is amazing, and we here at HoTS plan on keeping him around for many moons to come.
horror-artist-inthespotlight-justin- schock-lady-300x300

Posted by Alan Smithee in ART AND VENDORS, FEATURED ARTISTS, FEATURED CONTENT, IN THE SPOTLIGHT, INTERVIEWS, 0 comments
MUSIC REVIEW: JasonXVoorhees – Horror Edge (2016)

MUSIC REVIEW: JasonXVoorhees – Horror Edge (2016)

These dudes really know how to bring forth a record that is HARDCORE! Extremely influenced by black metal, hardcore, punk rock, and pretty much everything bloody all the while being a straight edge band, these guys fucking hit it hard!
With an ominous intro dark and divine as you'd expect from any horror based band, it lays precedence to the album ahead. With an obvious metal and horror influence, they let it shine through. Some of the mixing with the gang vocals could have been mixed and maybe reverbed out to sound like there were 5,000,000 people instead of five, but whatever to that. It doesn't take away from the fact they get what they want to say out there and as hard and heavy as can be.
Track by track it kicks you in the face with the hardcore sound. "What's Your Favorite Scary Movie" is probably hands down my favorite song on the record. The punk rock vibe is definitely what I'm used to and what I listen to on a regular basis with the upbeat "skanking" style that you can easily dance to, or stand there like an emo and just bob your head while looking at your shoes. No matter what your secular division of life or who you are, it will get you moving. Then "Still Following" comes on, and it's the same ordeal — fast hard and punk rock...except with a break down that's heavy and catchy all at the same time. You can't beat this style of music they're going on with. The mixture of metal, punk, and hardcore is just fantastic with a perfect combination of all that gives you something for all walks of the underground world. Want them to play a punk show? No problem. Hardcore? Easy. Metal? For sure. They can achieve all and perform to every crowd with ease.
Like all horror punk or horror-influenced bands, song titles and references are there for the songs either in title or lyrics. The true sound of their influences shines through everything from AFI and Misfits to Leviathan, Slayer, Mayhem and even more punk style. It's clear that JXV knows what they want, and their sound all over the spectrum conveys what's what with this band. Working closely with Rikk and Cal of JxV on a few projects artistically and accompanying them on some comps put out by Optimist/Pessimist records which is run by Rikk, I can say they're amazing cats all around. Being a fellow straight edge myself, it's awesome to have a family like this in the horror world. The first time I saw their title "Horror Edge", I knew these guys were either going to be cock suckers and not worth befriending or they're going to be brothers. Lucky for me, the latter was the case. I highly recommend that you listen to Jason X Voorhees and support them in every way. Even if you're not into straight edge life, if you're a music fan, metal head, hardcore, punk...what the fuck ever. This band is for you.
JxV on Optimist/Pessimist Records - Bandcamp
Posted by Schock in HALLOWEEN, MUSIC REVIEWS, REVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
Schock’s Top 5 Albums for the Halloween Mood

Schock’s Top 5 Albums for the Halloween Mood

I’m going to run through five albums to put you in the Halloween spirit. We all love music, and we all have stuff we are used to. I’m always on the hunt for something new and fresh, so let me help you out this Halloween season. You cannot go wrong with my Top 5 Albums That Scream HALLOWEEN when listened to any time of the year.

Misfits — Collection 2: This one in particular because A) It’s got the song “Halloween” on the album. It’s the original incarnation of the Misfits and a staple in any horror fans collection.Misfits_-_Collection_II_cover / Fair use doctrine.

