John Carpenter: ‘Release the Bats’ Tour, Manchester 29-10-16, Victoria Warehouse – UKHS review by Rosie Gibbs

rtb_manchester_570x440John Carpenter: ‘Release the Bats’ Tour, Manchester 29-10-16, Victoria Warehouse – UKHS review by Rosie Gibbs

“I make horror movies.
I love horror movies.
Horror movies will live forever.”

So spoke the man of the moment to a packed crowd of Carpenter-ites a week ago last Saturday, just before treating them to a run-through of the unmistakable theme from probably his best-known directorial work, ‘Halloween’. Manchester’s Victoria Warehouse for an all-too-brief 90 minutes was gifted live renditions of the scores of the superbly varied back catalogue of films by the now 68-year-old auteur from Kentucky.

Carpenter and his touring band, Scott Seiver (drums), Tenacious D associates John Konesky (guitar) and John Spiker (bass), Daniel Davies (lead guitar) and Carpenter Jnr., Cody on lead synth, kicked the show off with an excellent choice of opener – the theme from ‘Escape from New York’. The gentle synth intro to the 1981 cult classic was given a more thunderous live make-over and soon had the crowd of Mancunian Carpenter devotees grooving in fond unison, and the strains of the main theme from ‘Assault on Precinct 13’ were welcomed with similar vigour.

jc1Music then followed from ‘The Thing’ (the only film covered which does not contain music written by Carpenter, but instead by the great Ennio Morricone, whom ‘JC’ gave a humble mention to during his introduction), the bloody excellent main theme from ‘Big Trouble in Little China’ and music from the highly under-rated ‘Prince of Darkness’. Interspersed with these were excerpts from Carpenter’s recent album releases, ‘Lost Themes’ and ‘Lost Themes II’. Whilst possibly not as well-recognised as the film compositions, the band’s renditions of tracks such as ‘Wraith’ and ‘Vortex’ were still played to much appreciation and helped pad out the show’s run-time, as well as showcase Carpenter’s more modern musical work outside of film with the help of songs co-written by Davies and Carpenter Jnr.

The man himself and his band were characteristically laid-back yet not averse to a little showmanship and gentle humour, most notably donning shades and popping in gum during the theme from ‘They Live’, to the screen back-drop of the film’s famous subliminal messages, and of course having the smoke machines give it some welly during ‘The Fog”s theme. Indeed, the obligatory background footage from each film as its theme played was very well tied in with the rhythm and mood of each song, and it was admittedly a rather heart-warming treat to hear the crowd cheer at the sight of Carpenter favourites Kurt Russell, Jamie Lee Curtis, the fabulous Victor Wong and Donald Pleasance, plus of course our old friend Michael.

It was as thrilling as I expected to see the man himself in person performing classic music from his most successful films (tracks from his later offerings such as ‘Ghosts of Mars’ and ‘Vampires’ were perhaps understandably left alone!) and the whole show served as a reminder to treasure of the stories he’s told, the characters he has brought to life and simply fact that he’s a damned gifted composer to boot, whose musical talent is perhaps only now getting the real credit it deserves. During the encore we were given music from another under-rated Carpenter staple, ‘In the Mouth of Madness’, and Carpenter introduced the final song with a warning for us to all be sure to get home safe, as “Christine is out there!”

jc2On social media there have been some complaints that the Victoria Warehouse wasn’t the right venue for this gig and I would certainly agree with that – it was over-crowded and possibly the original venue, the Albert Hall, would have been more suited. Also, we were promised a venue ‘Halloween transformation’; not sure twenty-odd pumpkins really qualifies as that? Mind you, many of the peeps in the crowd had transformed into Snakes, MacReadys, Thunders and They Live aliens which made sure as a whole we were covered on that front! Over-priced drinks and visibility issues aside, I can probably safely say that the event was still thoroughly enjoyable…it’s the Horror Master for God’s sake, and who knew we would ever get this opportunity which could well be a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing? Having said that, John Carpenter does not seem to be showing any sign of packing up the synthesiser for good any time soon.

Long may the Master continue, in whatever form he chooses.

Johnny B Morbid – Fall of The Cicada album review

jbm1Johnny B Morbid – “Fall of the Cicada” Album Review

If there’s one thing I learned about Johnny B Morbid from his 2013 release, “Welcome to Die”, it’s that he’ll be blurring the lines between genres left and right. You won’t know what you’re in store for next. This remains true on his latest release, “Fall of the Cicada” (out February 2015, we’re a little late to the party, but that won’t stop us from reviewing it).

As a little background to Johnny B Morbid, basically, it’s a one man project for the recording process. For live shows, a group of (what I can only assume are phenomenal) musicians are enlisted. The whole thing started in 2005 and it grew into a band that gained a big following and earned opening spots for bands like The Misfits, Gwar, The Offspring, Bad Religion and more. There was even a point when Johnny, himself, stepped in to play bass with former Misfits frontman, Michale Graves.

Sadly, Johnny tells me he intends on this being the last JBM album. Luckily, that lit a fire in him to pull out all the stops. He pumped out the highest quality record he possibly could. Trust me, that’s a very good thing for us listeners.

When you start this album, one thing is immediately clear: the production quality on this one is big step up. This is top notch. A lot of bands are putting together records in their bedrooms, garages and living rooms (and, many times, it sounds like it). If that’s the case here, he did an amazing job. I’d assume, wherever he recorded this, that he used a producer/engineer that knew what they were doing (something more bands should try doing). Again, if he did the recording process himself, he needs to pat himself on the back.

The album starts off very pop punk-sounding, but with a lot of metal riffing. My initial thought to the opening two tracks, was that this was really good, but it was so poppy; almost to the point that I wasn’t sure I was “supposed” to like it. I still did and the album really opens up from here. Keeping a poppy edge on such killer riffs and intense lyrics sets JBM apart from so many others.

jbm2We get a complete 180 from the opening tracks on songs like “Exile”, which is a standout track to me. Its brutal, almost black metal assault from the beginning grabs you and doesn’t let go. The vocals are a little grittier on this song than most of the others, too. It’s just got that certain something that feels extra intense.

Throughout “Fall of the Cicada”, we’re being woven through genres, mostly punk and metal, and getting all the rules thrown out the window. It makes for a fresh feeling. We’re used to metal bands with brutal, unintelligible verses that lead to singy, catchy (usually wussy-sounding) choruses. What JBM does on this album is a mixture we don’t hear too often. Clean, sleek, harmonizing metal riffs with clean, well-sung, poppy-yet-thought-provoking vocals that have the harshness they need, when it’s needed.

