Sunday, December 30, 2012

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, TOODY!

Meadow snapped this at midnight last night!

Toody Cole of Dead Moon and Pierced Arrows celebrates 64 orbits around the sun today. Happy Birthday, Toody! In the words of Twisted Sister, "YOU CAN'T STOP ROCK 'N' ROLL!"

Monday, December 24, 2012

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LEMMY!


This has been one hell of a week for speed metal (R.I.P. Mike Scaccia and Keith Deen), so here's some good news for a change...


Sure, for every legend like Lemmy there are at least 10,000 scabby hyperactives trying to steal power tools out of your garage but today we celebrate the legend! BORN TO LOSE//LIVE TO WIN!!!!  

Saturday, December 22, 2012

SOLSTICE


"The cold outside lays waste to life. Suspends the process of decay.  Alone without a friend suffer as night becomes the death of day.

WINTER!

This is the season of the fire, this is when the reaper crawls. Feed the flames and make them higher. No sanctuary behind four walls.

WINTER!

Red sky at night, the shepherds delight but nothing left by the morning.In the town they feel safe, fools like flies their friends are falling.

WINTER!

Wrap up warm, you'll catch your death. Don't let your death catch you.
The winter tears the earth apart, let's hope we see it through.

WINTER!"

~Amebix

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Barbara Ellen BeauSoleil (R.I.P.)

A message from Bobby (12/12/12):

"Hello everyone, 
This is proof positive that is it possible to have a heart heavy with sadness and one that is filled with joy inside of a single breath. On October 19th my beloved Barbara Ellen, wife and partner of 31 years, very suddenly and unexpectedly passed from this world. 

A shocking event, to say the least. I’m still reeling. One day she was happily planting bulbs in the her garden for flowers that will bloom in the spring, and the following morning her lifeless body was found lying on the floor next to her bed. 

In a curious example of synchronicity not uncharacteristic in our relationship, I fell out of my bunk onto the floor of my cell, the only time ever in my life that this has happened, at what was very possibly the moment of her passing. The cause of physical death was subsequently determined to be a cerebral hemorrhage. It was quick, no prolonged suffering, just the sort of way Barbara would have preferred to go when her time came (may we all be so lucky). No muss, no fuss, no lingering illness, no significant debts to be a burden to her family. Just gone. It’s as though she has been stolen from us, as a dear mutual friend aptly put it. 

I miss her physical presence in my life, of course, every time something happens that I want to share with her, at least a dozen times a day, and I have to remind myself again that she is no longer here among us. We had a 31-year conversation, probing heart and mind, exploring our humanness while aspiring to the higher levels of wisdom. I will miss that conversation like I will miss her gaze, her touch, her uninhibited laughter, her embrace, her kiss, and even those human foibles and faults that sometimes annoyed and frustrated me. There was never anything about her that could realistically stand in the way of my love for her. 

Ours was a relationship founded on sacred ground, and therefore not subject to threat from something as wholly natural, commonplace, and ultimately trivial as death. We only borrow these bodies to play in this world for a time. This is why our relationship held together all these years despite some foolish lapses of dignity and the hardship of my incarceration. But Barbara was so sturdy, I always assumed I would be the one to go first. I’ve been caught off guard, and now I grapple with unaccustomed depths of emotion, mourning the loss of her, while knowing full well that she is not the least bit lost to herself. 

Some of you had the good fortune to know Barbara personally; others of you may have known her at some distance, or only about her. In any case, I would like to offer the following words of rememberance, written by Barbara’s son John only days after passing: 

“Barbara was, and always will be, a shining example of a how a person can live in peace, harmony and freedom. She gave more than she took, she loved more than she feared, and she nurtured everything and everybody around her. We will remember Barbara as a woman of strength, courage, compassion and wisdom-a true Mother Goddess incarnate, treading softly yet powerfully upon this Earth”. 

So, yes, there are some waves of sadness lingering in the spaces where Barbara once lived, since her passing. No one needs to worry that they may draw me into some morose stupor, however. Barbara would have little patience for that sort of thing. Anyway, she would not have left when she did if she had not been sure that I would remain a strength to her children and grandchildren, and I won’t let her down in that regard. She would not have any of us feel sorry for her, or for ourselves. Any why should we? Barbara lived on her own terms and died exactly as she would have wanted to. I salute her for that, and celebrate the wealth of gifts she brought to the world. 
In peace,
Bobby"


Sunday, December 09, 2012

BEST SHOWS OF 2012!

PIERCED ARROWS
January 1, 2012
(Ash St. Saloon - Portland, OR)

"10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3 ,2, 1...HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!"  Just like that the uncontested king and queen of rock 'n' roll kicked 2011 right out the fuckin' door and launched into Guns of Thunder.  The next hour or so was a breathless fist banger that reaffirmed my place at the frontline of this weird war called Life. Fred and Toody Cole never forgot the sweaty redemption of rock 'n' roll and they never forgot you. They played most of their debut LP plus On The Move, Let It Rain, This is the Day, Paranoia, and some other songs I can't remember now. Keeping with tradition they encored with a few Dead Moon classics before the houselights went on and we stumbled back out into the cold new year morning. Less than 12 hours later, as the hangover wore off, we were sipping on some hair of the dog at the Hollywood Theater and watching a rare 35mm print of George Romero's Day of the Dead! This was a very fortuitous omen...

"Choke on 'em, 2011!"

Photo by AK Wilson.

GRAVEYARD
January 31, 2012
(Doug Fir Lounge - Portland, OR)

Portland had a tough choice to make this evening. Due to an inexplicable touring/booking coincidence, Ghost and Graveyard were playing the same city on the same night at different venues. What to do? The choice was easy for me. Start the night with a 35mm print of Suspiria and boogie over to catch Satan's Finest at the more intimate club. They played a terrific set and, probably much to Joakim Nilsson's chagrin, I crooned along to every song right up front (anyone who has ever had the displeasure of hearing me "sing along" knows that I don't exactly know when to "come in"). Speaking of vexation, this would be a good time to remind you assholes that not every live musical event is a Municipal Waste concert. Some dickhead who clearly couldn't handle his booze arrived mid-set to show off his mosh moves and ability to throw elbows into the throats of skinny women who had their eyes closed (because it was a goddamn slow blues song best enjoyed with eyes closed) and then disappeared as quickly as his embarrassed girlfriend could drag him out. One of the highlights of this gig was the organic light show provided by a very nice older gentleman whose name escapes me at the moment.  Later in the night he shared some cool stories about how he learned his ink and projector technique back in the 60's.  This dude was the real deal and this night was just perfect.

 
Witch!

Another amazing photo by AK Wilson. How the hell does she do this while holding a drink and booking airline tickets to the next festival?