Mister Monster — Over Your Dead Body: This album is so fucking good. The whole vibe of the record gives you a cold chill and makes you want to just sit by a campfire to warm up while crooning your way into your partner’s pants.Mister Monster-Over Your Dead Body / Fair use doctrine.
AFI — All Hallow’s EP and Black Sails in the Sunset EP: There was a time when AFI was absolutely amazing and these two albums... (I’m using two here because there are only 4 tracks on the All Hallow’s EP.) These two albums set a nice relaxed vibe that always, for some reason, get me thinking about walking around, kicking leaves, and enjoying the cool air. The song “Fall Children” on All Hallow’s EP is, by far, my favorite Halloween song ever written.AFI-AllHallow's and Black Sails / Fair use doctrine.
Silent Horror — Self Titled: This is a record that is from start to finish spooky and fun and screams horror and Halloween all the way through. I put this next to Mister Monster’s OYDB as one of the best horror punk records ever.Silent Horror - Self Titled / Fair use doctrine.
The Spook — Some Like It Dead: A band from the land of Germany. The Spook is another horror punk band that not only needs to be listened to, also needs to be understood. This album gives you the feeling of horror and Halloween – from the super scary factor right down to the whimsy and fun of Halloween. The Spook delivers this on this record.The Spook-Some Like It Dead / Fair use doctrine.
So there you have it the Schock TOP 5 Albums to put you in the mood for Halloween. Find them, listen and enjoy.
Posted by Schock in HALLOWEEN, MUSIC REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
Happy 70th Birthday, Stephen King!

Happy 70th Birthday, Stephen King!

Buckle up, Constant Readers, because House of Tortured Souls is paying tribute to the father of contemporary horror - Stephen King. This post won't be as long as one of Mr. King's novels, but you might want to get a fresh beverage and a snack before continuing.
Comfy? Got your drink and snack? Good. Then follow us as we delve into a few of the memories Mr. King has given us. It's not dark here - certainly not as dark as Pet Sematary - but you might want to keep a lamp burning. Just in case.Simpsons Opening-Stephen King / Fair use doctrine.

I'm His Number One Fan! Wait...

By Woofer McWooferson

I honestly can’t remember the details of my first exposure to Stephen King’s work, but I do remember that it changed my life. As a horror fan, I read everything horror that came my way. When someone mentioned this new writer and his book Carrie, I gave it a shot and have never looked back. I tore into everything that he wrote like a werewolf starved for human flesh and finding the tastiest morsel around. My family and friends were thrilled as they now had a guaranteed gift for the freaky kid – anything King.
horror-novel-thestand / Fair use doctrine.When The Stand was released, I was a freshman in high school. I snapped it up fast and read it in record time even for me. Those of you who’ve read The Stand (or seen the mini-series) know about Captain Tripps. You can imagine, then, how freaky it was for me when I caught a cold while enjoying it. Strangely, every subsequent reading also resulted in a cold. That’s a bit trippy, don’t you think? Later, when the unabridged version was released, I also snapped it up – and yes, I got another cold – and enjoyed it even more than the heavily cut original. Many Constant Readers have said they don’t care for the unabridged version as they feel it adds nothing to the story, but I have to respectfully disagree. King is the master of detail, and I found all the extra bits particularly satisfying. The Stand remains my favorite standalone King work.
The Gunslinger trade paperback / Fair use doctrine.And then The Gunslinger was released. My then-boyfriend, Rich, got an advanced release, read it, and passed it along for me to read. We both fell in love with Roland Deschain. Rich was as much of a horror fan as I was, and we shared many glorious King novels before eventually parting as a couple but remaining friends. But it was his gift to me of The Gunslinger that will always be most special. He started me on the road to the Tower and even accompanied me about halfway there. We’ve fallen out of touch, but I still think of him fondly and wonder what he thought of the rest of Roland’s tale. Did he love it as much as I did? How could he not?
Although I’ve read everything King’s written thus far, none have had the impact on me that The Stand and The Dark Tower did. Indeed, King’s influence on me was such that I found myself speaking of him during the oral portion of my master’s exam. I didn’t exactly plan to bring up King, and I wasn’t sure what the panel would think of my comparisons even as I spoke. He wasn’t exactly taught in college back then (at least not much outside of the composition classes I taught), after all, and I nervously smoked outside as the panel discussed me and my answers. Apparently, they found my comments valid because I did receive my MA. Thanks, Mr. King.
Today, I raise a glass to you and wish you the best. May you continue to fuel our nightmares for many more years to come. Happy birthday!