A little warning for any of you religious types: if you’re one of those “I like horror but I also live to serve the lord” people, you’re going to want to stay away. It’s unapologetic in its onslaught against organized religion and the theme comes back several times throughout this album. Songs like “True Believer” and “Crucifiction” really hammer it in.

I have a minor issue with this album in comparison to “Welcome to Die” and it’s that “Fall of the Cicada”, as a whole, just isn’t as catchy. I’m in no way slamming this fact, because it’s easier to listen to, overall. Plus, the songs are still pretty damn catchy. I just wonder if I’ll listen to this as much, regardless of the technical improvements. That said, it’s a pretty small thing, really, but this review can’t be all good, right? I had to find SOMETHING almost negative to say.

I should mention, though, that the more listens I give this album, the more it takes hold of me. I think “Welcome to Die” grew on me more and more with each listen. It’s still in my regular rotation and, while I can’t remember my score for that album when I reviewed it, I’d probably rank it higher now than I did then. This could very well be the same type of thing with “Fall of the Cicada”.

On the other side of things, something on the Johnny B Morbid’s previous album that was a little hard for me to get past was that it seemed there could have been more emphasis on taking more time with the vocal takes. Some of it just sounded a little off. This is not the case with “Fall of the Cicada”, at all. The vocals are spot-on throughout the entire record. It really does sound great.

jbm3As a little incentive to those who like digital downloads and are unsure about getting that format versus a CD copy of this album, the CD version comes with a cover of Faith No More’s “As the Worm Turns”. JBM expands the sound even more than what we’ve come to expect with this cover. Lots of synths and heavy riffing make this a very worthy inclusion. Plus, it’s never a bad thing to have a little something familiar thrown in there. That’s always a good way to bring in potential new fans.

If this is, indeed, the swan song of Johnny B Morbid, it’s a great way to go out. Crushing power metal, black metal and poppy punk all thrown together into one outstanding production of extremely listenable horror/dark themed music. Grab it from johnnybmorbid.bandcamp.com/.

8 out of 10

As a side bar, check out the official music video for “True Believer” (below) , the first single off of this album. Much like the album, itself, the video production quality is amazing and has a special guest star. UKHS readers and cult movie fans from all over the world will be thrilled at the inclusion of Troma head honcho, Lloyd Kaufman.

Chris Cavoretto

L7 – Camden Electric Ballroom, 16th June 2015

l71L7 – Camden Electric Ballroom, 16th June 2015

Last Tuesday, 16th June 2015, the L7 reunion tour rolled into Camden’s Electric Ballroom for the classic line-up’s first London show in around 18 years. Donita Sparks, Suzi Gardner, Jennifer Finch and Dee Plakas back together on stage again since their last album together, Hungry For Stink.

Back in their original heyday, L7 were a band often associated with courting controversy, but, being based mainly on just two incidents, both perpetrated by Sparks (throwing a used tampon into the crowd at the Reading festival and performing live on Channel 4’s The Word with her trousers and underpants pulled down), this tag always seemed lazy and unfair, with the band being about so much more than simple gimmicks. L7 were never afraid to air their political views and were outspoken supporters of the pro-choice movement during the 90s, but again, they never allowed themselves to fall into the trap of becoming predictably outraged and boring, as so many of their peers did. No, despite the serious subject matter of some songs, watching and listening to L7 was always about one overriding thing; having fun. Which is what all good rock n roll should be about.

Tonight, the band take the stage against a backdrop of their iconic “skeleton hands” logo and break straight into Deathwish with dash and energy, which the crowd respond to in kind. The set flies by in a whir, during which we are treated to a set of back catalogue greatest hits, mainly taken from Bricks Are Heavy, but with a few honourable mentions from Smell the Magic and Hungry For Stink thrown in. Gardner, Sparks and Finch share the vocal duties amongst tracks such as Monster, Andre, Everglade, Slide, Mr. Integrity and Right On Through. The set even includes an airing of One more Thing, which Sparks admits “We never used to play back in the day.” It’s very welcome here and shows a more reflective side to the band, particularly Finch, whose emotional vocal is very different to the tracks she normally leads on, which tend to be a lot of L7’s more aggressive material.

l72

L7 at Garage, Glasgow. Photograph: Murdo MacLeod for the Guardian

The years don’t seem to have taken any toll on the band themselves, Plakas tireless behind her drums, Gardner a picture of effortless cool with her ubiquitous shades, Sparks all focused intensity and Finch a madwoman, rolling around on her back, kicking her legs up and offering her bass out into the crowd. There are wind-ups to the people up on the balcony, Sparks offering them out and admonishments to the LA crowd for not selling out as quick as this London show, which sold out faster than any other show on this tour. Amongst the jumping, pogoing, rolling around, joking and general lunacy that takes over the Electric Ballroom, one can’t help but notice something important; L7 sound AMAZING. AMAZING.

In my twenty-odd years of going to gigs, I am genuinely hard pushed to think of a better sounding show. As one audience member is overheard to say, “they sound as good as a record!” She was not wrong and this polished, professional performance makes a mockery of the old suggestions that L7 were a “basic” band and claims made in the past by the band themselves that the reason they play the style they do is because they were not technically proficient enough to play thrash. Well, it is testament to L7 that whilst many of those bands enjoy “guitar hero” status, a lot of them sound like a right old racket live when compared to this.

The main set comes to a close with a furious rendition of Shitlist, Sparks’ voice never faltering, despite the physicality of her performance. As the band depart the stage, the crowd wait in a fervour and, after a short time, the lights come back up, there is a declaration from Gardner that this is “definitely my favourite crowd ever”, and we’re off again with a cover of Eddie and the Hotrods’ American Society, cheekily followed by 90s mega-hit, Pretend We’re Dead. Proceedings are finally brought to a close with the bludgeoning menace of Fast and Frightening, which sends the band – and subsequently the crowd – into overdrive.

L7-LogoAnd, too soon, it’s over. L7 have smashed it; no band has any right to combine that much energy with such a good sound. The audience start to filter out and you can tell from the excited murmur that drifts up into the Camden night that people know they’ve seen something special. For this reason, let’s hope that L7 stay with us for a bit longer. And I’ll admit my twenty year old crush on Jennifer Finch is definitely back a bit.

UK Horror Punk Band – Thirteen Shots – The Interview

13shots1.00_png_srzThirteen Shots interview

I recently spoke with Johnny Rose, frontman for one of the UK’s up and coming horror punk bands, Thirteen Shots. This all leads the way to their new album and European tour. Both of which hit this May.

CC – Okay, first things first. A little introduction to Thirteen Shots.
How did the band start and what was the idea behind it all in the beginning?