BUDOS BAND
February 21, 2012
(Dante's - Portland, OR)

The fabulous furry Budos Brothers never fail to bring some mean street metal menace to their funked up proceedings and this gig was no exception. While everyone seems to be going ape shit over that new band Goat, whose live footage seems to be no more or less embarrassing than the exotic cracker tripe being performed at any street fair in any city across America that just gentrified its poorest neighborhood, these soulful disciples have been refining their heavy afro-cuban-whatever jams for years but probably won't turn up on any doting "best of" lists anytime soon. If you listen between the lies you'll realize that these cool cats inject a heavy dose of black venom into their urban voodoo sans masks and on this particular night they tore up Dante's once again and had us all shakin' our asses like Josie and the Pussycats on a Spanish Fly bender. We missed Andy the trumpeter and "Space Ace" on the congas who apparently couldn't make it out for this tour but the usual suspects more than held it down. Herding this many dudes onto a stage every night is a major accomplishment in itself. Also, at some point this happened...

Cue hotel security.


WATAIN
April 20, 2012
(El Corazon - Seattle, WA)

I sure hope you didn't foolishly jump on the "backlash bandwagon" and stay home when this tour rolled through your town. If so, you missed a few of the best metal bands on the planet at the height of their abilities practically performing for each other and upping the ante every night. The only bummer about this tour was the early set times that caught a lot of fans unaware (many missed this show because who the hell goes to a black metal concert at 7:30pm???) and the oddly "corporate" vibe that crept in around the edges at times. We rolled up to Seattle just in time to catch The Devil's Blood (we missed In Solitude because who the hell goes to a heavy metal concert at 7:30pm???) who warmed up the intimate environs of this modest dive with their blood-drenched rock 'n' reap. Next up was Watain who delivered a nearly perfect set of black metal magic. The only things cramping their style tonight was the low ceiling and those damn pillars in El Corazon that make it difficult to see the stage depending on where you're standing. I realize it's rather chic to disregard a black metal band that has broken out of the underground ghetto, especially a band that considers the theatrical dimension of their art nearly as important as the music but I'm afraid the whiners are entirely missing the point. No matter how many shirts they sell or how many rock star photos pile up on the Internet, Watain will never be the styrofoam spikes and karo syrup posers that frustrated critics are trying so desperately to portray them as in message boards and magazines that no one will be reading in three years. Their onstage performance and recorded trajectory is still absolutely chilling to behold and they've had plenty of opportunities to go soft, sell out or play nice. But enough of all that nonsense. This evening was the beginning of a very memorable few days. By the way, I'm counting these next few installments as one gig because it was a tour, dig?

IN SOLITUDE
April 21, 2012
(Rickshaw Theater - Vancouver B.C., Canada)

I didn't get out of Portland much this year but this show was one of the few exceptions. How the fuck we made it through customs is anyone's guess. Ahem. It's a coin toss deciding who was most inspired on stage in Canada but, probably since I missed them the previous night in Seattle, In Solitude really blew me away. I saw them at MDF in 2010 but it was mid-day at a festival and I was a bit distracted by Voivod (among other things) so I didn't feel like the setting quite did them justice. Tonight they were simply possessed with the burning fire of ancestral heavy metal as it was intended! This was a spectacular event in an impressive venue that was originally built in 1971 by the Shaw Brothers. Yes. The Brothers Shaw of the legendary kung fu movie empire that defined the American martial arts craze of the 70's and had me dragon stomping around the house as a kid with a kamikaze bandana tied around my head. Apparently it was a thriving movie theater until kung fu became not-so-cool in the mid 80's and eventually it was re-opened as a live music venue after sitting dormant for many years. If those slimy red walls could talk...what terrible tales of wino stabbings and $5 blowjobs they would tell! Today the Rickshaw (imagine that Hong Kong font from Chinese take-out menus) sits on the fringes of the jaw-dropping concrete jungle affectionately known as "Heroin Alley" in local parlance. The very first thing I saw as I stepped off the bus was an uncapped syringe in the middle of the sidewalk. Welcome to Hell Canada, eh? Later the Blasphemy guys showed up to spill beer upon the altar and all manner of shenanigans and photos ensued...

I have no idea who took this classy photo but it's a keeper!
The all-seeing electric eye of AK Wilson strikes again! I have no reason to believe she wasn't simultaneously building a website, booking a trip to Vegas and feeding her cat when she snapped this photo.

THE DEVIL'S BLOOD
April 22, 2012
(Hawthorne Theater - Portland, OR)

This was the show that unequivocally proved to me what a tremendous band The Devil's Blood has become. Three nights in a row they played a different set, each seemingly better than the last, and it dawned on me at some point as the amplifiers throbbed and pulsated to a deafening silence on this particular night that they could effortlessly play anywhere/anytime for any length of time and I would remain 100% engaged. I never thought I had the attention span for a "jam band" but it's nearly impossible not to follow and drown completely when they dive deep as a totally unified leviathan of rhythm and soul into the River of Gold or Voodoo Dust. No drugs required. They also opened this set with their brilliant rendition of White Faces which they make entirely their own. I think they only played this song once or twice on this tour so everyone who was in attendance can consider themselves lucky. World without end. Amen.

Deathcharge by AK Wilson.

DEATHCHARGE / DANAVA / LEBENDEN TOTEN
June 2, 2012
(Slabtown - Portland, OR)

If you haven't already guessed by my pedestrian musical taste and generally shitty attitude toward you and your dumb scene, I'm an old bastard. In punk years I'm like 169. Too old, too cold, get off my lawn, I-would've-gotten-away-with-it-if-it-wasn't-for-you-meddling-kids, blah blah blah. I'm comfortable with my grey whiskers because I've already outlived my expected expiration date and can still out drink, out fight and out fuck most of you twenty-something downloaders. Alright, maybe not. I'm out of breath just typing that. But I still saw  Conan the Barbarian in the movie theater on opening day in 1982 and went to school with a Kiss lunchbox long before they went unmasked. What the hell was I just talking about? Oh yeah. So Portland threw me one hell of a party for my 40th birthday this year! Normally being the center of attention is awful but when three of your favorite local bands get together to play in your honor it's pretty easy to just grin and bear a few pats on the back, lap dances, spanks on the ass and embarrassing toasts. Especially when the room erupts into a sweaty whiskey-fueled mass of leather, spikes and cupcakes. This entire weekend was sincerely humbling and, unfortunately for those who wish I would just go away, it bolstered my resolve for another 40 fuckin' years! 

Lebenden Toten by AK Wilson.

Riding Hoods. Who took this?  Meadow?

Yup, AK Wilson.