By Scarlett O

I was a mere tot when the adaptation of Stephen King's The Shining came out in theaters in 1980; nevertheless, I was allowed to watch it before the age of ten. How times have changed! It was my very first horror movie, and I can honestly say without reservation that I've never been the same since. Both traumatized and intrigued, the level of terror that this particular movie held for me has set the standard for which I judge all horror movies. Needless to say, that's a pretty high bar that few other horror films have been able to come close to clearing. As an adult, I read the actual book from which the movie is based and like all other good books, Stephen King's The Shining reaches a level of impressive that I couldn't have imagined in my worst nightmares. To this day, large hotels with seemingly endless hallways or hearing “REDRUM” gives me chills. As it should.The Shining - Bloody Elevator / Fair use doctrine.
Though there were clear differences between King’s novel and Stanley Kubrick's direction of the film, such as the main character’s name (Jack vs John Daniel), physical appearances (blonde Wendy vs brunette), preference of cartoons by the boy Danny (Sesame Street vs the Road Runner), and even the hotel room number (217 vs 237), and perhaps the most interesting - that one ended in fire (the book) and the other in ice (the film), it's obvious that readers and viewers alike could appreciate the artistic thrill of them both. Still, it should not go without mention that none of this would have been possible if the one and only Stephen King had not written the infamous novel in the first place.

By Michelle MIDI Sayles

On this day in 1947 a King was literally born – Stephen King that is!
It wasn't until 42 years later that I discovered his literary world and my own thirst for horror grew in me, like a beast of its own.
I was 9 and at a slumber party with three other girls watching the VHS release of Pet Sematary. Unlike most girls, I didn't hide under the blankets during the "scary parts" or scream. I just watched with amazement as Gage’s, Church’s, and Louis' antics mesmerized me.Church-Pet Sematary_02 / Fair use doctrine.
I was so enamored with the film that I begged my parents for a month to buy me the novel for my 10th birthday, and I still have that battered and much loved copy to this day (after countless rereads).
From that moment, I was glued to all things King! I spent my teen years on a mere babysitter's budget (choosing that and my studies over flipping burgers part time like most kids here). I would frequent yard sales and second-hand markets to find older but cheaper copies of King's novels so I could stockpile all of his books (one day, when I retire, I will try and read any remaining that I have yet to tackle). I recorded each mini-series and film that came onto my screen to VHS, so I could watch it again and again (The Tommyknockers, The Stand, Children of the Corn -and sequels- etc). I clipped articles about my idol and more recently began collecting merchandise related to his works.
Through bad relationships, schooling, work life, having a family, and even suffering losses, King was my beacon. At any time, I could immerse myself in a book or film of his and just feel centered and at home.
Happy birthday, Mr King, I doubt you understand the impact you have had on many lives, but you'll always be special in mine.MIDI's King collection

By Schock

The horror world wouldn’t be the same if not for author Stephen King. His novels - that seem to multiply like gremlins - and movies that spawned from his narratives have become a staple in the world of horror, terror, and suspense. When we hear the name Stephen King, we think only of monsters and twists that ensue within the stories he’s penned as well as the rich east coast New England area of his mind.
My first encounter with anything Stephen King was Carrie - the movie based on the novel that we have all come to know as an ultimate in psychological (and psychic) terror. I discovered at a young age my love for the underdog, but my apparent blood fetish spawned way later in life. That’s another story altogether... Carrie introduced me to the world of King and I wanted to dig a little deeper. I then discovered other movies based on his novels – Cujo, Christine, Children of the Corn, Thinner, Needful Things, Cat’s Eye, The Shining, Stand By Me, Pet Semetary, IT… The list goes on and on and on. Then there are the King short stories translated to film. My absolute favorite of these is “Sometimes They Come Back”. Obviously, if you can’t tell, I didn’t read a lot as a child; I threw down on the movies, though, and when I got older I discovered that the novels were actually pretty easy to find. So I began the hunt for as many as possible in my area.
Christine was the first book I acquired, and reading the book, I could feel what he was writing more so than the movie portrayed. So I wanted more. I wanted to see how the stories could just put fear and terror into people. The directors of the movies really shined a light on the stories with their films. Some of the novels, though, like IT are thicker than every version of the bible put together. My friends and I use to have an ongoing joke when we would discuss Stephen King movie and book comparisons. He used three pages just to describe the treads on the tires in From a Buick 8. That brings me to something that King inadvertently taught to those of us who are creators of art – whether it be prose, poetry, music, or the visual arts: detail is KEY to making sure you give the audience every inch of what your mind wants to get out. This was a beautiful thing to learn from King’s legacy of horror and terrifying tales.From A Buick 8 / Fair use doctrine.
If anyone deserves to be awarded the title King of Horror or Master of the Macabre, it is none other than Stephen King himself. King’s not a man who walks around mopey and weird as you’d expect a horror writer to be. He’s a regular man, a visionary, and an inspiration – and not only to filmmakers and fans. He has inspired now for decades, generations even, and will continue to inspire for many years to come. When we are all long gone from this earth and some weird alien life goes digging around, they’ll find one (or thirty) of his novels and be terrified at what they read. Let’s hope that one day this happens and Stephen King will be known to these people thousands of years from now as a God.Stephen King-Pet Sematary / Fair use doctrine.