JR – Thirteen Shots was founded in 2011 with a simple aim of making a mixed genre, fun, energetic band based on B-movie, horror and vintage cinema lyrics. Being very influenced by the golden age of cinema, I wanted that era to be the catalyst of everything we do. We all come from very different musical backgrounds and we try to encourage all the styles to breathe throughout our music.

CC – How did the name Thirteen Shots come about? It screams horror punk but I’m not quite sure why.

JR – Haha. I have no idea! There’s many reasons I like to tell people, but the truth is I just loved the ring to it. It leaves a little mystery to us, as opposed to real obvious horror themed band names. We wrote down loads of them. We was almost called The Gargoyles.

13shots2CC – The Gargoyles?! Ha! We might not be doing this interview right now. I probably would have never checked you guys out with that name. Thirteen Shots works great for your sound.

JR – You think that one is bad! We booked our first show under ‘The Last Reunion’. People were expecting a bloody emo band! However, I think we got the correct name in the end!

CC – Definitely. It really fits. Listening to your older albums, it’s obvious you have a ton of influences. I mean, every song has a slightly different feel to it but it all rounds itself out nicely without feeling scattered. Who influenced you most on your new album?

JR – I would say, without doubt, Black Sabbath… with a hint of Turbonegro and early Misfits. We really wanted to push ourselves this record. I had this concept idea of creating a silent movie with a soundtrack being the album. As the writing process took it’s shape, I soon created three tracks to become the main event and the other tunes are all little ‘shorts’ which would be on before the main movie. This was how cinema events was in the early days. So, it’s very much a tip of the hat to the golden age.

CC – Very cool. Not only are you in Thirteen Shots, but you’ve also started the Undead Artists label. Can you tell the readers about that?

JR – Yes. I have always wanted to run a record label and I was always worried about mixing both label and band together. But, following a couple of interesting experiences with record labels I decided to give it a try.
My approach is very much a record label for bands, run by a band… I try to treat bands how I would like to be treated, myself.

13shots4CC – Thirteen Shots was recently part of the Traveling Morgue Horror Festival with Zombina and the Skeletones, Lupen Tooth, Gravedale High and a bunch more. Undead Artists was behind this, in conjunction with Graveyard Calling, if I’m correct. How did that whole thing come about and how did it go?

JR – Tommy Creep (Graveyard Calling Records, Lupen Tooth) and myself was talking about putting on the UK’s first Horror Punk festival and decided to just throw ourselves in the deep end! It was a huge success, I felt. We are already planning next year’s. Hopefully, bigger and better!!!

CC – I hope so. Creating a community with the bands and the fans like this can only help. Back to Thirteen Shots; what can people expect from the new album?

JR – It’s certainly a full on album… loads of riffs, thunderous drums and catchy choruses. Each tune has a different style and feel to it, without feeling too scattered.

CC – What is the release info on this album? Title, formats, release date…

JR – Black Smiles will be released on the 24/05/15 on two formats.
(1) Digital with two bonus tracks
(2) CD and T-Shirt combo pack

CC – With a new album, I’m sure, comes some live shows. What can people expect to see from you live?

JR – Yes. This year shall be spent touring the UK and Europe extensively. 2016 looks like we could be visiting the States to promote Black Smiles. Just waiting on confirmation on that!

CC – That would be great! I don’t head to shows often, but I’d come out if you guys made it to my neck of the woods over here in the US. I think you’d fare pretty well. Anyway, what’s the next big step for Thirteen Shots?

JR – I think the future, for us, is just making sure as many people see and hear us as possible. Black Smiles is an album that we are 100% proud of and we need to just promote it hard. I have a few ideas for the next project, but right now it’s all about Black Smiles.

13shots6CC – That’s probably a good idea, seeing as how you’re just getting going with Black Smiles and all the press that comes with it. What’s next for Undead Artists?

JR – Undead Artists has eight great bands and I look very much forward to releasing their music and helping them gain as much exposure as possible. I don’t wish to have any more bands. I have my perfect roster, all offering something different!

CC – Cool. Sounds like you’ve got a good plan going forward for both, the band and Undead Artists. Now, let’s talk horror a little. What’s you’re all time favorite horror movie?

JR – For me its the old B-Movies, I’m an odd guy. I am not massively keen on all the CGI and stuff like that. I enjoy the good old fashioned films but, horror-wise, it has to be Creature from the Black Lagoon… and, also, I enjoy Escape from Forbidden Planet, with a very young Leslie Nielsen as the lead. Oh, and the original Dracula. Now that’s a film!

CC – Ah, Creature from the Black Lagoon… that one’s my favorite of the Universal Monsters era… Are there any specific horror movies you watched that sparked creativity while writing Black Smiles?

JR – Not so much horror but more thriller. When writing Black Smiles, the short film I wanted to base the villain scenes on was the style of the first ever Batman series in 1943. It was so dark, very little effects, just acting and suspense. Then for the good guys, it’s all about the 3 Stooges. Although, I guess you can say 4 stooges! The difficult task will be mixing it together so the dark and the humour mixes well.

CC – Who’s your favorite horror villain?

JR – Dracula, he’s just one cool dude.

CC – If you had to be thrown into any one horror movie, which one would you choose and what role would you take?

JR – It would have to be the Creature from the Black Lagoon, and of course, the Creature because he gets to grab the girl! Other than that, I would love to be in Shaun of the Dead as a zombie.

13shots7CC – Remakes. Are any of them worth while? If so, which ones are you into?

JR – Not really, remakes are lazy, in my opinion. Can’t think of anything new? Don’t work in the movies.

CC – Is there any dream of getting your songs into horror soundtracks? Sometimes it’s cool to get that underground rock song on a background radio or during the end credits. Being that you guys have so many different styles you encompass, I could see plenty of it working for a ton of different things in the future.

JR – We have been featured in one horror movie in Canada, which was a great experience, but nothing much more has come our way. I would love to be playing in a movie and we all get killed! Like in our video for ‘Zombies from the USSR’.

CC – Sounds great! I think that’s all I’ve got. Thanks for taking the time. Good luck with everything moving forward. Is there anything else you’d like to let people know before we’re done here?

JR – All I would say, really, is thank you for your support and keep supporting the scene. It’s starting to grow with some great bands daring to be different. Don’t fight it, just support and enjoy the ride. It’s going to be killer!

For your listening pleasure, we’ve got an exclusive first glimpse into Black Smiles with the single, Cobradeer. You won’t hear it anywhere else.

LINKS

Website – http://thirteenshots.wix.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/thirteenshotsband/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/thirteenshotsuk

Bandcamp – https://thirteenshots.bandcamp.com

Make sure to catch Thirteen Shots on their European Tour.

