So I'm still up in Portland, but Hearse friend and supporter, Dennis Dread, has put together a thoroughly morbid mix tape for you to geek out on this Halloween. Dennis, besides having great taste in music, is also an accomplished illustrator best known for his work on recent Darkthrone albums. He also runs a great art zine called Destroying Angels. Thanks, Dennis, for taking the reins in my absence.
Arkham House Into The Witch House
Not much to say about this mysteriously shrouded demo except that it was recorded in 1994, long before the term "basement black metal" had entered popular lexicon, and while it never really enters the metal realm this tape manages to cast a capable spell of macabre lo-fi eldritch atmospheres.
Exorcist Black Mass
The opening track from their sole recording, Nightmare Theater, released in 1986 by Cobra Records who also delivered Piledriver to the world. Exorcist was a short-lived horror oriented project with late NWOBHM leanings formed by Dave "Dionysus" DeFeis of Virgin Steele fame.
English Dogs Nosferatu
This is where I imagine many Cosmic Hearse riders will jump shark...er...ship. Good riddance. By the time these mad punx had released their second full-length LP in 1985, Forward Into Battle (with unapologetically stolen Boris cover art), they already had several releases under their bullet belts and were in the throes of a total metalmorphosis!
More UK madness with the title track from Attak's only full-length LP. The lyrics could've been penned by an autistic third grader with a tube of glue shoved up his nose. But instead they were written by a grown man who probably had an Oi! pin on his jacket and a headband that matched his mustache.
Black Uniforms City Of The Dead
Sweden's favorite Splatter Punx open this little gem with a Fabio Frizzi sample before launching into the sloppy d-beat assault that made Faces of Death (1989) such a fun record. If you listen closely you can hear Metallica bleeding through the tape during the intro!
No, not the Relapse duo (spelled Zombi) but an extended homemade sample from Lucio Fulci's masterpiece, otherwise known as Zombie Flesh Eaters! Yes, I held the tape recorder up to my TV and created this just for you, Dear Listener. After all, it's Halloween.
Lebenden Toten Near Dark
Uncharacteristically slow and catchy blast from my favorite Northwest crasher-crusties that takes its name from the brilliant 80's vampire re-imagining starring Lance Henriksen! Swirling psychedelic walls of distortion and abrasive death rattles that fuse the best of Antisect and Confuse.
Broken Bones Dem Bones
Playful "outro" from the 1984 debut full-length. If you think this song is absurd you should see the cover art by guitarist Bones' little brother Tezz!
Screamin' Jay Hawkins I Hear Voices
1962 alternate version of Mr. Hawkins' schizo love-song-turned-haunted-house-of-broken-hearts! The liner notes explain that an engineer for this recording instructed him to moan over the music so he simply enunciated the word "moan" over and over again to great effect.
The Meteors Johnny Remember Me
The kings of psychobilly hit the UK charts in 1983 with this rendition of producer Joe Meek's 1961 hit, originally performed by John Leyton and The Outlaws. None of the greasy-haired impostors that followed in The Meteors' wake could touch this beautiful ghost story from their sophomore outing Wreckin' Crew.
Roky Erickson Burn The Flame
Roky is hipster pay dirt these days but here's one you don't hear often. This is his contribution to Dan O'Bannon's 1984 Return of the Living Dead soundtrack. There's nothing funny or ironic about these lyrics. Roky thinks of demons for you.
Sam Gopal Season Of The Witch
Malaysian-born tabla player Sam Gopal's Donovan cover featuring sexy backup singers and a very young pre-Hawkwind/Motorhead Lemmy Kilmister on vocals and bass. This could be the soundtrack to a really good episode of Scooby Doo. Check out George Romero's weird suburban witchcraft film of the same title.
The Italian prog-masters at their best! This is of course the title track to Dario Argento's 1977 supernatural mindfuck and the original cover art to this LP was blatantly stolen from Coven's Blood On The Snow which was released three years earlier.
Deadmask No Rest For The Wicked
A relatively new duet from Spain featuring Dopi of Machetazo on all instruments and a gal named Nuria Otero on vocals. Worshipping at the altar of occult 70's rock, here they pay tribute to Sweden's Coffinshakers with this beautifully sparse ballad.
Wendy Carlos & Rachel Elkind The Shining
Brooding theme to Stanley Kubrick's classic Stephen King adaptation. A disturbing descent into the madness of isolation and the insidious evil of domestic violence, partially filmed at Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood.
Pino Donaggio School In Flames
The only reason to rescue Donaggio's Carrie score from the discount bins is the second song on side two. This one gives Taint a run for his money for sheer malevolent vibes and oppressive textures. I like to play this track at 3am when I'm drawing alone in my basement and it never fails to make me look over my shoulder.
Aghast Enter The Hall Of Ice
Aghast was Tania Stene and Andrea Haugen, both closely affiliated at the time with the emerging Norwegian Black Metal scene, and this is basically the "hit" from their 1995 LP Hexerei Im Zwielicht Der Finsternis. Dark shamanistic chants in the cold norse tradition. This is recorded from the picture disc so pardon the extra hiss in the mix.
Howard Shore Welcome to Videodrome
Here's one for the bleepy-bloop electronic enthusiasts and it comes from one of my favorite David Cronenberg flicks! This actually gets more disturbing with extended exposure. Listen closely and you can hear Debbie Harry breathing through the TV screen. "Long Live The New Flesh!"
Extra Hot Sauce
This is really just the intro sample to the EHS song Extreme Hatred but it's so damn awesome I wanted to give credit where it's due. This was my answering machine message (remember them?) years ago and it freaked my girlfriend's parents out so bad they almost had the operator interrupt the line to make sure she was ok.
The Sonics Psycho
Hailing from the wetlands of Tacoma, Washington, The Sonics are credited with forging the punk rock template way back in the 60's with their simple cord progressions, feral instrumental hijinx and antisocial lyrical content. This 1965 classic is one of the most satisfying moments in rock 'n' roll. Order a Coca-Cola at the drive-in and kill something!
The Misfits Horror Business
Obvious, yes, but you didn't seriously think I would exclude the greatest horror-punk band in the world from this Halloween mix tape did you? This version of the title track of their third 7" is culled from Evil Live, a recording that ranks right up there with Unleashed In The East, Live After Death and Space Ritual. "One more fucking time you asshole and you DIE!!!!"
Hasil Adkins We Got A Date
Hasil "The Haze" Adkins is the legendary One-Man-Band of West Virgina. As the story goes, his musical career began as a barefoot rugrat when he misread a Hank Williams record and figured he had to learn to play all the instruments himself...at once. Many of his primitive trailer park stomps feature him on guitar, drums, vocals, and occasionally harmonica. This little ditty, an alternate version of his single No More Hot Dogs, was probably recorded around 1965.
Black Mass Lucifer ESP
There was a glut of "exciting" synthesizer records in the late 60's and early 70's. This is one of the stranger of the lot, especially when you consider that a pentagram was still pretty shocking in 1971. "This brief musical interpretation of ESP concerns telepathy in which the thoughts of two individuals, after transference from the senders, combine with each other in the mind of you the listener." So say the liner notes.
Salem Mass Witch Burning
We return to the Northwest with Salem Mass, a third tier "prog rock" band that has been lost to time and dust largely due to their self-indulgent and mostly flaccid jams. Initially from Idaho, they frequently landed in Portland, Oregon throughout their career and still reside just a few hours away. This 10 minute epic is by far their best work so roll a doobie and relax knowing you don't need to ferret out their entire back catalog.
Arkham Hearse Astral Rape Procession/Wolves In The Walls
Reprise. With song titles like that, who needs a recording studio?
Gnome Canis Lupus Hodophilax
A gross abuse of Robert Redford's Language and Music Of Wolves LP, this crazy manga mayhem makes Sigh sound downright pedestrian in comparison. From the 1999 split demo with Japan's equally bizarre Nyarlathotep (who would go on to produce Gallhammer).
Clara Rockmore Berceuse
Hopefully you've already heard this haunting 1977 masterpiece featuring Clara Rockmore on theremin and Nadia Reisenberg on piano but, in case you haven't, I feel compelled to expand your horizons. The perfect quivering accompaniment to a candlelit Hallow's Eve.
The Munsters Theme
Just be thankful the tape wasn't 120 minutes or you would've got the extended version with vocals. Happy Halloween!