Happy Birthday to the *King* of Horror

By Tammie Parker

horror-novel-firestarter / Fair use doctrine.I read Firestarter when I was 8! That truly did raise the bar pretty high for all trying to scare me from then on out. I had a tough childhood, this was written for me! OH, to have the power to set shit on fire!
A truly odd fact is that we read IT in English 101 in my 8th grade class!! A bit of an odd book to use to teach all about grammar, huh? We even watched the original movie right there in class.   horror-movie-it-original / Fair use doctrine.Although the monster at the end disappointed me, I loved the story and the build-up. I loved the goosebumps, the hair-raising, eye-bulging, hanging onto the bed rail, it's-way-past-my-bedtime words!
After IT, (a few years down the road) I fall in love with Misery. horror-novel-misery / Fair use doctrine.The cockadoodie potty language definitely had me cracking up. Stephen King taught me how to find out when someone was going into my private stuff!
horror-novel-doloresclaiborne / Fair use doctrine.And then Dolores Claiborne. I truly loved the character Dolores! Having personally gone through 10 years of molestation, this novel was tough to read. However I wanted to read it through, I was certain I would be ecstatic with Dolores' settling this chaos. I love how simple it is to travel into the story, Stephen completely takes you there. There is never a question of the color of the sky, the scent in the air, especially the creepy thing lurking around the corner.
Then came The Stand, which very rapidly became my favorite book.
horror-novel-thestand / Fair use doctrine.Stephen is probably the source of my love for dystopian horror. The Stand opened my eyes to so much! Scenarios I had never thought of before. Human characteristics and how we would react, and what we would become if/when something happens.
After that (again a few years down the road) Dark Tower novels, WOWZA what a story!!

I have YET to see the movie, but I love the cast! And the trailers look absolutely amazing!

I have read Desperation, The Dead Zone, and, well, it is safe to say Mr. King is my most read author. During my research, I found out that Stephen and his wife Tabitha actually stayed in the real Stanley Hotel as he wrote the novel! I fell in love with him all over again. What a true badass! And what a wicked imagination 🙂
Happy 70th, Mr. Nightmare Maker!

What Stephen King Has Meant To Me

By Dixielord

Stephen King's Full DarkI discovered Stephen King sometime around the mid 80s. I don't remember exactly when, about my senior year in high school or maybe my first year in college. I remember a high school friend/acquaintance was reading Christine, and me, to my utter shame now, thought reading a book that big was the nerdiest thing in the world. How things change.
Christinebecame one of the first King novels, probably THE first novel, that I read. I think Night Shift was the first book, followed by Skeleton Crew, as I fell quickly in love with his short stories. I devoured his short stories rabidly, as quickly as I could get my hands on them. Then I started on the novels – Christine, Carrie, Firestarter, everything my college library had to offer, including the non-fiction Danse Macabre. It was through Danse Macabre that I became aware of H.P. Lovecraft.
Is it fair to say my life was changed? It was changed, dear readers. I had transformed from someone who laughed at readers to a voracious reader, from a man who had never heard of Lovecraft to a hardcore fan of the Cthulhu mythos and the unspeakable horrors from beyond.
Out of college I continued to follow him, buying his books when I could afford to, checking them out of the local library when I couldn't. I built up a nice collection of hardcover King over the years. After his near-fatal accident, his stories changed, and my life changed as well. I lost my mother to cancer, and his books started taking on a more depressing (at least to me) tone. The recurring theme of God demanding a sacrifice started to wear thin on me, and I just recently realized why. Don't get me wrong, his writing was still top notch, but I couldn't take the new stuff. I stopped reading King altogether after Desperation. I still cherished my King collection, though, and it nearly killed me when I had to sell them.
Sell your King collection? Blasphemy! Sadly, life doesn't always go as planned, and losing my job with no employment in sight meant I needed money. Of all the books I owned, I hated putting up my King collection for sale. But someone offered me too much money, and I needed money too much. I said goodbye with tears in my eyes.
I came back to King, and I'm still coming back, going back for the books I missed and grabbing the new ones as well. Now, new fans are discovering Stephen King, and old fans are rediscovering him. IT is in the theaters, reinvigorating horror in general, and putting the master's name back on the lips of everyone. The Dark Tower is just out of theaters. All of this has brought me back to my books, thinking about reacquiring the ones I had to sacrifice. King changed my life. Stephen King gave me a life, he gave me books and made me a reader. He opened worlds after worlds.