22/5/15 – Breaking Bands Fest, England
28/5/15 – La Source, Le Mans, France
29/5/15 – Cafe Ammehoela, Bree, Belgium
30/5/15 – Yesterday Club, Bremerhaven, Germany
1/6/15 – Secret Show, Nüremberg
2/6/15 – Utopia, Pelhrimov, Czech Republic
3/6/15 – 100 As Klub, RoHam, Budapest, Hungary
5/6/15 – Lucky Ducks Clubhiem, Feldkirch, Austria
6/6/15 – Plan B, Heilbronn, Germany
23/6/15 – The Palace Theatre, Redditch, England
4/7/15 – Kraak, Manchester, England
24/7/15 – South Sea Live, Sheffield, England

Calabrese “Lust for Sacrilege” album review & interview

CALABRESE-Lust-For-Sacrilege-UK-Tour-2015-AD-MAT-With-DatesCalabrese “Lust for Sacrilege” album review & interview

Phoenix, Arizona’s Calabrese have been making horror-themed rock and roll for over a decade now. They released the Midnight Spookshow EP in 2003 and have since released six full length albums. In the early years, the band had a slew of fun horror punk songs on each album. The last few years, they’ve still got those but the band’s tone has gotten a bit darker, a bit more serious. Most bands probably couldn’t pull this off. Calabrese, however, have done a great job of it and keeps you interested every step of the way. If Born With a Scorpion’s Touch grabbed you, Lust for Sacrilege will blow you away.

The album starts off with “The Dark is Who I Am”. It’s a brooding intro that would make Type O Negative jealous. Later in the album, they bring that Type O vibe back on the title track. For “Lust for Sacrilege”, lyrically, it feels very “Christian Woman”. Musically, it feels 100% Calabrese. I’d have to say, even those who aren’t Type O fans should be feeling these songs.

There are definitely songs that have that classic Calabrese sound. “Down in Misery”, “Teenage Crimewave” and “Lords of the Wasteland” are proof they haven’t forgotten where they came from. The songs are never boring or feeling like I’ve heard it for five albums already. The guys just keep on kicking out greatness.

“Flesh and Blood” is a song that really sticks out. It’s in the same vain as “I Wanna Be a Vigilante” and “There is an Evil Inside” from Born with a Scorpion’s Touch. It’s slower. It’s broodier. It’s deeper. Much like the first time I heard “Evil Inside”, the song was instantly stuck in my head for days. This is the kind of song I fear might push longtime fans away but I hope will elevate them to the next level like it should. It’s not a change for the sake of trying to do things differently. It’s just a truly great song.

There are two things I noticed about “Wanted Man” and “Serpentflame”. Oddly, I get the same thing from both of these songs and they’re back to back on the album. The first thing isn’t so weird; it’s that they both have a heavy Danzig II vibe in the main riff. The second thing is the odd one. The choruses of both songs have a sort of Nirvana chord progression. It makes for an interesting listen but both songs still feel like Calabrese the whole time and neither of the things I mentioned are in any way meant to diminish how good both of these songs are.

Calabrese lets more of their old school, hardcore punk influence out in “Gimme War”. Lots of fast guitars, “woah” choruses and a Misfits-style solo are all included. This one really gets the blood flowing. It also keeps you feeling like Calabrese haven’t strayed from their roots. It also sets up the super-brooding “New York Ripper” perfectly.

They close the album with the biggest departure from anything they’ve done that I can think of. “Drift into Dust” is an acoustic track with an intro guitar sounding very much like that of the one on Danzig 5’s “Come to Silver”. The Danzig influence is all over this one and it definitely breaks any idea of how you think Calabrese will end an album. It’s a slightly odd ending, but it feels right for them to have gone this route.

My overall assessment of this album is that it’s sure to be a top contender for best rock album of 2015. It’s hard to pick a favorite Calabrese album but this one doesn’t disappoint in the least. It’s not as much horror-oriented as maybe just a really dark album, but it makes for great listening.

Lust for Sacrilege score:
9 out of 10

Bobby Calabrese rocking his face off

Bobby Calabrese rocking his face off

Now, onto my interview with Jimmy, Bobby and Davey Calabrese. Keep in mind the vibe here is all in good fun and these are good guys. There were even moments where they stopped and talked with fans who came up to say hi. Calabrese make a point to get to know their fans and let them in on their own stuff, as well. While we were wrapping things up, a fan even brought them a pizza because, if you follow these dudes on Twitter or Facebook, you know they love pizza.

Calabrese @ The Crazy Horse – Boise, Idaho, USA (Jan 29, 2015)

C- You’ve only been on this tour a couple weeks now but how has it been so far?

B- It’s been cool.
D- Successful.
B- Very successful.
J- Worst tour ever. (laughing)

C- Are you hitting more cities that you haven’t been to much and seeing more people coming to the shows, in general?

J- Yeah. Hitting a lot of North Carolina. We haven’t been there. And like, here, in Boise. It’s the second time. Last night, Spokane for the second time. So, yeah, and a lot of new faces, new people who heard about us from just two albums ago, Born with a Scorpion’s Touch. So, that’s pretty cool. They don’t know the back catalog. But, yeah, new people, new fans so the plan’s working.

C- What’s the toughest thing for you guys about being on the road promoting a record?

D- Driving. I don’t do any of it. (laughing)
B- Lack of sleep. That sucks.
J- Yeah, ditto on the sleep. That’s the worse part. If there’s not enough sleep, that kind of sucks but everything else is cool.
B- Just drink beer, you’ll be fine.

C- Did you guys play in other bands before Calabrese?

B- Not really. Nothing serious.
J- Yeah, but nothing really mentionable.
D- No.

C- I’ve followed you guys for about 10 years, since 13 Halloweens. What really grabbed me about it was that in a sea of horror bands that either sounded like old Misfits or new Misfits, you had your own sound. Was that the goal when you started the band?

B- Yeah, probably. Although, I mean we were influenced by The Misfits and all that stuff but they weren’t the end-all, be-all. There were so many other influences at the time. Maybe it helped with two vocalists. Maybe that helped mix it up. Instead of one guy trying to act like Danzig, there’s two. (laughing)
J- Yeah, I think that’s the key. All the different influences. Maybe all those other bands were just trying to be The Misfits and we were trying to be all these different kinds of bands.
B- Yeah, we were way into surf rock. You could hear a lot of that, probably. Man or Astro-Man… there was a lot of different stuff we were listening to back then, so I don’t know. (laughing) Weird.