MIDNIGHT / DANAVA / DEAD CONGREGATION
July 8, 2012
(East End - Portland, OR)

Remember last year's East End Block Party? Me neither. But I hear it was fun. This year's block party was fun too but somewhat mired in drama and missteps so this little gem of a gig makes the list just for happening at all. I won't bore you with the details but, suffice to say, there were some lineup changes, lots of confusion, the police shut down the outside festivities and I had a blast the whole time! After some tedious performances throughout the day, the clock ticked closer to last call on Sunday night and everyone wondered if Midnight would actually get to play due to a total lack of stage management. That's when the cops showed up to announce the party was over. Those of us still sober enough to walk down a flight of back alley stairs quickly joined forces to dismantle the outdoor stage while Portland's finest watched from the street and by sheer collective effort the gear was quickly relocated to the sweaty dungeon-like basement. Way too many people piled in down there but it looked like things were moving forward without any more "hangups." That's when some real cool cokeheads barricaded themselves in the backstage room with the drummer's gear inside. "Be right out, bro!" Here's another tip: cocaine makes you an even bigger dickhead, pal. Eventually Danava hit the stage and laid it on us like the heavy droogs they are and Midnight soon delivered the essence of satanic royalty to the rabid sunburned hordes. At some point during my long stint behind the wheels of steel I dropped a Saturnalia Temple LP on the turntable and ran across the street to watch Dead Congregation at a totally different club. When I returned someone had flipped the record and three people came up to compliment my DJ'ing. Now THAT'S professionalism (insert winking emoticon here)!  

I took this one, which explains why everyone is out of focus.

AUTOPSY
July 14, 2012
(Hawthorne Theater - Portland, OR)

Ever heard of this band? They're pretty good I guess. Har har har. Another whirlwind 24 hour run with some of the straightest shooters I've ever had the pleasure of drinking whiskey out of a plastic jug with (as Reifert taught me, the plastic jug makes it bounce right back into your hand when you drop it). Autopsy made their first Northwest appearance ever right here in Portland this summer as part of the sorta awkwardly named Revelations of Death festival. I don't really need to say much do I? Look at that set list. Heads were crushed, blood was spilled, and the dead walked the earth 'cause obviously there's no more room in hell up here in Sasquatch Country.

Service for a vacant summer!

AK Wilson's clever photography suppresses the almost uncontrollable urge to purchase expensive merchandise that never quite looks as good as you hoped in your living room.

IRON MAIDEN
July 31, 2012
(White River Amphitheater - Auburn, WA)

No big surprise here but Maiden's return to the northwest on the Maiden England tour was another smashing success. This was the thirteenth time I've seen 'em and I've yet to be disappointed. It should be stale by-the-numbers bullshit by now but...they're just untouchable! They barreled through a set of classics with only a few post-Seventh Son of a Seventh Son numbers and I have to admit that Afraid to Shoot Strangers is a fucking awesome live song that I totally overlooked in the 90's. Afterwards we shut down the local bar, made some new friends, lost a game of pool, went midnight swimming, and did not have sex with a horse. Win/win.

I think one of the guys from Glorious Days took this great photo right after Wehrmacht's set!

WEHRMACHT / WILD DOGS
September 21, 2012
(private party - Portland, OR)

I realize you'd never guess (much less care) from all these goofy photos of me broin' down but, to be perfectly honest, I'm not much of a partier. I'm actually socially awkward unless I have some very specific purpose and I don't necessarily excel at small talk when there are more than six people in the room. But when Wehrmacht invites me to a kegger, I make exceptions to my stay home rule. Original singer Tito Matos is off pursuing a successful DJ career so the re-united shoe brothers have recruited longtime friend Eric Helzter to handle vocals and he brings ferocious energy and enthusiasm to the current incarnation of these pukecore pioneers. This one took place in a sweaty low-ceiling basement in northeast Portland, precisely how this band got its start and is intended to be heard! They blasted through a killer set that included Biermacht, Shark Attack, Gore Flix, Radical Dissection, Napalm ShowerUnited Shoe Brothers, Drink Jack/Beer, E!, Night of Pain and some other whirlwind bullshit I either didn't recognize or can't remember right now before encoring with an Accept cover! To top it all off, the Wild Dogs warmed up the night with a really fun set and later I got my ass kicked at the heavy metal foosball table. Portland actually has a pretty serious love for foosball- Tony Saiz of Xinr was a nationally recognized player- so imagine everyone's disappointment when they had to deal with an over excited "spinner" at the table.  Goddamn this was a fun night!

Photo by Amy Wright.

THE MOB
October 27, 2012
(Black Water Records - Portland, OR)

The Mob is one of my favorite UK peace punk bands of all time and if you're not already a fan I suggest you seek out their anthology Let The Tribe Increase immediately. Don't listen to the overcompensating cider swillers who call them "post-punk" or "emo" or whatever. Those terms didn't even exist when this trio was belting their hearts out for inevitably disinterested anarchist resource center squatters and I'm sure if you just downloaded their catalog online without the proper context they don't sound as ripping as, say, Axegrinder or Antisect or whatever band makes you strut around like a smug cunt. Anyway, I never thought I'd get to see these guys live so it was a real treat to see them twice in one week this year! The first show was admittedly a bit of a dud mostly because some smartass punk (I'm looking at you, Keith) booked them at the "intimate setting" of a bar not much bigger than my kitchen. The place was so packed we couldn't get in so we enjoyed a rare 35mm screening of Cannibal Holocaust across town and raced back just in time to slip into a room that smelled like a dirty diaper and caught the tail end of their set. Now's a good time for me to remind you all of another little pet peeve of mine. If you're not actually in the band or serving some function that is absolutely essential to the songs being performed, you should never linger on stage longer than it takes to find your footing and jump the fuck back off. Got that? My daughter grew up with The Mob in heavy rotation and can sing along with the most grizzled veterans among us so she ecstatically joined me for the last show of their North American tour at the newly re-established all-ages Blackwater. It's difficult to articulate the joy I experienced sharing an event like this with my beautiful little lady at my side but it was a night I'll truly never forget and I'm not ashamed to admit that I got a bit misty eyed during Our Life, Our World. This was just days before Halloween so my daughter was adorned as Death, which turned out to be perfectly appropriate for the barrage of depression they delivered with almost no unnecessary stage banter.  Feeling bad never felt so good!

I have no idea who took this photo but...thanks! We really need to work on our frowns.

Friday, December 07, 2012

BLOOD ON SANTA'S CLAWS


"There's no presents, not this Christmas!"
~King Diamond

The last time a 35mm print of Black Christmas rolled through town was back in 2008 so I'm basically re-posting my previous rant for this week's run at the Hollywood Theater (man, it just occurred to me that I've been bangin' away on this blog for six years now!). Bob "A Christmas Story" Clark directed this seminal holiday horror flick and laid down the blueprint for the entire slasher genre, popularizing archetypes (or cliches depending on your enthusiasm level) such as the deranged maniac calling from inside the house, predator's point-of-view camera angles, psycho-sexual undertones, and subverted holiday themes. This is one of my personal favorites and it holds up damn well considering it's almost 40 years old. Fun fact! Distributors were afraid it would be confused for a blaxploitation flick so it was retitled Silent Night, Evil Night for dumb American audiences. It was a box office flop until they re-marketed it with its original title. It also features John Saxon so wear your denim and leather!

