Chuck Foster was raised on horror and science fiction by his late-night horror host father, Grimsley. In his early teens, he discovered punk rock and became an avid music collector while allowing his obsession with horror movies to flourish. Since 2002, he has written about music for such publications as The New York Waste, Under the Volcano, The Big Takeover and Bigtakeover.com and he is the music editor for Secondflightstudio.com. He has explored various styles of music with his own projects and has written a screenplay, which is currently under option, with co-writer Christian Ackerman. He also contributed to Ackerman's film, Elwood Carlisle Superstar. Visit Chuck's MySpace page at www.myspace.com/mrphreek or his music blog, Mr. Phreek's Anokist Emporium.
With "Blood Sausage," Chuck plans to focus less on music (although it will certainly make up a significant part of his articles), and more on books, television, video games and online content. He is open to submissions and he promises to give an honest, fair assessment of the work at hand.
Please send all submissions to:
217 Spencer St.
Brooklyn, NY 11205
MUSIC TO SHIVER YOUR TIMBERS
Hey, Halloween is right around the corner, which, in this day and age, means costume parties, another Saw movie and slightly better content on the SciFi Channel. Maybe Showtime will actually run a decent movie or two. (Maybe not.) Unless you're a practitioner of some occultist religion, there's very little meaning or thrill to All Hallow's Eve anymore.
But, as someone who doesn't know when to quit and who carries the torch for the Halloween days of old, I've ransacked my ridiculously extensive CD collection to find some truly scary music. I'm not talking horror-rock Misfits clones in cheesy corpse paint -- rather, I sought out music that actually makes me uncomfortable when I listen to it.
Here's what I found.
Burning Hell (Blackjack)
Genius and Brutality (Blackjack)
Taste and Power (Blackjack)
Obey (Releasing Eskimo/Slow Dance)
Singles Collection (Load)
Urge to Kill (Load)
Cheap EP (Load)
As far as I'm concerned, Sweden's Brainbombs are the only true horror rock band in existence: No ghoul makeup, no B-movie references, no psychobilly or Glenn Danzig clichés -- just pure unadulterated misanthropic hatred through the eyes of an elitist psychopath. If Gary Ridgeway, Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, Dennis Rader and Carl Panzram formed a band, it would be Brainbombs: Stooges riffs, repetitive Flipper noise and Swans brutality with lyrics describing homicide, rape, pedophilia, necrophilia, cannibalism, drug use, self-mutilation and any other type of humiliation the human mind can muster. This is the musical equivalent of Last House on the Left , I Spit on Your Grave and Cannibal Holocaust . They make GG Allin sound like Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons. I'd print some lyrics here, but we'd probably get kicked off the server by various parents' groups, so take my word for it.
Evocation (No Fun)
This duo from Detroit made the scariest damn noise album of 2007 with Evocation . Far from the typical free-for-all inanity that dominates the noise scene, Nate Young and Steve Kenney create sounds that are more in line with Carl Zittrer's horror movie soundtracks, especially his haunting music for Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things . You know that really creepy electronic noise music that's playing when the zombies come out of their graves? This is an entire album of it.
Masque of the Red Death Part I: The Divine Punishment (Mute)
When I first heard this album, my eyes grew wide with terror. Recorded in 1986, it's Galas' answer to the persecution of AIDS patients by the Religious Right. The lyrics are taken from the Old Testament. Galas screams, whispers and sings beautifully, but hauntingly, to dark electronic noise and minimalist music that merges NON with Philip Glass and John Cage. It's like a collection of the psychotic ranting of the demon from The Exorcist -- frightening.
Tod Dockstader may not have a household name, but his sounds have been heard all across America, perhaps most notably in the sound effects he provided for the Tom and Jerry cartoons directed by Gene Deitch and William L. Snyder in the early 1960s. Federico Fellini used his first album, Eight Pieces, as the soundtrack to Satyricon. While Dockstader worked as a sound editor in Hollywood, he created dark musique concrete in his spare time. These two CDs collect most of his 1960's recordings, which were assembled via various altered -- i.e., slowed, delayed, looped, etc. -- sound effects. Obviously, Fellini recognized the unsettling nature of Dockstader's music, which says a lot.
Lectionum Antiquarum (Metalhit.com)
I listened to this album on headphones on a bright, sunny day and I still got the chills! Equimanthorn are a side project of death metal occultists Absu. Lectionum Antiquarum compiles the band's earliest demos and some live recordings. Far from the tight, rigid structures of death metal, these "songs" blend black metal, doom metal and minimalist noise with Sumerian ritualism. The result is quite unsettling -- demonic voices whisper conjurations of ancient gods to noise and occasional metal riffs. It's like a black metal version of Throbbing Gristle. I also have Equimanthorn's first proper album, Nindinugga Nimshimshargal Enlillara, which incorporates more electronic elements and female voices. It's evil, but not as unnerving as Lectionum Antiquarum.
Fans of Italian horror movies undoubtedly know Goblin from the soundtracks they provided for various Dario Argento films, as well as Dawn of the Dead, Patrick and some other underground favorites. While all their music is great, by far, the scariest to me is their soundtrack for Argento's Suspiria. Here, they perfectly captured the creepy essence of the film with mystery, majesty and darkness, especially in "Sighs," which conjures all the elements of a demonic Dionysian orgy situated deep within the darkest, densest forest when the moon is full and the wine is flowing. Turn off all the lights and listen to this album at high volume -- it'll give you the willies.
Anaklasis, etc. (Matrix 5) (EMI)
Emanationen, Partita, etc. (Matrix 17) (EMI)
Passio Secundum Lucam (MGD)
You'll find these in the classical section. Penderecki's music was used in The Shining, The Exorcist and the David Lynch films Wild at Heart and Inland Empire. That should say it all. High-pitched squeals, unexpected stops and haunting choral voices dominate his work. This is some of the scariest classical music you'll ever find.
Other (Hydra Head)
Paradise Disowned (Soleilmoon)
These are the only Lustmord albums I own. Other is brand new, while Paradise Disowned was recorded back in 1984. They follow a common thread, though -- both strike me as the perfect music to accompany Dante's Inferno, with each track representing another Circle of Hell. Lustmord's soundscapes are rich with dark multi-layered textures, dense, but subtle, providing a three-dimensional (foreground and background) setting for the comic tragedy of lost souls.
Estimating the Time of Death (Triple X)
Necessary Discomforts (Cleopatra)
Rozz Williams may be known in death rock and goth circles as the founder of Christian Death and Shadow Project, but he also explored dark experimental noise with Premature Ejaculation. These two albums, recorded with collaborator Chuck Collison, provide extremely uncomfortable listening with low-end frequencies reminiscent of Lustmord and creepy samples fit for Throbbing Gristle. Necessary Discomforts is rooted in electronic sources while Estimating the Time of Death combines found sound with organic recordings. Regardless, Premature Ejaculation provides insight into the disturbed mind of Rozz Williams, and the result is not pleasant.
Blood Music (Malignant)
Michael J.V. Hensley and Steven Hall took the Lustmord approach to dark ambient noise one step further by stripping it down to its basest elements, making "music" that should be heard while wandering lost within forgotten catacombs. Yen Pox come across as the sounds you think you hear when you're all alone in a strange dark place but you think you're mind's playing tricks on you because there has to be some logical reason for hearing what you're hearing. Blood Music is the CD you put on before going to bed if you want nightmares.
Well, there you go. Some of these albums may be out of print and impossible to find, but they're worth the hunt. I recommend listening to any of these in complete darkness while consuming a decent quantity of alcohol (or other mind altering substance). Goosebumps are guaranteed.