Calabrese intro backdrop

Calabrese intro backdrop

C- I’ve found most horror rock fans are into the fun stuff like The Misfits, the serious stuff like Danzig and a lot in between. There’s a lot they listen to. But… it’s also general human nature to hate it any time a band changes things up. On Born with a Scorpion’s Touch, the feeling was a lot deeper than previous albums. That continued on Lust for Sacrilege. Were you worried that fans might not like it or did you figure it’s just where you need to go with it? I mean, it’s not a complete departure. It still sounds like Calabrese but it’s a lot more mature than the first four albums.

B- I think with some of the songs it was like, “this might be kind of weird,” but it’s not one of those things where we purposely went in and said we were gonna change it and screw with everyone’s minds. It was just the way it came out. And you know, that’s all we shit out, that’s all you get, you know?
D- Haters gonna hate. And no matter what you do, there’s always gonna be someone hating it.

C- I can definitely say, I’ve read quite a few reviews and I haven’t read anything bad about the new album.

B- (laughing) It only took five albums.
J- For Scorpion’s Touch, when the sound started to change, or mature, I think once we had it, I was a little nervous for the core fans because even with They Call Us Death, there were some people. But, I guess with They Call Us Death, it was harder and some people didn’t get it but they still liked it. Even though we were kind of worried about it, in the grand scheme of things, it seems like our fans are pretty much accepting of stuff. It was like, we had no choice. That was the music that was coming out so that’s how we were gonna go.

C- As far as the new album goes, I hear a lot of influences in there while keeping the Calabrese sound. I hear some Type O Negative in the opening track, some Danzig (especially Danzig II) and even a few chord progressions that are reminiscent of Nirvana to me (I get some woah’s from the guys on that one. Don’t think that was an influence, just something I got a few places) . What bands were the biggest influences while writing this record.

B- Nirvana baby! No… Obviously Type O, like you said, and Danzig. A lot of metal. We were listening to a lot of metal, like Mastadon. What else?
J- Black Sabbath. We were listening to a lot of that for like the piano parts. Believe it or not there’s like a piano, Goblin-esque kind of riff in one of the Black Sabbath songs. But, we’re letting a lot of the metal influence come through and like the darker stuff. We’ve done all the straight up punk stuff so new we’re just kind of exploring the other kinds of music we all liked. That’s the thing, too, we all still have the same influences. There are core ones we can all agree on and that’s the kind of stuff that comes through.
D- I got something to say, you guys keep taking this up… (laughing) Chris Issak… they’ve got the hard bands in there, but there’s some Chris Isaak and Roy Orbison. Some Joy Division in there. Some of that stuff, too.

Calabrese singalong

Calabrese singalong

C- On social media, it looks like you guys get home from a tour and just immediately start writing music and recording. What is it that you guys actually do? Do you relax a bit or take time apart?

J- Yes. At least a week, we stay away from each other.
D- We love to make music videos and give the fans a visual. We’re always working.

C- You guys have gone from being a local Arizona band to what many consider one of the premier horror rock bands in the U.S., maybe even the world (they’re laughing at the thought of this but I think it’s true)… and it seems you’ve done it all yourselves. Obviously, the music has a lot to do with it but it takes more than that for people to actually take time to pay attention and listen. What do you attribute to the getting the following you have?

B- Longevity! I don’t know, last band standing. (laughing) We’re the last ones, so we win by default. (laughing)
D- A lot of bands have fell baby!. (laughing)
B- We stayed the longest, we win the game. (more laughing)
J- I think the internet revolution really helped us out and the fact that we have a lot in common with our fans. We try to treat fans as friends. I remember some of our first shows in a place called The Fix in Phoenix, I was talking to the owner/promoter and he was telling a younger band like, “see what Calabrese does? After the show, they go out and shake hands, give everybody hugs? That’s what you guys’ve gotta do.” Because the kid was complaining about like ‘why don’t we have a following yet?’ So, that’s just something that, I guess, just being young kids at bars and people are always like drunk and like touchy-feely. It’s like, ‘oh that’s cool’ and we’ll hug back and pretend we’re drunk and everyone’s our best friend and it seems to work. They become our friends. Those seem to be the most dedicated fans… the ones that get to know us and we get to know them. It’s like we have like a cult following going on.

C- You guys are really active on social media. You actually follow people back and talk with the fans on Twitter. Do you think this has helped keep people feeling like they need to keep up with what you’re doing and going to shows when you come to their town?

B- Yeah, probably, maybe. It kind of seems like when you become friends with everybody, if they don’t come to your shows then they feel like they let their friend down or something. I don’t know. We’ve only done it one way so if we did it the other way, I’m not sure it would work. I just don’t know.
J- Yeah, it’s just what we do.

C- You toured the UK a couple years back. How many times have you been and how was the experience?

J- Actually, we haven’t been to the UK, yet. Just Germany. We were close, but just Germany.

(this is where everyone judges me thinking that I think Germany is in the UK, I swear, I thought they went to the UK though and not Germany)

D- This is our first headlining tour in the UK coming up. Headlining… emphasis. (laughing) So, it’ll be great.
J- We’re super stoked.
D- We’ve been hearing they’re selling a lot of tickets so it’ll be good to get out there.

Calabrese singing

Calabrese singing

C- What can people expect to see on this tour?

B- Music… live music and entertainment. (laughing) Just a live, loud, fast show. A lot of the new songs. A lot of the old songs. Just blistering rock and roll.

C- Since this interview is for UK Horror Scene, let’s talk horror. What are some horror movies that get you ready to write new material?

D- I like comedies. (laughing) Any kind of comedy. Horror comedy, this and that… whatever…
B- You know, there’s so much Hammer horror. There’s so much of that and I still haven’t seen a ton of it but that stuff’s pretty cool. Pretty artsy stuff. And some of the Italian stuff. There’s so much that it’s all I’ve got left.
J- The Italian stuff is more artistic, like Argento, so you can kind of loosely base lyrics off of the images and it’ll sound more creative than just straight up…
D- (breaks into song singing “Frankenstein, Frankenstein”)

C- Can each of you name one favorite horror movie?

D- Army of Darkness
J- I thought it was Halloween, then I rewatched that. It used to scare the crap out of me and I watched it a few months ago, it was like damn, it didn’t quite hold up. The one movie I watched the most, I better not watch it again, it might not hold up, but Dead Alive.
B- What do I like, I guess I’d have to go with Near Dark or something. Just ‘cause I haven’t seen it in awhile. It was good though. Good vampire shit, man. Cool.

C- If each of you were a horror movie killer, who would you be?

J- I’d be Freddy Krueger.
D- You’re a molester?!
J- It’s only implied…
C- As long as we don’t go with the remake, it’s only implied.
J- Yeah, I didn’t like the remake. It was useless.
C- We won’t even get into remakes because I’ll dominate this thing with how much they all suck.
J- It was just a waste. So Stupid.
B- I guess anyone, like Freddy, who got away. Whoever got away. I’ll do that. I don’t want to be one who died.
D- I’ll be one of the Lost Boys because they killed too.
B- But they died.
D- Ah, whatever…

C- What would you consider the biggest milestone for Calabrese to date?

J- Crazy Horse, Boise, Idaho… interview with Chris for UKHorrorScene.
D- Wait, this is Rolling Stone, correct? (laughing) UK Rolling Stone…
D- Oh wait, a million view on You Tube. That was cool.
J- I guess going back to one of our first times ever playing out of town. It was at a dojo in Salt Lake in like a boxing ring and they took off the ropes and the people there were singing along. That blew me away that these people knew our songs and we’re from out of town. I think that was awesome.
B- Meeting Eerie Von. We met almost every single one of the Misftis. Eerie Von, Chudd, Jerry.
D- He’s not a Misfit…
B- Chudd’s a Misfit…
D- Eerie’s not…
B- (laughing) Everyone under the Misfit umbrella. The only one that’s left is Danzig. We’ve gotta meet Danzig.

Jimmy Calabrese singing

Jimmy Calabrese singing

C- My wife and I actually talked about this earlier. I thought your response was going to be playing with The Misfits..
D- Oh! Yeah, it was alright… (laughing) Now if we went on tour with them, that’d be something!
J- There was like one show.
B- ‘Zig… that’d be something.
D- A world tour with ‘Zig…

C- Hold that thought… next question: Is there anything that could trump your previous high? Something that would just be the ultimate high?

D- Being a household name…
J- It would be awesome if we partnered with Mr. Glenn, you know how he wrote a song for Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison. He takes us under his wing, his dark wing, his black wing and let’s us feed his cat under the stained glass windows in his house. It would be cool working with Danzig in any respect.

C- What can your fans expect next from you guys?

D- More music videos.
J- Expect… the unexpected.
B- I guess more music videos, a couple more tours
D- …with Danzig
J- We’ll take Doyle too.
D- Danzig and Doyle together.

C- Before we’re done here, the big question my wife wants to know is: what’s the laundry situation on tour?
(My wife: How often are you guys doing your laundry?)

D- Every six days or so.
J- I usually do laundry once a week. Actually, we just did laundry… yeah, it’s been about a week and a half.
C- I haven’t noticed any weird odours coming from you guys.
J- No, we wear our leather jackets so you can’t really tell.
B- I only own one pair of underwear.
C- Do those get washed once a week?
B- No… I just wanted to throw that out there.

C- Anything you want to tell the UK fans?

J- Please come out to the shows. We’re gonna give you a kick ass show and rock your fucking face off. Be there!
B- If you don’t have the new album, Lust for Sacrilege, get it.
D- We’ve got Lust for Sacrilege out, get it from Amazon, iTunes, CalabereseRock.com, SpookshowRecords.com – See you soon…

This whole interview could’ve gone out as a podcast. The banter between these brothers is fun to listen to, let alone be involved in. I won’t lie and say I’m an outgoing guy, by any means, but Calabrese are easy to talk to. They love their fans so when they come to your town, go see them, say hi, buy some merch, bring them some pizza and, don’t forget, they’re huggers…

UK Tour dates and info:
Apr 24 @ Barfly – London, UK
Apr 28 @ Think Tank – Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK
Apr 29 @ The Parish – Huddersfield, UK
Apr 30 @ Slade Rooms – Wolverhampton, UK
May 04 @ Tiki bar – Plymouth, UK
May 05 @ Hobbit – Southampton, UK
May 06 @ The Lady Luck – Canterbury, UK
May 07 @ The Fighting Cocks – Kingston Upon Thames, UK
May 08 @ Barfly – London, UK
May 09 @ The Owl Sanctuary – Norwich, UK

Voyag3r – Doom Fortress album review

voyag3r-doomfortressVoyag3r
“Doom Fortress”

Voyag3r (pronounced Voyager 3), were first brought to my attention about a year ago when someone showed me their two song EP, “Victory in the Battle Chamber”. The Detroit three piece quickly gained momentum when word spread about them and rightfully so. It seemed their name started popping up all over the internet right after I heard them.

If you need vocals in the music you listen to, Voyag3r probably isn’t for you. But… if you like mood music that really sets a tone, you’d better seek them out. Their instrumental horror/sci-fi synth rock is perfectly suited for all you fans who love the masses of genre film scores making it out of the gates recently.

“Doom Fortress” is the newest effort from the band with six brand new tracks. Right away, it sounds like the same band as their previous album but the songs are a little more mature. Not necessarily better or worse, but maybe more thought out. Soundscapes are more drawn out to really bring in the listener on this one.

I pick up on influences from Tangerine Dream, Fabio Frizzi, Zombi and Goblin, but more so, John Carpenter. Both earlier and later Carpenter seem to guide Voyag3r’s newest effort, yet they manage to NOT sound like Carpenter clones. It’s merely influence.

What I’m getting at is that there are parts of songs that are minimalistic, synth-driven movements but they also go all out into a supercharged assault with the full band giving it everything they’ve got before a songs’ end. The guitar work, especially, helps bring this Carpenter influence to mind, as his later themes seemed to be more guitar driven.

voyag3r-bandSpeaking of the guitar… The tone on the lead guitar work felt familiar to me at first listen. As I dove further into the album, I noticed that it was reminiscent of “Wildhoney”-era Tiamat. If you’re a fan of the gothic-esque melodic metal of the mid-90’s, you’ll be loving the guitar work on this album. But, onto a little more about the album, itself…

As soon as you start Doom Fortress, you’re immediately transported into space. Maybe it’s a futuristic spaceship. Maybe it’s a space station. Either way, beneath the spacey sounds, the tone for a battle of intergalactic proportions swells.

Doom Fortress is an out of this world journey. It sounds like the score to a good versus evil, human versus alien film in the making. Our heroes blast off into space, fight their way through enemy territory, get viciously attacked by the aliens and somehow end up saving all of humanity in the end. If you don’t believe me, give this album a spin. You’ll see it, too. The driving drums, stellar synths and spacey guitars make for a hell of a fun listen.

8 out of 10

Vinyl LP Distro in USA via Light In The Attic Records: http://lightintheattic.net/releases/1520-doom-fortress
Vinyl LP Distro in UK via Death Waltz Records: http://deathwaltzrecordingcompany.com/shop/voyag3r-doom-fortress/

doomfortresscdCD & Cassette available at: http://www.voyag3r.com/merchandise.php

TRACK LISTING:
1. Summoning The Forgotten One
2. One’s True Intentions
3. Doom Fortress Escape
4. In The Hands Of The Computers
5. Il Guanto Nero
6. Lord Of Doom Fortress

Doom Fortress was recorded using vintage analog synths, electric guitar through vintage tube amplification and maple shell acoustic drums. All music was recorded to 2″ analog tape (MCI JH-24 2″ Analog 24-Track w/ALIII remote) through various vintage pre-amps and a 1977 Custom Harrison 3232 console for maximum authenticity and spirit in capturing this classic sound.

Steve Greene – Synthesizers
Greg Mastin – Drums
Aaron Greene – Guitars

 

Sam Haynes – Spine Chillers CD Review

spinechillers1Sam Haynes – Spine Chillers CD Review 

As All Hallow’s Eve draws ever closer and the long days turn into dark nights horror fans can now revel in the haunting sound-scapes of UK EDM Horror music pioneers Sam Haynes as 2014 brings us another studio release for all your Halloween and horror themed nights.

Spine Chillers brings plenty to the table for fans of 80s horror synth and electronic dance music. The scene which has seen a boom over the past few years with a resurgence of both classic re-issues and modern music is been held at the forefront by UK Label Graveyard Calling with a wealth of excellent music on the horizon.

Things open hauntingly with the intro Death Comes Creeping in, a mellow and atmospheric track which sets the atmosphere and tone perfectly in its relatively short runtime.

People already familiar with the work of Sam Haynes will find plenty of new things to discover with this set of tracks breathing new life into his style making it both work well on Haunts and horror themed parties without being relegated to that alone, this is ideal music to fill your ears in those cold autumn nights.

Album highlights are the creepy, almost Hitchcockian Masks, its simple rhythm and methodical melody push this out of the haunt realm alongside some of the classic scores which fans hold so dearly.

The album nicely progresses on its runtime mutating into a terrifying listening experience; Fans of Rob’s recent Maniac score will adore Grim Reaper the albums 5th track, its pulsing and catchy electronica is a wonderfully upbeat yet sinister affair.

Speaking of Maniac the track Night Caller, a pulsing electronic beat slowly paces under a ethereal ghostly chorus before slowly gaining momentum and dread in equal measures wonderfully produced and emotive this is a stand-out on the album.

spinechillers3Pandemonium Carnival is showcase of the complex and intricate work that Sam Haynes produce, after an excellently subtle intro the track evolves into a grandeur,epic circus inspired opus extremely sinister and right out of a killer clown slasher film this is the music that accompanies nightmares.

Spine Chillers spans the entire horror sub genre spectrum, lullabies from ghost stories, Carpenter and Howarth inspired terror synth but it is the 80s where Sam Haynes’ heart firmly lives and his passion and influence are the concurrent theme of this album giving it a nostalgic yet modern feel, allowing listeners to find a new spin on something familiar.

The albums artwork comes from the excellent horror artist Kachenstein, his colourful and energetic artwork rounds of this CD package nicely

The album is released on September 13th on all the digital music trade sites and the timing is perfect for the festive season, anyone interested in the horror music scene or those planning Halloween shindigs are recommended to pick up this and the earlier Sam Haynes album and won’t be disappointed with the results.

6/10.

spinechillers2

The Mugshots – ‘Love, Lust and Revenge’ EP review

mugband2The Mugshots
“Love, Lust and Revenge”

The Mugshots are a band who don’t sound like your typical horror-themed band. I guess, technically, they’re not. They’re more a band who play rock and roll with a dark twist. The classic rock influence is so heavy on this album, I have no doubt you could convince any number of people that this is a remastered reissue of a “forgotten” album.

The Mugshots did something with this EP that so many other bands today don’t do. They put the time and effort (and, likely, money) into hooking up with a producer who knows what he’s doing and recorded at a real studio. Most bands figure, “hey, I’ve got some recording gear. Let’s just do this ourselves.” A big percentage of these bands don’t know the first thing about how to make it not sound like a crappy, local band’s recording.

The band enlisted Dick Wagner as producer. Wagner has contributed to songs with the likes of Kiss, Hall and Oates, Peter Gabriel and more. He’s most known for playing guitar with Lou Reed and Alice Cooper in the 70’s. This partnership is fitting because The Mugshots actually sound heavily influenced by 70’s Alice Cooper.

When most people think of classic rock, they’re not thinking dark and brooding. These guys could easily fit in on a soundtrack to a horror movie, though. The subject matter is dark and extremely reminiscent of those end credits pieces or the song someone’s listening to on the radio that actually has a theme that fits with the movie.

MugBand1“Curse the Moon” is the first song on the EP. It has a nice piano intro. This is followed by a cool classic rock guitar solo over the top. The whole feel is very Alice Cooper. When the chorus comes in, it has a very Queen-like chord progression. Everything comes together and blends very well on this song. This is easily my favorite song on the album, as I could probably listen to it over and over.

“Nothing at All” is almost a Jethro Tull-meets-Meatloaf type composition with the guys from Queen helping out with the chorus’ back-up vocals. The production is great and the song feels like it could have been a huge hit in the 70’s. This could give anything Tull or Meatloaf did in the era a run for their money. It doesn’t catch my ear, personally, but it’s a well put together song.

“Under My Skin” immediately feels like more Alice Cooper tribute material. It’s got a dark progression and a steady, pounding bassline. Lyrically, it seems like something Cooper would have written, as well. The turnaround in the guitar riff has a cool doomy-feel that hooks you. The only problem with this song is that it never really takes off. It feels as if it builds and builds, getting ready to explode into huge finale. However, it never hits that climax, therefore, leaving it a little flat. But don’t get me wrong, it’s not bad, it’s definitely one of the better songs on the EP and keeps you waiting to hear what’s next.

“Free (As I Am)” is, lyrically, dark and brooding. It feels very stalker-esque. The music, again, brings a heavy 70’s Alice Cooper vibe. It just happens to be one of those more forgettable, deep tracks in a Cooper album that it reminds me of. The song never really catches me. The bridge section is reminiscent of the “No More Mister Nice Guy” bridge where he’s talking about a dog biting him on a leg today. The “free as I am” repeated section feels very much like a war protest song and sort of keeps the song from feeling like part of the rest of the album.