Black Christmas
Hollywood Theater
12/7 - 12/13
9:30pm

"If this picture doesn't make your skin crawl... It's on too tight!"

Thursday, November 29, 2012

TELL YOUR WIMP FRIENDS...


I always knew Villains were men of fine taste. Here's photographic evidence from their gig with Eyehategod in Brooklyn last night. Check out that Destroying Angels shirt! That's the only endorsement I need.  Photo by Fred Passaro.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

THANKSGIVING PRAYER



A tradition around here.

Monday, November 19, 2012

LONG KNIFE! CHEMICALS! DREAD! FREAK OUT!


Come on down to the East End this Wednesday for a night of raw punk violence and plunger damage with Portland's drunkest, LONG KNIFE, THE DAGGERS and THE CHEMICALS!  I'll be providing the bad vibes and good times while you drink and smoke outside.  1, 2, CUT YOU!!!!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

S. CLAY WILSON UPDATE!


Check out this great new article written by underground art historian extraordinaire Patrick Rosenkranz.  Don't forget S. Clay Wilson!  He's still alive and kickin' and he was drawing skulls and pussy long before most of you could hold a pencil.  Or anything else for that matter.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

MIXCLOUD IS RAINING BLOOD!

The Halloween Mix Tape is now...STREAMING!


DREAD HALLOWEEN MIX TAPE!


Well, it seems the Cosmic Hearse has broken down in some parallel micro-galaxy but that won't stop this year's Halloween Mix Tape from taking full possession of your ears.  Light the candelabra and settle in for a cold conjuration, fiends. This 90 minute collection is slower, quieter and gentler than previous years...but no less haunted and perfectly suited for devilish meditation.  Sometimes the horror is only in your mind.  Sometimes the horror is quite real.  Scroll past the liner notes for download links.

Intro 
"You have entered the nightmare of lost souls..." 
Welcome back, Brothers and Sisters.

Psychomania Front Title ~ John Cameron 
British composer John Cameron and his merry band of Frog(s) created this groovy score for Psychomania in 1972, elevating the campy proceedings to a superior dimension by metamorphosing the Super Fuzz noodling of AIP biker flick soundtracks into a slinking masterpiece from beyond the grave.

What We Are Doing Here ~ No Future
No Future is the young old-souls of Uppsala’s In Solitude hailing their lineage from the death punk end of the spectrum. There are morbid echoes of Leather Nun, Bauhaus, Nick Cave, Sex Pistols and more obscure references in the mix but regardless of influences, their Jämtländska Mord demo was one of the more inspired things I’ve heard this year. 

666 ~ Ray Torske 
Prized private pressing gospel from 1974 that actually sounds about as irritating as the cover photograph suggests. There’s a lot of painful trumpet wailing and bleating going on but the title track 'Armageddon' and of course this snappy little admonishment will have you reaching for your rattlesnakes and holy water. Pass the ammunition and...TESTIFY! 

The Devil and His Disciples ~ George Lane and The Ranchers 
I don’t have any smartass remarks for George Lane or The Ranchers. I’m just glad I stumbled upon this beautiful single because few songs from any era have possessed the utter deadpan resolve and spiritual dread of this psychedelic love song gone to hell. 

Evil ~ Cactus 
Rough ballin’ New York proto-street metal circa 1971 featuring Carmine Appice of Vanilla Fudge on drums. When straggly white dudes attempt to cover Howlin’ Wolf it’s generally a recipe for wimpy disaster but these guiltless gliders got it right. I love how Rusty Day enunciates every word like he’s scarfin’ down a bag of dirt weed while cop lights flash in the rear view mirror. This one is for my family and friends on the east coast who are still without power.  I'm warning you, brothers. 

Hell ~ Rick Wakeman 
Linda Lewis’ over the fuckin’ top Dante recitation sounds like the dude from Flower Travellin’ Band sucking helium while playing mumbley-peg with his nuts…and if that ain’t eternal torment, I don’t know what is. Excessive coked-out Rick Wakeman jam from excessive coked-out Ken Russel flick about excessive Hungarian composer Franz Liszt which features enough perverse sexual shenanigans, swastikas and penis guillotines to make even Roger Daltry’s chiseled ass seem interesting.

Intermission with Uncle Roky 

Green Manalishi ~ Fleetwood Mac 
Not obscure by any means but every time I play this beautiful song in public I’m surprised by how few people recognize the original version. Peter Green was a genuinely tortured soul and you just can’t fake the dementia and terror that he captured so eloquently in this final contribution to his band before exiting stage left in a schizoid haze. Maybe the green manalishi was simply a metaphor for filthy lucre as he later claimed but there is something undeniably horrible lurking in this haunting ballad. 

Creeper ~ Griffin 
My favorite song from my favorite Shrapnel record! This LP is almost as perfect as Omen’s Battle Cry. If that badass griffin with heavy cross medallion on the cover doesn’t impress you, just flip it over and behold the band photo. Ball-crushing denim, white kicks, unzipped leather jackets, weird bone symbols on the trees and somebody’s mystical girlfriend in the background beckon you into the lair of TRUE heavy metal! The keg should arrive in about an hour. 

The Bridge ~ Victim 
And now a little set devoted to my bucolic place of birth: Sleepy Hollow. The mustached fellows of San Diego's Victim had the good taste to write an awfully catchy ballad to Washington Irving’s ghostly rider on their debut record before switching the line-up, shaving their facial hair and writing statutory rape jams that may or may not cause gonorrhea. It is worth noting that the hastily rendered dude on the cover is chewing what appears to be his own red, white and blue guitar. Why? Because he’s POWER HUNGRY! 

The Death of the Horseman ~ Sleepy Hollow 
I‘m pretty sure this song has nothing to do with Halloween despite the horseman reference in the title but the band is called Sleepy Hollow so shut the fuck up. Do you recognize that voice? Hint: it ain’t Udo. That’s Bob Mitchell from Attacker and holy shit his pipes are even more shrill and powerful than when he battled at Helms Deep! Despite the fact that this is one of the worst looking records I’ve ever seen, nobody can deny that these are some true as steel New Jerseyites. Take that Germany! 

Headless Excrutiator ~ Villains 
Another song that probably has nothing to do with Halloween yet contains the very essence of the season. If the headless horseman was resurrected in modern day New York I’m certain he would be about as nasty as this song. I have no idea why Villains isn’t a household name by now. The only reasonable explanation I can posit is that these urban barbarians ascribe to archaic principles and don’t necessarily play nice with others. Conan did not become King of Aquilonia overnight. 

Speak of the Devil ~ Toni Fisher 
You’re probably pretty bummed about this, huh? 

