HAIRY HALLOWEEN III

What’s that creaking and groaning? Ghosts? Vamps? Haunted floorboards?

No. It’s a barrel being scraped … welcome to a Halloween playlist that doesn’t even have a proper theme. Last year we had a bunch of creep-o cover versions, now we’re just repeating a formula – metallic spook ’em up tunes, retro-naff rock vids, seasonal nostalgia, you know the score – and beating it into a shallow grave, just like any good slasher film franchise.

But what mood are we going for this Halloween? Let’s use album cover art as yardsticks. If we get it right, we have summat that feels as good as this artwork looks:

the right vibe

If we get it a bit wrong:

not right, is it?

And if it’s a disaster…

???????????????

Let the music begin.

SECRET CHIEFS 3 – UR – Pesonnae: Halloween Mix III
Holy disco volante! Mr Bungle have a new album out TODAY, twenty bloody years after the last one and it couldn’t be better timed, so let’s use that event to milk a Trey Spruance connection – let’s fill our sweetless buckets with this, a Season of the Glitch version of the mother of all chiller theme tunes.

CATHEDRAL – Funeral of Dreams
Halloween nights are damp. And draughty. And nothing captures damp draughts quite like Cathedral. Must be the flares. Obviously, they’ve got oodles of doom crawlers in their back catalogue but that’s not what we want today – we want some sort of pulse, not flatlines, and this little tinker has an unholy blend of right-on riffage, ghost choir, church bells and general tippy-toe creepabouts. Sorted.

ADAM AND THE ANTS – Ants Invasion
Nothing builds tension quite like a man running away from … ants. Does it? Erm … anyway, check the terror elements packed into this deeper Wild Frontier cut: scratchy-ominous guitar motif. Time running out. Wrong decisions. A lifeless man, a strange incision. Fear. ANTS. Fucking ants, man. Biting guitars, mind.

ELECTRIC WIZARD – Wizard in Black
Dopethrone is more celebrated, but Come My Fanatics is more B-movie, and right now we’re all about the low budgets. And tiny drums. And a Hammer House Satan opening his bowels in the background. A double-wizard bonus, does it get any more Halloween than this?

HELLOWEEN – Kids of the Century
Helloween aren’t remotely Halloween, except their track Halloween (which is totally Halloween but a bit long. Great intro though). Anyway, the metal pumpkins are here, as are fried egg eyes, forks, bloody hands, floating guitars and shite-knows-what. YES.

SLAYER – Gemini
You can’t beat a slow thrash for maximum intensity … hang on what is this, S&M Weekly? NO. It’s Slayer, crushing bones with their super slow serial killer intro thing. No kinks in this one.

CLIPPING – Nothing is Safe
You know when you watch a fire and get mesmerised by the flames, so much so that you don’t realise you’re getting closer and closer until you smell your own eyebrows burning? That’s a bit what this is like. All hail Clipping.

ALICE COOPER – (He’s Back) The Man Behind the Mask
It’s hard to believe that videos like this ever got made, such is their monumental shitness. But they did, and all Halloweens from then on are eternally grateful. Aren’t we? [Smashed pottery spoiler alert: HE’S OUT OF CONTROL].

HAPPY HALLOWEEN, see you in the Sinister Funkhouse. No?

WORLD WENT MAD. JAZ WENT BLACK AND RED

JULY & AUGUST REWIND: JAZ COLEMAN, CLIPPING AND DUMA BRING THE URGENCY

What’s the big metal news of the last month? Metallica’s S&M2, of course – unless you hate Metallica, in which case the simultaneous ending of their Metallica Mondays gigs will be the bigger treat.

The S&M2 release won’t be exactly the same as last October’s cinema version, though I’m not sure what’s changed (haven’t played the DVD yet) but let’s hope it’s nothing too major. The original cut was musical cine-manna to me and damned near untoppable.

Right then, now for some scattered new tunes, including Nairobi noisecore from Kenya’s most extreme musical export. Probably. And you’ve GOT to stick around for that … haven’t you?

FRAN LOBO – Monster

Danceable industrial beats infused with liquid, near-gospel vocals …Fran Lobo’s Monster feeds our musical need for connection, shared experience and movement, somehow blending hard-edged rhythm and soul in a very heavy duty hip shifter. Welcome to a new church.

SHACKLETON/ZIMPEL – Primal Forms

Got 17 minutes to fill? Try this hypnotic body-soul stretch of hum, thrum, clarinet, electronics and shiteloads more. Always moving, always shifting focus, Primal Forms feels like an unfolding voyage through jazz-minded primal trance. To where? Wherever your headspace dictates. And if that happens to be an imagined mountain ensemble with urban tech trappings, fair enough.

CLIPPING – Say the Name

Candlesticks in the dark, visions of bodies being burned. So goes the chorus. No punches pulled, it looks and feels like social comment even though it continues the horror themes of There Existed an Addiction to Blood last year. But you’d expect nothing less from Clipping, and whatever concept drives their next album Visions of Bodies Being Burned (due in October), it will be timely and it will say something. Check the lyric video for Say the Name.

DUMA – Lionsblood

Duma’s album is reviewed in this month’s Metal Hammer. They’re a two-piece from Nairobi. And once you’ve heard this track, you’ll be giving massive credits to Mary Anne Hobbs for playing it on the radio at 2.50pm on a Thursday afternoon on BBC 6 Music. It’s like being trapped under a pneumatic drill with black-metal screams. Total overload and a mind-clearingly hostile assault …. burn your ears through Bandcamp then open your eyes to the lo-fi creepster vid.

BLACK AND RED – On the Day the Earth Went Mad

Jaz Coleman hooks up with didgeridoo ace (yes) Ondrej Smeykal under the Black and Red banner to give us exactly the kind of thing we want and need from His Jaz-ness – social comment with a bruising backdrop. Unlike his Killing Joke voice, there is no roar from JC here. Instead, On the Day…. sees him singing with restraint over crunching electro menace, intermittent shards of distortion and church-like symphonic swells, forging elegance and class from destruction and collapse. It’s the sort of thing Ministry should have grown into but never did. Looks like Coleman stepped up instead. Good job.

If that wasn’t enough of a Coleman hit for the month, he and Youth put out their Occular record – not a Killing Joke wannabe but an ice cool flow of instrumentals. Get a sample.

’til next time!

amplifier wordsmith: the monthly rewind

amplifier wordsmith: the monthly rewind