Grunge film frame“Pass the Gun Around” immediately reminds me of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity”. I can almost hear the phrase “Ground Control to Major Tom” in the opening. It’s got a desolate, lost in space feel. I hear a ton of Queen influence, again, with the backup vocals. The super digital delayed guitar solo is a nice touch. It’s really helps bring the song together.

Overall, this is a good, well-rounded album. It’s not something the typical,”horror music” fan might appreciate. However, fans of that early Alice Cooper-era stuff… the deep cuts, they should definitely give The Mugshots a chance. It’s most-likely right up their alley.

6.5 out of 10

You can visit The Mugshots website here – http://www.mugshots.it/

And their Facebook Page – www.facebook.com/themugshots

[youtube=http://youtu.be/X9fKZgTBe7M]

 

Spooky Jefferson’s Ideal Lunchbox House of Dolls EP – Review

sjil1Spooky Jefferson’s Ideal Lunchbox
House of Dolls EP

When I got this review assignment, it was described as horror ska-punk. I’m no fan of ska, in general, but it’s been awhile since I reviewed anything so I figured I’d go for it, being as unbiased or closed minded as I possibly can, to be fair.

The intro (aptly titled, “Intro”) starts up and the vibe is very Danny Elfman. I immediately imagined Vincent Price putting Edward Scissorhands together. The chiming piano gives off a somber tone only intensified by what sounds like a saxophone underneath. I’m wondering where they’re going to go from here because this isn’t setting up a ska-punk album to me. I’m into this and I’m expecting to not be into this album.

“Aliens” is the second track and I’m getting those upstrokes that I’m expecting from a ska band but the overall feel is so different. This one feels like a total Oingo Boingo song. The vocals are buried a little too much so it’s hard to make out where he’s going, lyrically. Upon further listens, it’s obviously about being probed by aliens after abduction. However, the Elfman/Oingo Boingo feel is very prominent. I can easily see this in any of Tim Burton’s claymation movies, albeit a bit toned down, lyrically. They keep those horns properly mixed so it doesn’t kill the vibe. A little double bass action on the drums helps add a little depth, as well.

When the third song comes in, I’m feeling pretty optimistic that I may like this whole EP. The track is called “Do You Know”. Some fun, haunted house-esque giggles on this one over those ska upstrokes is entwined with a haunted amusement park-type jam session. Nothing really happens in the song, but it feels very Squirrel Nut Zippers and it’s still fun.

When “Freakshow” hits, it feels like I’m on the Haunted Mansion ride at Disneyland. This happens to be one of my favorite things at Disneyland so, again, no complaints. There’s a very brief Elfman-type breakdown in the middle that screams “Corpse Bride” before ending with an upbeat horror ska(ish) ending.

sjil2The title track comes last with another Corpse Bride feel. I can also see this song easily thrown into The Addams Family movie during their party. I know it’s not a Tim Burton movie but it felt like one. The movie also doesn’t have any Elfman music in it but I always thought it could use some, along with Tom Waits’ “Russian Dance”. Now, add this one to the list of songs that could easily be inserted.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with this EP. It’s weird and a bit off the wall. I would bet these guys are fun to see live. This is obviously a band who is doing what they want to do and they’re having fun doing it.

The likeness to Danny Elfman/Oingo Boingo, Squirrel Nut Zippers and a little Tom Waits in the music is pretty apparent to me. It’s probably something that I wouldn’t listen to all the time as it’s something that you have to be in the right mood for. I definitely like what they’re doing, though.

I don’t know that I’d call Spooky Jefferson’s Ideal Lunchbox a ska-punk band, myself. I don’t really know where I’d classify them but there’s no punk rock from what I heard and, while there is a definite ska influence, it’s not defining to the sound. Maybe I just don’t want to call it ska because I actually enjoyed this album and it’s hard for me to admit to liking anything ska. I could easily see any of these tracks ending up in a dark, kooky movie like those that Tim Burton makes. There’s a very dark cartoon/claymation feel and it’s just a bunch of fun, altogether.

7 out of 10.

Chris Cavoretto

For more info on Spooky Jefferson’s Ideal Lunchbox check out their Facebook page HERE 

Assault on Precinct 13 (1976) Soundtrack Review

assault13Assault on Precinct 13 (1976) Soundtrack Review

Assault on Precinct 13 (1976) horror maestro John Carpenter’s tale of an retired and near abandoned precinct’s final hours and its desperate final battle against an increasingly deadly street gang seeking revenge and retribution for their fallen brethren is a tense film made even more memorable by its near perfect casting and solid acting.

 

As with all Carpenter’s body of works it is accompanied by a tremendous score; laying the groundwork for his excellent Halloween (1978) score which is one of the most atmospheric and well used scores in film. Assault’s simple rhythmic use of repetition encapsulates the growing tension inside the police station forcing the viewer to be for lack of a better term assaulted both visually and aurally as the story unfolds.

 

The main theme is atypical of the synth work used through his catalogue but here it is almost used as a character, urging the viewer to sense the coming threat as a metronome slowly sticks with a simple pulsing drum developing before morphing into a richer accompaniment becoming lodged into your brain ready to be manipulated as the film unfolds, a thing that Carpenter does throughout.

 

assault131Track Division 13 is another variation of the theme but this song personally embodies the cop movie sound, it feels perfect when its played on screen with the action and routine of a police officers duty. This wouldn’t feel out of place in any 70s buddy cop film.

 

As this is one of the early Carpenter scores mainly due to budget constraints it fundamentally lays down much of the groundwork that he would later use on all his films alongside Alan Howarth making this and excellent entry level soundtrack for any Carpenter aficionado to devour to appreciate the thought and effort that is put into making a score.

 

The music in this film is as much a character as any of the actors and the prompts given in subtle uses add an incredible depth to some of the harder to stomach scenes, the ice cream van shooting is a perfect example of this childish jingle is played from the van as the main themes pulsing drums are underlaid setting up something sinister before stopping abruptly allowing relief from the tension only to rise again sharper and more threatening aurally as the threat on screen also develops.

 

The use of negative sound is as much a part of the soundtrack as the actual score and again shows great talent and passion that Carpenter has in creating these minimal yet masterful electronic scores.

 

dwassaultThe UK based recording label Death Waltz Records have released the full score on “vanilla Twist” (a beautifully ironic joke and one of the films most heart wrenching scenes) white and red splatter 180G Vinyl, accompanied by excellent artwork from Jay Shaw and extensive liner notes from Austin Stoker, Clint Mansell, fangoria’s Chris Alexander and John Carpenter himself making this an essential release to own.

 

Near perfection and the meat, bones and soul of every one of carpenter’s subsequent scores are embodied here in its rawest fashion waiting for them to mature and develop over his illustrious career.