Sleepy Hollow Lane ~ C.A. Quintet 
C.A. Quintet hailed from the unlikely psychedelic tundra of St. Paul, Minnesota and recorded their entire discography between 1967 and 1969. Trip Thru Hell was their sole LP and for many years it was a pricy collector oddity that stared down mockingly at skid row occultniks like me from the top shelf of the wall. After a few miserable bootlegs made the rounds, the righteous weirdos at Sundazed did these guys right with an official DLP reissue in 1996 that pretty much collected their entire body of lite pop and finally allowed me to spin this record like my proverbial ship had come in. 

The Secrets: Devil's Hymn ~ Plus 
I don’t know much about this UK prog anomaly except that former Yardbird Simon Napier-Bell is credited with arrangement/production and it seems to have washed ashore on the same wave of quasi-religious hippy records that delivered Jesus Christ Superstar and Spooky Tooth’s Ceremony. Not well regarded among dickhead collector types, which is great news for you since you might still be able to score this classy die-cut gatefold for $8 if you look carefully. 

With Witches Help ~ Vortex 
You shouldn't be afraid of growing old because if you live long enough one of your longhair pals just might commemorate the occasion by kicking down a crazy fucking Dutch record like Vortex’s Metal Bats! I can’t even begin to describe the crosshatching dilemma that is occurring on the cover or explain why one of these bangers is decked out in corpse paint in that alley on the back cover but it was probably rather risqué in 1985 and I like it. I hear they recently released their fourth LP! 

She Came Like a Bat from Hell ~ Jerusalem 
See what I did? From Metal Bats to…ugh, never mind. You’ve been jamming this one for a few years now but I couldn’t resist including it here in my witchy medley. How could a record this incredible have been lost for so long? According to the liner notes, the central riff of this jam was one of the first these blokes wrote which places it somewhere around 1966 when they first started learning their instruments. Way ahead of the heaviness curve. 

Panic ~ Christopher Komeda
The jazz freak-out version of Komeda's lief motif is one of my favorite moments on the all-around fantastic Rosemary's Baby soundtrack so I threw this snippet in as a teaser.  I recently had the pleasure of viewing a beautiful 35mm print of this film and was reminded that the book around which the plot unfolds is titled All Of Them Witches, which brings us around to... 

All Of Them Witches ~ Stark Naked 
“Serpent Jesus, snake of Christ nailed to a cross of…” Whoa! Glenn Danzig probably owes some royalties to these Long Island doobie smokers for that killer riff he swiped on Lucifuge. That’s ok. These dudes swiped the title of their song from Rosemary’s Baby. Honestly, the rest of this record doesn't even come close to the splendor of this 8 minute epic but it’s pretty solid so stop whining about how rock 'n' roll was stolen from the blues and find yourself a copy right now. 

Unexplained ~ Ataraxir 
What’s really unexplained is why the front cover credits these “electronic musical impressions of the occult” to Ataraxir when the back cover clearly reveals that it’s actually ol’ Mort Garson of Black Mass infamy. Anyway, this record is arguably better than Lucifer (which was featured on my first Halloween mix tape a few years ago) but it’s sorta tough to find in decent shape these days. “At last the world of the Occult has found voice in music…” 

Supernatural Voodoo Woman ~ The Originals 
More abject disappointment. What can I say? If you can’t get down with this soulful joint from the 1974 blaxploitation zombie flick Sugar Hill you’re probably racist. 

Horror Movie ~ Skyhooks 
Melbourne, Australia’s Skyhooks sorta looked like the Village People after being punked by Agony Bag but their real claim to fame was penning Women in Uniform which was famously (prodigiously!) covered by Iron Maiden in 1980. This weirdo glam jam was their 1975 single and it’s pretty great. 

Lady Killer ~ Killer 
From Australia we leap up to Switzerland where these young midnight highway riders applied AC/DC’s swagger to their shirtless meat market stomp and penned this titular power anthem about…um…killing ladies. Every time I play this at the bar I think somebody’s car alarm is going off. I just wish they would put their shirts back on. 

Unhinged Trailer ~ Jon Newton 
Unhinged is an agonizingly slow-paced but mercifully short 1982 slasher flick filmed entirely in Portland, Oregon that gained undue notoriety when it was pulled from video store shelves and added to Britain’s “video nasties” blacklist. What many gorehounds don’t realize, mostly because it was difficult to find before the days of Youtube, is that the score by Portland State University faculty member Jon Newton is an overlooked lo-fi synth gem!  Here's a little teaser. 

My Autumn’s Done Come ~ Lee Hazelwood 
Welcome to the very special world of Lee Hazelwood. It’s a nice place to visit but you probably don’t want to live there. Booze, broads, pills and pain. You’ll never get out of this world alive. 

Into The Night ~ Angelo Badalamenti
This mesmerizing Twin Peaks composition is immediately recognizable and somehow invokes profound nostalgia upon first listen even if you don't give a rat's ass about the supernatural television-drama-cum-cult-phenomenon. Disorienting flourishes such as Julee Cruise's almost inaudible opening whisper and that slowed-down tape effect that makes it sound like your record is warped for a split second conjure the gloomy isolation of autumn nights and lend perfect closure to this year’s mix tape. Happy Halloween!


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

DEVIL'S NIGHT: HAPPY BIRTHDAY JIM OSBORNE

Today we celebrate the birth of Jim Osborne, one of the great unsung legends of American underground art.  Do a casual search and you're likely to turn up only a few random threads of dubious information, personal anecdotes and artwork.  That's exactly why I set out to chase down a few of his intimate associates a while back in an effort to memorialize his legacy and create the first footnoted snapshot of his obscure life.  It certainly ain't a definitive biography, but it's a start.  Had he not exited the world prematurely in 2001, Mr. Osborne would most certainly have appreciated the lascivious irony that he would be celebrating his 69th year today...with a full moon!  To celebrate the occasion, I humbly present my entire article as it originally appeared in Destroying Angels #10 and Roctober #48.  If you can't read it on your computer screen, I've provided a link to the PDF download below.  Be sure to 69 your special someone and take a big swig of Jim Beam on this Devil's Night as we honor the Black Prince of the Comix Underground and see our comrades on the east coast through another long dark night.  Happy Birthday, Jim!   


Download ARMAGEDDON MAN as a PDF HERE.

Monday, October 29, 2012

HORRID HYMNS (Part 10): PHANTASM


Phantasm 
Fred Myrow and Macolm Seagrave 

Here it is, BOY!!!! The spacegate to infinity. The proverbial Philosopher's Stone of original motion picture soundtracks incarnated as elusive shiny black wax. The if-you-only-own-one-soundtrack-make-it-this-one phantasmagoria of terror that drills itself into your worthless skull like a silver sphere from some nightmarish infrared rift in the space-time continuum. From the moment Intro/Main Title slithers into a cymbal/drum roll and those haunting Carpenter-esque keyboard notes take hold of your soul you know this ain't gonna be your typical Critter Skitter. The morbid organs of Welcome to Morningside are like the moodier parts of Skepticism (a very good 90's band that also experimented with tritonal intervals and predated the current snooze trend toward one-note-per-hour funeral doom) and effortlessly transition into the Milford Graves percussive clamber of Hand in a Box before completely decomposing into that electronic maggots squirming sound that I love so much- it actually sounds exactly like the scene in Lucio Fulci's Zombie Flesh Eaters where the festering undead shamble through Matool in broad daylight and the camera swirls dizzyingly a la Brian DePalma before zooming in on one particularly hapless bastard's missing ear (that's right, the one track the numbskulls at Death Waltz omitted from their recent reissue that can be heard in all its glory on the 1998 Blackest Heart Media tribute CD as The Dead on Main Street/Voodoo Rising). And speaking of Fulci, there's no way Frizzi was not inspired to some degree by Phantasm when he wrote his wonderful score for The Beyond. Just listen to Hearse Inferno released two years earlier and tell me you don't hear it. According to the liner notes, Myrow and Seagrave composed this music for "a battery of exotic percussion instruments including bells, chimes, bowed gongs, scraper sticks on cymbals, and virtually the entire percussion section of a symphony orchestra, together with a Yamaha YC30 Synthesizer, Clavinet, Fender Electric Piano 88, Mellotron utilizing voice and flute tracks, and an old upright piano." Damn. See what can happen when you don't spend all day updating your Facebook status?  I suppose you want me to address Silver Sphere Disco? What can I say? A lot of horror soundtracks from this era had some sort of disco theme (Ortolani's Cannibal Holocaust, Lalo Schifrin's The Amityville Horror and Harry Manfredini's Friday the 13th Part 3 immediately boogie to mind) because even the most high/low-minded cult art house film is mired with inherent fiscal considerations and the thinking was probably that infusing a soundtrack with popular dancey bullshit gave 'em a fighting chance with mainstreams who stumbled into the theater unawares. I'm shaking my ass to it right now. By the way, "morbid organs" is a great band name. You can use that.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

HORRID HYMNS (Part 9): THE THING


The Thing 
Ennio Morricone 

If you’ve actually been reading this blog all week you probably already guessed that I’m not particularly fond of orchestral soundtracks (you’re also probably very lonely and should get outdoors more often). When a score is too straight or too bombastic I get distracted by the artifice and can’t lose myself in the total atmosphere that great music should invoke, especially great soundtrack music. Of course there are some fantastic orchestral scores but generally I prefer when composers make it personal and follow a darker muse into terra incognita. Or as the longhairs in Danava put it so eloquently, shoot straight with a crooked gun. Morricone is a musician/composer of unfathomable depth and you don't need an essay from some cranky old jackass who should probably be doing the laundry to tell you that his deceptively minimalist music for John Carpenter’s spectacular re-make of The Thing is an orchestral score to be reckoned with. The plodding bass-driven tension builds to a frenzied climax of utter paranoia and contagious disgust that begins to resemble a swarm of pestilent blowflies and inadvertently becomes the perfect soundtrack to our current election War on Terrorism where every neighbor is suspect and every weirdo kid in black a potential Dark Knight shooter. “Somebody in this camp ain't what he appears to be. Right now that may be one or two of us. By spring, it could be all of us.” Roll up your sleeves. Time to burn that blood, pal. You should already know the drill but, just in case, pull down the shades and skip right to side two, song two: Humanity (Part 2). Man is still the warmest place to hide.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

HORRID HYMNS (Part 8): HALLOWEEN III


Halloween III 
John Carpenter and Alan Howarth 

If only you could see me now, dragging nine feet of headphone cord as I pace the room anguishing over how to condense a lifetime of...what's the opposite of lucrative?...futile obsession into an impossible "top ten" list when suddenly I'm confronted with the hopeless conundrum of choosing a favorite John Carpenter score. I'm immediately partial to Prince of Darkness, mostly because Carpenter cast Alice "Monster Dog" Cooper in an awkward cameo which seemed like a fitting gesture of gratitude considering Halloween Theme/Main Title echoes almost identically the opening 12 seconds of Cooper's 1975 creeper Steven from Welcome to My Nightmare...which in turn is something of a Tubular Bells belch...which further underscores our central premise here regarding the occult roots of horror and heavy metal. Ultimately it's a coin toss but I'll go with Halloween III today since so many fans initially wrote it off for abandoning the slasher formula that its predecessors pioneered in favor of Conal Cochran's admittedly asinine plot to sacrifice trick or treaters with a TV jingle. Silly heathen. All he had to do to destroy Halloween was slip cyanide into a few bottles of Extra Strength Tylenol and let the copy cat crimes do the rest. Do you remember the infamous "Tylenol Scare" of 1982? I do. It effectively ruined the only decent holiday Americans ever had and marked an end to a particularly enjoyable chapter of my childhood. Almost overnight the streets were empty and the undead were driven back to their crypts by PTA moms and community center safety dances. Halloween III was released the same month. Unlike Richard Band who fancies his music a crucial third dimension to the total cinematic experience, Carpenter has always maintained that his compositions are "intended to support the visual image, and that enjoyment of the music by itself is a secondary result." Makes sense when you consider that he and Howarth composed this stuff while watching a time coded video of the movie so it would synch perfectly with the imagery. It's also awfully modest and pragmatic and completely underestimates how thoroughly enjoyable this record is with the lights out. Four more days 'til Halloween! It's almost time, kids. The clock is ticking. Don't forget to wear your masks. It's almost time...

Friday, October 26, 2012

HORRID HYMNS (Part 7): FROM BEYOND


From Beyond 
Richard Band 

The logical thing to do at this point in the week is slit my wrists and bleed for Claudio Simonetti, Fabio Frizzi or Buddy Maglione. Instead I'm gonna celebrate blue-collar American underdog Richard Band. Band is probably the most prolific composer in this roundup but you don't hear his name dropped with the same hushed reverence as his towering Pasta Land contemporaries or prodigious Yankee squares such as Jerry Goldsmith or Walter Wendy Carlos (um…not square) and that's probably because he's scored quite a few films that are best enjoyed as posters. I'm talkin' Time Warrior: Trapped on Toy World and Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared Syn. With over 75 scores on his resume he's certainly hacked out some repetitive snoozers over the past three decades but he's also turned in a few minor masterpieces such as Re-Animator, Troll, Terrorvision and of course this career pinnacle for the other beyond. I love this record not only because the back cover is a crude geometric silhouette of Jeffrey Combs that twitches in one's peripheral vision like a strychnine tracer but also because it's a genuinely weird and totally cinematic listening experience that doesn't let its playful sense of humor undermine its moments of sublime T-E-R-R-O-R. Stylistically it is very similar to Re-Animator which was released one year earlier and sounds like the tenth sub-basement of Pee Wee's Playhouse if it was located in that brownstone from Michael Winner's The Sentinel. Band tends to season his orchestral horror with incongruous jaunty melodies and quirky drum pad syncopation that is probably extremely disappointing for the ritual frowners but immensely fun for those of us who like to shotgun tallboys down at the gulch. C'mon, this dude scored Ghoulies...and his fuckin' dad produced it! Band has Hollywood pedigree but he actually landed his first industry gig in 1978 by walking right up to Halloween producer Irwin Yabland, who was poised on the brink of unprecedented indie success thanks to "The Shape", and simply asked for a job. According to Band he was given $1,000 and an opportunity to score a flick called Laserblast (never seen it) and he's kept himself pretty busy ever since. You should really check out his website cause he's selling autographed Troll cassette tapes for $10.  Yes, autographed.  Go ahead.  I'll be here when you get back.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

HORRID HYMNS (Part 6): VIDEODROME


Videodrome 
Howard Shore 

"Today we are witness to the dawn of a new communications era..." Bleep. Bloop. Bleep. Buzz. Now here's a soundtrack that definitely won't get you laid (come to think of it, none of these will) but who needs a "significant other" when you've got headphones and Howard Shore's genuinely unsettling future-kill kompositions attacking your central nervous system? Shore is a brilliant soundtrack composer capable of manipulating the spectrum of human emotion with the mere push of a finger or swing of his conductor's wand. He wears black suits and combs his tuft of dignified silvery locks back from his decidedly high brow like a crown. He has won awards and moved millions with his Lord of the Rings scores. More importantly for our dark purposes today, he has closely collaborated with David Cronenberg ever since the heady "body horror" days of The Brood and with very few exceptions has scored some of the Canadian maestro's finest moments. Just beyond those quirky black-framed glasses that suggest all the stable pretense of the yawning intelligentsia there is a mischievous twinkle in his eyes. One gets the creeping feeling that he has perhaps devoted more than the usual amount of time thinking of new ways to inflict pain. Ok, he's probably a smart well-adjusted citizen. But none of that good-natured charm is evidenced on the seven pulsating, throbbing, seismic tracks that comprise the Videodrome soundtrack. It ain't exactly like listening to a hooker vomit on some asshole's shaft for seven minutes but, note for note, this score gives Taint a run for his money for sheer malefic atmosphere and plain ol' bad vibes. Noise hipsters think they're pretty "post-deconstructive" or whatever but few can sip their cocktail comfortably when 801 A/B is hissing and oscillating through the channels like some terrible electronic parasite. Trust me. They run straight back to the tattoo parlor and get their ears stretched wider. Apparently this entire record was "realized on Synclavier II" but there was also a synth programmer, two computer programmers, a sound FX programmer (what does that even mean?) and a dude credited with the sound FX montage that occasionally slips into the mix and makes you feel like the turntable is breathing and Debbie Harry is about to extinguish another cigarette on the pale orb of her perfect breast. Apparently, it takes a village.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

HORRID HYMNS (Part 4): CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST


Cannibal Holocaust 
Riz Ortolani 

These nasty savages really know how to party! Ruggero Deodato's chunk blower magnum opus is like National Geographic Gone Wild with swingin' tits, thongs, skinny dipping, mud wrestling, vaginal impalement, guerrilla gang rape, forced ritual abortion, jagged rock castration...wait. I wanna go home! WAAAAA!!!! This mean-spirited journey into the heart of darkness makes the usual disembowelment and organ munching of sleazy 1970's mondo "shockumentaries" seem downright quaint in comparison.  The blitzkrieg narrative rolls your eyeballs straight down that last bumpy road to hell and the final devastating reel when our hapless gringo journalists scatter through the jungle popping off flare gun rounds as ash-smeared natives advance is truly unsettling. Then of course there's the unforgivable sea turtle mutilation that compels even the most emotionally stunted goretard among us to flinch. They just don't make movies like this anymore. And that's probably a good thing. This is simply one of the most cruel, uncomfortable and powerful films you will ever experience and Riz Ortolani's beautiful score is one of the most stirring, memorable and disturbing of all time. I've taken more than the recommended dosage over the years and still can't quite put my finger on why this soundtrack is so effective. It's really not so different from his kinda lame 1962 debut for Mondo Cane (a film that had a profound influence on Deodato's gonzo directorial style), which is basically oddly buoyant easy listening with an occasional brooding note thrown in to remind us jive ass honkies that we're supposed to be appalled as well as titillated. Perhaps it's the incongruous juxtaposition of soothing sickly sweet orchestral lullabies with plodding low-fi synths, shrieking ghost tones and funerary violin. One minute it sounds like Cat Stevens is about to rub lotion on your feet and the next minute you're curled up behind the couch in a fetal position while tribal Casio drums slash through the living room foliage. Ortolani does inexplicable things with wah wah peddles that would make me want to punch Edie Brickell in the face under normal circumstances but somehow it scares the shit out of me in this context. I literally look over my shoulder when I'm blasting this in the drawing chamber at 3am. Three jaded decades of bukkake porn and internet cartel beheadings have done nothing to soften the terrible impact of this film. That's because despite the unnecessary animal abuse (it's awful) and embarrassing "social message" (Third World cannibals are definitely a First World problem), this is undeniably masterful exploitation film making. In other words, this is a GREAT film...within a film.  In fact, it was transgressive cinema like this that effectively put an end to underground comix back in the 70's. How could a buncha' scruffy sad sacks with rapidographs possibly ruffle the feathers of the bourgeois status quo with crazy shit like this being blasted across huge theater screens for about the same price as a 20 page funny book? Answer: they couldn't. When it comes to far-out kicks, nothing beats the Green Inferno. And guess what? Portland's Hollywood Theater will be screening the only known 35mm print in existence TONIGHT courtesy of Dan Halsted's ongoing Grindhouse Film Festival! Bring a barf bag and prepare to be dumped by your date. Seriously, you're gonna need a safe word. Peeewwww. Peeewwww.

Monday, October 22, 2012

HORRID HYMNS (Part 3): NOSFERATU


Nosferatu 
Popol Vuh 

Nothing even remotely frightening or disturbing about this lush soundtrack. Just pure ritual drone with vaguely ethnic influences courtesy of Germany's pioneering kraut rock experimentalists Popol Vuh. Legend has it this would have been their next album, to be titled On The Way To a Little Way, but when Werner Herzog heard it while filming his stylish but mostly faithful re-make of F.W. Murnau's 1922 Nosferatu (which was itself swiped from Bram Stoker's Dracula and unceremoniously re-titled to avoid lawsuits when they couldn't secure rights to the novel) he insisted that it be used for his film and my Egg Records pressing has both titles on the cover. There is a very calming raga-like tonal quality to this record that is very suitable for introspection. In fact, side one is bookended with Mantra I and Mantra II (revisited on side two with Zwiesprache Der Rohrfloete Mit Der) which would not be entirely out of place on a Pandit Pran Nath record with what sounds like electrified sitar and tombak. To translate that into terms you patch-jacket types can understand, I don’t know much about Necros Christos but I wouldn't be surprised if this record had some small but powerful influence on their instrumental interludes and tendency to arrange songs into numbered themes. Just a theory. Side two opens with the ghostly theremin dirge of the title track followed by Through Pains to Heaven II which might well have influenced Coil a few years later and apparently Opeth had the good taste to employ as intro stage music. The whole tasteful shebang is wrapped up with closer Zwiesprache der Rohrflote which is the closest we get to a straightforward jam and which somehow beautifully pulls together the album's disparate elements in one totally satisfying prog-rock doobie smoker. Exhale. Sunrise. Incinerate.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