By Brenda Wilder Antlitz

Carrie-Sissy Spacek-John Travolta / Fair use doctrine.I was first introduced to the King, Stephen King that is, in the winter of 1976, the year that Carrie, came out. I was 12 at the time and in junior high school, which meant that 1) every girl was in love with John Travolta, and 2) I was too young to see it in the theater. So after hearing all of the cool kids telling us about the movie, especially the ending when the hand comes out of the ground, I knew I had to see it! But what was I going to do? And then I knew. I would do the next best thing: go to the bookstore.
The bookstore experience was just as exciting - walking down the aisle of the horror section, smelling the scent of new books under the incandescent lights, and looking for the name Stephen King. Even his name sounded grand! As I walked, I looked and looked, then and there it was: Carrie. I quickly opened it up, flipped through the pages, my hair flying back, as I watch the words fly past me, and I then floated to the register where I paid and become the proud owner of my very first (but certainly not last) Stephen King novel!
When I got home, I got a bottle of Coca-cola and went straight up to my bedroom (my safe haven), and I began to read Carrie. It was in the early afternoon when I began reading, and I only stopped to go to the bathroom, which I did with all lights on of course! LOL. But I simply could not stop reading it... I could relate Carrie White. Completely.
I felt as if Stephen King saw through me and wrote this character about me (except that I did not have special psychic abilities nor a crazy, religious fanatic for a mother). I was a very shy loner, misunderstood and bullied so bad that my only escape was through books, TV, music, and movies. And so, because of Carrie White, I became a horror lover and not just of the Friday the 13th kind but of the psychological kind. The kind that makes you think - and question - EVERYthing!!
After that, I was hooked on The King of Horror!
Stephen King became known not only for his novels and their adaptations to the big screen but also for the works that made it to the small screen, TV. You have to realize that back then we only had a handful of TV stations. Cable was new (we did not have it), and VCRs were just starting to come out although few could afford them, yet. So when there was a movie of the week, or better yet a mini-series, it was a big deal! An event, even.
'Salem's Lot / Fair use doctrine.The first major Stephen King-based mini-series was a two-night event, and it's still talked about to this day. 'Salems Lot, staring David Soul and Lance Kerwin, debuted on 11/17/1979, and it was something we’d never seen before. A second 'Salem's Lot mini-series (remake not sequel) debuted on 11/19/2015 and starred Rob Lowe, who played Nick Andros in the mini-series of The Stand. If you ask people what they remember about it, they will tell you that it scared the crap out of them.'Salem's Lot mini-series remake / Fair use doctrine.
I could go on and on with the list of books and movies, that Stephen King has written, but there is not enough time or room.
All I can say is this: there are writers who affect only a few, and Stephen King is not one of them. Stephen King has affected generations! He is the reason why most of us became fans of horror/thrillers, became writers – authors, even - readers, and film fans. For me, not only did he do all of the above, but he also was an influence on my becoming a paranormal investigator.
I guess all that is left to say, besides "Thank You", is happy birthday to The King of Horror, Mr. Stephen King!!
From House of Tortured Souls to you, Mr. King, fangs for everything.horror-stephenking / Fair use doctrine.
Posted by Alan Smithee in CELEBRITY BIRTHDAYS, EDITORIALS, HORROR HEROES, TRIBUTE, 0 comments
HoTS Explores Halloween Goodies 2017 – 1 of ???

HoTS Explores Halloween Goodies 2017 – 1 of ???

