Tag Diving: HORROR (part 2)
Tag diving is a lot like dumpster diving. But instead of digging through garbage and finding a fully functional VCR that does everything except work, I browse a tag on Bandcamp and share neat music with you. Today, we pick up where we left off long ago with the “horror” tag.
On part one of our horror tag exploration, the balanced skewed more toward non-metal acts. I’ve definitely included more heaviness this time, but when working my way through the tag I got bogged down with SO. MUCH. AWFUL ELECTRONIC MUSIC. Yes, we all like John Carpenter. No, we’re not all actually John Carpenter. The road to completing this journey was also clogged with the wreckage of a thousand dark ambient albums quietly and slowly smashing into each other. I don’t dislike that style, but not all of them can possibly achieve some overstated goal like “unlocking the inner horror of the universe through ominous field recordings, ambient drone, and harrowing samples.” They can, however, make me take a nap. Check out the stuff I did include, and do so knowing that I suffered on your behalf.
Does anyone know anything about rockabilly? Is it still a thing? When/where/who was rockabilly? I’ve largely ignored it because of my perception of its fanbase, which I realize is very hypocritical from a person entrenched in the metal world. Aaaaaaanyway (pretty smooth deflection), rockabilly is luckily only one of a few reference points for Graveyard Train‘s sound. There’s also a grim, gritty country vibe of yesteryear, a distinctly dark folkiness, and, as our current tag suggests, a backwoods horror flavor that I find absolutely addicting. Despite the band hailing from Australia, they absolutely nail a dark Americana sound. This certainly isn’t metal, but I think a fair amount of us will appreciate these guys.
I’m a bit confused with this next band. I can’t decide whether Cannibal Girls started as a doom band, then got bored and just sped up all their riffs, or if they started as a thrash band, then got tired and slowed down all their riffs. Either way, they sit right in that middle tempo range and relentlessly deliver some righteously satisfying death metal. Melodic fragments weave in and out of the riffs, fist-pounding rhythms accent the upbeat, and the result is a punishingly catchy concoction with a broad appeal. To top it all off, the vocals are nothing short of monstrous. Just imagine a giant, drooling beast with a sickly smile looming over the whole thing.
Despite our shared frenzy of keeping up with new releases, everyone somehow missed the debut album Le Noir Village by Créatures. Guys. We really dropped the ball. This album rules. However, I’m not going to pretend that it’s for everyone, as it’s something of a different beast than your typical album. Le Noir Village “tells the story of a twelfth-century countryside village getting attacked by terrifying monsters. As in opera, all the characters of the tale are being enacted by different singers who are first person narrators to help the music tell the story.” As you might imagine, there is a very broad range of musical and vocal styles, but it is truly and consistently compelling throughout the six long tracks. The closest genre reference would be black metal, but as if often the case in 2016, that label can both be generally true and wildly inaccurate. Although the lyrics are in French, the music deftly communicates moments of tranquility, intrigue, suspense, reverence, looming horror, and frenzied chaos. Get on it!
I’m unapologetically covering a band we’ve featured before, because I think a lot of us responded positively when Dagon covered Goreshack in a post earlier this year. But, if you’re like me, you added it to the list of a dillion other things you need to come back to and it got lost in the shuffle. I was really glad to come across them in the horror tag because since that post, these surf-inspired deathgrinders have released another five song EP that absolutely RIPS. I can say without a doubt that if you’re a fan of death metal and also of having fun, there’s nothing in this release you can possibly object to. The core of their sound is filthy, raw, and aggressive, while the clear addition of thrashy, wild surf rock makes for an intensely addicting package. These guys are absolutely staying in my rotation this time.
Making a sharp left turn, we now come to hole house. I mentioned before that I came across a hilarious amount of really boring dark ambient albums, but I’m very glad I powered through and eventually clicked play on a stranger in town. I’m not particularly well-versed in the world of drone/field recording albums, but I love that this album doesn’t draw itself out or insist upon itself; the tracks rarely reach the three minute mark and they all feature hauntingly captivating yet diverse soundscapes. Call it a short attention span if you’d like, but the feeling I take away from the shorter run time is one of quiet tension, an ever-lurking sense of malaise beneath a deceptively still snapshot of urban decay. Visit Aetheric Records’ Bandcamp page to read more about the sound sources for this excellent album, and listen to the whole thing through when you can.
Let’s finish with some horror-worship black metal. Diabolos may have a fairly cringeworthy album cover for Cannibal Darkness, but it certainly fits the splatter-movie aesthetic they bring. Their raw and grimy approach to black metal really sealed the deal, and the furious blasting energy kept me hooked through the entire album. The guitar work sometimes takes a few notes from the death metal playbook, and there’s not much tremolo riffing to be found despite the album’s black metal core. It definitely works though, and the constant sampling from horror movies keeps that heavier energy moving forward in a satisfying raging fashion.
Check out the horror tag for yourself on Bandcamp, and comment below with anything I missed!