HORRID HYMNS (Part 2): BLOOD ON SATAN'S CLAW


Blood on Satan's Claw 
Marc Wilkinson 

To all the cunts who recently purchased those Mondo reissues and immediately flipped them on E-Bay for $140: I wish you all had one neck and I had my hands around it. Of course this frustrating tendency is endemic to the same miserable fucks who watched their SunnO))) stock plummet and before that their Japanese hardcore punk. I could go on and on about how easy it was to pluck great soundtracks (and lots of not-so-great soundtracks) out of the $1 bins back in the not-so-distant day but that would only raise my blood pressure and as a sympathetic friend reminded me the other day, it's just not worth the effort. After all, the current soundtrack craze will soon join the hula hoop, the mickey mouse hat, the Beta video, the Myspace bulletin and the porno grind sample on that inevitable death march toward total obsolescence. Furthermore, there are occasionally unexpected surprises that come with such reappraisals that bring great joy to real fans. Thanks to the tireless efforts of laudable cinephiles like Jonny Trunk of Trunk Records, some soundtracks have only emerged in the past decade or so due to the commercial revival that makes such endeavors even remotely viable. Take for instance this delightful score to Piers Haggard's 1971 period piece The Blood on Satan's Claw which was entirely unreleased until Trunk lovingly corrected this terrible oversight in 2007 with a modest no-frills vinyl release (incidentally, Trunk was also the first to issue the monumental Wicker Man soundtrack back in 1998 but I'm excluding that masterpiece from consideration today because it lacks the supernatural themes of Satan's Claw and does not meet my strict criteria as a horror film). It's true that much of this record repeats the same maddening scale over and over again and when I play it in public the Thin Lizzies smirk and immediately insert their earbuds. To properly appreciate its grand satanic splendor one must remember that it was released two years prior to Jack Nietzsche's Academy Award winning score for The Exorcist and astute listeners will detect faint ancestral DNA in such songs as Fiend Discovered and especially Angel's Claw and Judge by Fireside. I hear Nietzsche himself may have stolen that infamous sound from Magma but I can't attest to that theory.  Nonetheless, something was definitely in the water back then. Australian born composer Marc Wilkinson trained under Edgar Varèse (the electronic music pioneer for whom the original specialty soundtrack label Varèse Sarabande was named in homage...this shit runs deep!) and his first collaboration with Haggard was a studied exploration of devilish notes and fiendish timbre. That descending chromatic scale that drives people nuts is the infamous tritone interval that since dark medieval times was known as the Devil's Interval and it is made all the more unsettling on this record with the use of two unusual instruments, the Ondes Mertenot and the cimbalom, which provide the "big swoops" and "very pungent sounds" that characterize Wilkinson's main motif. I'm thinking this had to have had some influence on Nietzsche's Tubular Bells. And where the fuck would we be without Tubular Bells? To put it all in perspective, remember that Argento made Goblin listen to The Exorcist as they prepared to score Deep Red. And recall that William Lustig insisted that Jay Chattaway listen to Goblin as he prepared his score for Maniac. I told you this shit runs deep, man.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

HORRID HYMNS (Part 1): THE DUNWICH HORROR

BOO!  I hope you don't expect me to shut the fuck up any time soon because this happens to be my favorite time of the year and I'm feeling rather...spirited.  Over the course of the next week or so I'll be rantin' and ravin' about some of my favorite spooky soundtracks with a post every day right around midnight.  You'll be begging for Christmas carols by the time I'm finished.  Let's face it, most soundtracks offer one or two awe-inspiring diamonds and a whole lotta rust- consider Luciano Michelini's Screamers or Pino Donaggio's Carrie for example- but some scores terrorize your ears from beginning to end.  Those are the records I'll be praising.  I'm purposely leaving out a few obvious choices because I figure you numbnuts already hum Suspiria and The Shining in your sleep and I'd rather spend time with a few lesser celebrated classics but most of these will be pretty easy to acquire with a little digging in the usual places.  Dim the lights and let's get started...


The Dunwich Horror 
Les Baxter 

Our jaunt down the twisted path of horror soundtracks begins, appropriately enough, with the swingin' sounds of eternal cool cat Les Baxter. If we were to trace the lineage of horror flicks and 'eavy metal back to the roots of their maligned romance we would find ourselves in the unlikely exotic jungles of this wildly prolific happy-go-lucky American composer. Why? Because it was Baxter who scored the moody orchestral movements for the 1964 American International Pictures release of Mario Bava's classy horror anthology Black Sabbath that famously intrigued a certain band of Birmingham rat-salad smokers and the rest, as they say, is history. From that fateful day forward these distinct but equally loathed genres have been joined at the crotch like bastard Siamese Twins locked in perpetual coitus, spawning an endless brood and screaming, "...BONDED BY BLOOD!!!!" Occasionally the lusty connection is startling, such as when Dario Argento employed popular NWOBHM acts for Phenomenon or (and now the lineage is getting deep) when Mario Bava's son Lamberto Bava licensed Motley Crue, Saxon and Accept songs for his 1985 film Demons. Other times it is slightly subtler, such as when Iron Maiden immortalized The Phantom of the Opera or Negative Plane opened Et In Saecula Saeculorum with Fabio Frizzi's stirring overture (or when Sweden’s Head of the Demon paid homage to this very film on their debut LP!). But the connection between horror and heavy music is always present and its allure is palpable on this beautiful Lovecraftian score originally released in 1970, coincidentally the same year as Black Sabbath's titular debut, under the excellent title Music of the Devil God Cult: Strange Sounds From Dunwich. Imagine if you will the artist at work, sipping some tropical drink from a coconut shell carved into the shape of Cthulhu and twiddling a lei made of monkey skulls whilst whistling the diabolical melodies that would comprise one of the finest soundtracks ever recorded. Now revel in the gentle vibrating sounds of Sensual Hallucinations as they lull you into a Strange Sleep, sway to the beckoning bongos at the Cult Party, swagger and boom to the sultry strut of Necronomicon, cower before the Devil Cult and finally succumb to the snazzy thrall of the Devil's Witchcraft...all while doing the dishes in the comfort of your own home. Next time you're out on the town bangin' your head, raise a tiki goblet to Les Baxter for whipping up soundtracks so provocative and otherworldly that, without even knowing, he somehow helped shape the obsession that has kept you a virgin well into your adult years. Snap your fingers and tap your toes. The sacrifice is about to begin...