House of Tortured Souls is committed to bringing you all things horror, and Halloween is OUR holiday. As such, HoTS staff will be making videos throughout the Halloween season as we explore the decor and goodies out this year.
First up, ZombieGurl takes you through some of the items available at Michael's.

Next, ZombieGurl shows us what's up At Home (the store, not her home, but I imagine they're quite similar decor-wise).

John Roisland tours Spirit Halloween and outlines their goodies for 2017.

Schock visits Halloween City and reveals some interesting items.

Finally, John Roisland takes a tour of his local Target and shows us what they're offering.

Stay tuned for our second installment of 2017 Halloween goodies.
Until then, creep on.
-Woofer
Posted by Alan Smithee in HALLOWEEN, 0 comments
In Remembrance: Tobe Hooper

In Remembrance: Tobe Hooper

Tobe Hooper: Gone But Not Forgotten

It is with heavy heart that we report the passing of the ever so great Tobe Hooper - the man who brought us many, MANY great horror flicks, such as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Poltergeist, The Fun House, Lifeforce, Salem's Lot, and Toolbox Murders - among others. His legacy of horror films are what spawned fear and intrigue on several levels for all of us here at House of Tortured Souls. We will be paying tribute to him, so stay tuned to find out how his work has influenced our work and our lives.
Here's a list of his directorial credits alone:

  • Djinn (2013)
  • Destiny Express Redux (2009)
  • Masters of Horror (TV Series) – “The Damned Thing” (2006)
  • Masters of Horror (TV Series) – “Dance of the Dead” (2005)
  • Mortuary (2005)
  • Toolbox Murders (2004)
  • Taken (TV Mini-Series) (1 episode) – “Beyond the Sky” (2002)
  • Night Visions (TV Series) (2 episodes) – “Cargo” (2002)
  • Night Visions (TV Series) (2 episodes) – “The Maze” (2002)
  • Crocodile (Video) (2000)
  • The Others (TV Series) (1 episode) – “Souls on Board” (2000)
  • Dark Skies (TV Series) (1 episode) – “The Awakening” (1996)
  • Nowhere Man (TV Series) (2 episodes) – “Turnabout” (1995)
  • Nowhere Man (TV Series) (2 episodes) – “Absolute Zero” (1995)
  • The Apartment Complex (TV Movie) (1999)
  • Prey (TV Series) (1 episode) – “Hungry for Survival”: Unaired Pilot (1998)
  • Perversions of Science (TV Series) (1 episode) – “Panic” (1997)
  • The Mangler (1995)
  • Body Bags (TV Movie) (segment “Eye”) (1993)
  • Night Terrors (1993)
  • Tales from the Crypt (TV Series) (1 episode) – “Dead Wait” (1991)
  • Haunted Lives: True Ghost Stories (TV Mini-Series documentary) (1 episode) – “Ghosts R Us/Legend of Kate Morgan/School Spirit” (1991)
  • I’m Dangerous Tonight (TV Movie) (1990)
  • Spontaneous Combustion (1990)
  • Freddy’s Nightmares (TV Series) (1 episode) – “No More Mr. Nice Guy” (1988)
  • The Equalizer (TV Series) (1 episode) – “No Place Like Home” (1988)
  • Amazing Stories (TV Series) (1 episode) – “Miss Stardust” (1987)
  • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986)
  • Invaders from Mars (1986)
  • Lifeforce (1985)
  • Billy Idol: Dancing with Myself (Video short) (1983)
  • Poltergeist (1982)
  • The Fun House (1981)
  • Salem’s Lot (TV Movie) (1979)
  • The Dark (replaced by John Cardos, uncredited) (1979)
  • Eaten Alive (1976)
  • The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
  • Eggshells (1969)
  • The Heisters (Short) (1964)

Now, pop in a classic, grab your favorite snack, and celebrate the scares that he gave us.

Poster Gallery of Some of Tobe Hooper's Films

Click for larger image.

Posted by Schock in TRIBUTE, 0 comments
MUSIC REVIEW: Calabrese – Lust for Sacrilege (2015)

MUSIC REVIEW: Calabrese – Lust for Sacrilege (2015)

calabrese - Lust for Sacrilege_in post / 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 throwback 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.

Keep it Creepy
-Schock

Posted by Schock in MUSIC REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments