With a blood thirst to their invention and predatory stench to their sounds, Canadian horror rock band The Howling Bullets return with new EP Ghoul County to resume their preying on the psyche. Following their excellent From The Public Domain EP of 2012, the new six track stalking is a ravenous expanse of horror rock, psychobilly, and country punk unleashed in diverse permutations and uncompromising passion.
Hailing from the darkest corners of Toronto, The Howling Bullets came together around 2011, DanO Villano and Jordan Sane coming together a little earlier to write and expand on songs the former had already been working on. Soon a full band The Public Domain EP brought the band to closer attention beyond their strong local reputation including an internet presence which brought them to hunger of shows like The Bone Orchard at www.audioburger.com. A line-up change brought in guitarist Seanbelly Sewell alongside the dual attack of vocalists and bassists Sane and Villano later that year with Alvin Lapp joining on drums. Shows and festival appearances alongside the likes of Christian D and the Hangovers, Owen Mays, Bloodshot Bill, The Brains, Koffin Kats, The House Of Haunt and many more, only enhanced their stature and the appetite for their fiery horror bred sounds. April of this year saw the current line-up in place with Elena Red taking control of the rhythms with her stick mystique and now September 27th sees the next instalment of The Howling Bullets bloody alchemy set loose.
The EP growls into view with Ghoul County Limits, a carnivorous bass riff drawing in the equally rapacious guitars and rhythmic lashing of Red. A hunger driven intensity and stroll to the song provides an unrelenting temptation which is raised further by the great vocals, the two frontman trading verses, and the melodic flames which flare up across the contagious charge. Like a meat clad bone before a hound the horror punk introduction to the release is potent bait, its equally delicious psychobilly tonic only increasing its lure and grip on awakening passions.
The addiction causing start is followed by Zombie Bat, a rampage which takes its lead from its predecessor in showing no thoughts of restraint in the riffs and rhythmic enticement. In its gait and invention the song twists, turns, and stops at a whim to show immediate diversity whilst keeping the senses and appetite greedily attentive and wrapped in unpredictable seduction. There is a familiarity to the swagger and tone of the song it has to be said, and though saying Misfits is too easy but certainly there is a sense of that flavour of horror rock at mischievous play.
Cold Cold Skin shimmers from its opening breath with a sonic guitar mist which rains down on the emerging prowl and intimidation of the song whilst caressing the imagination. There is a Samhain growl and menace to the song from the start which only ignites greater rapture for the already impressive release. Equipped with blues fumes and an uncompromising snarl, the slowly stomping burn of the track traps the passions with a blaze of guitar blues excellence in the midst of the predacious smothering of the senses, the result a seizure of the passions from the persuasive offering.
The heat is turned up with the scintillating instrumental The Djinn, a middle Eastern surf rock blaze of grumbling rhythms and tight acidic enterprise coaxed and goaded by the ever riveting dual bass attack. Wrapped in chilling mystique and dangerous melodic enchantment the piece of music is another irresistible magnet making the perfect appetiser for the best track on Ghoul County, the ravenous New Age Hex. Adrenaline fuelled with a certain punk rabidity to its Cramps like gnawing of the psyche, the track is as virulently infectious as it is skilfully intimidating, and over far too soon for these greedy passions. Impossible for feet and voice not to join in its devilry, the song lands enjoyably somewhere between Guana Batz and King Kurt in sound and as mentioned The Cramps in its rawer lining of epidemic suasion.
The closing That Hellbound Train enters into the realm of country rock for its ghostly tale of a railroad haunting. Now country music for us is as welcome as an octogenarian stripper but with its more of an outlaw cowpunk spicing and excellent guitar work it is a very pleasing finale to an excellent release, even if not quite igniting the fires inside of other songs on the EP.
For prime rockabilly/horror rock with a multifarious depth of flavours and imagination, The Howling Bullets has crafted one of the true exciting dangerous adventures, but are you brave enough to enter Ghoul County .
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