Skulk, The Hulking – Afterbirth Of A Nation

It is fair to say that 2018 has ended its tenure with some of its biggest highlights release wise among which Afterbirth Of A Nation has to be one of if not the most compelling and enjoyable. The second album from one man project, songwriter and satirist Skulk, The Hulking, the offering is an imagination rousing, ear gripping slab of unique enterprise which had us drooling in no time.

The successor to his 2015 debut album, In Sickness and in Health, the new encounter this time sees Skulk joined by creatively like-minded musicians in guitarist Ashley Levine, drummer Fernando Morales, and bassist Vern Woodhead. In turn this has brought a far broader palette to the bold and adventurous escapade seeded within its predecessor. The band has merged the electronic, hip hop, and punk of that first encounter with the feral and ferocious antics of metal in its varied guises within Afterbirth Of A Nation; the result something akin to a rabid fusion of Dog Fashion Disco, System Of A Down, Five Star Prison Cell, and Agent Orange but distinct in its character and forcibly magnetic incitement.

Afterbirth Of A Nation opens up with Hide Your Children.  Straight away sauntering in, the bass begins luring ears with the dark jazzy mystique of the song blossoming alongside. Soon after the unique and captivating tones of Skulk unveil the drama and mischief of his words as the Bauhaus like lure of the encounter boils up into a metal inflamed blaze. Settling back down, new hues and enterprise rise up around the infectious rhythmic stroll and hip hop nurtured vocals; it all making for an irresistible introduction to the release.

It is a resourceful and striking beginning only accentuated by next up He Who Finishes First Is Finished First. Leading with teasing guitar bait, the song swaggers in with eager rhythms and a vocal prowess which just made us want to get involved. It is simultaneously composed yet manic, every second a devious seed and ingredient to an adventure which swiftly got under the skin echoing those earlier mentioned clues to the Skulk, The Hulking adventure.

The track is simply superb and quickly matched by the devilish swing of By Hook Or By Crooked Automatic Assault Rifle. Like a psychotic carousel it swirls in ears, from time to time slowing momentarily to add fresh adventure and revelry around another potent lyrical trespass before scooping up the listener in its carnival-esque hunger.

The darker, predacious presence of Grind (Money Crotch) intimidates as it seduces with its slow swing, bass and guitar portentous in their tempting before its lid is lifted and ferocious discontent spills out. It too is just a moment in the track’s mercurial landscape, a captivating web of sound and vocal enterprise exposed and expanded by the cycle before making way for the tenebrific grumble of Joe Candidate with again Skulk sheer magnetism at its heart. A sombre slow and simple crawl with bursts of carnal irritability, the song just seduced from start to finish, much as the album itself.

Through the mischievous punk inflamed swing of Cancer and the funk ‘n’ jazz saunter of Make It Sew, an already rising addiction to the album was simply escalated, creative devilment and vocal tenacity their inescapable fuel while This Commercialism Sure Means Business… brings an unhinged, indeed certifiable blaze of punk and blues funk tinged rock ‘n’ roll full of derision and tenacity which similarly had us leaping to feet while giving an eager roar.

And the goodness just simply continues; The Proper Way To Fail bringing back the meandering but purposeful amble the band so easily breed to entice and ensnare ears and appetite with. Unapologetically infectious especially within its delicious chorus, the track was manna to the imagination before Add Her All had the same also eating out of its creative rock ‘n’ roll hands and in turn We, The Terrorism enticed physical spasms and attitude soaked vocal involvement in its virulent nonconformist furor.

Afterbirth Of A Nation ends with the unstable temperament and exploits of May It Never End; a loco of sound and boldly resourceful enterprise which left only a hunger for more as it sealed quite simply one of last year’s major highlights and an encounter no one should let slip by.

Afterbirth Of A Nation is out now @ https://skulkthehulking.bandcamp.com/album/afterbirth-of-a-nation

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Pete RingMaster 04/01/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Demented Are Go: Welcome Back To Insanity Hall

Be afraid; be very afraid for the asylum borne mayhem that is Demented Are Go is back. Their long awaited and permanently desired return comes in the size of the malevolent new album Welcome Back To Insanity Hall. They have not just re-emerged to stalk nightmares once more but burst in on us again with an intensity and dark villainy that sees them back to their very evil best.

When psychobilly was at its height in the eighties with the likes of Meteors, Guana Batz, and King Kurt leaving wreckage wherever they stomped with their infectious sounds, Demented Are Go was the one band that stood out and fired up these senses more than most. From the moment their debut album In Sickness And In Health put its nasty twisted fingers around the heart with slices of evil in the shape of tracks like Pervy In The Park and Rubber Love, devotion was inevitable so that even the mention of their name was inspiration for a deep malignant glow within.

Sparky

The years and lives of Demented Are Go and especially of band original and vocalist Sparky (Mark Phillips) have been turbulent and unsettling to say the least but throughout the band has fought back to rile up music and their fans with notable releases such as Kicked Out Of Hell of 1988 and Hellbilly Storm in 2005. Times have been rocky for Sparky and testing for a band that has seen many changes over the years but nothing could stop them for long. For all the great releases it can be said that the band has not always lived up to those early days even if they out shone most other pretenders throughout but with the new album they have once more taken their place at the head of the genre with a mighty declaration.

Just to prove that the world of Demented Are Go is never straight forward the album was touched by tragedy in the death of engineer/producer Tim Buktu with whom the band also worked when he remixed their earlier Hellucifernation in the late nineties. Aged only 53 he died from a heart attack having already mixed the new release and it hit the band hard as one can imagine. Eventually with the determination and strength that has always been a hallmark of Demented Are Go, the album was finished by late 2011.

From the opening madness of the intro a feeling brews that this will be an unforgettable hellish ride, the opening title track bringing the confirmation and so much more. Rampaging through the ear the song litters the senses with unbridled tumbling riffs, insatiable beats and Sparky ripping up things with his gravelled venom dripping vocals. It has been seven years since their last album but Welcome Back To Insanity Hall makes it feel like they have never been away, something all the subsequent tracks endorse with a vengeance. What emerges is an album which might just be the most complete and consistent ever from the band and certainly one of the very best.

Earlier albums gave us classics like Human Slug, Transvestite Blues, and Pickled And Preserved to name just a trio that scarred the heart for blissfully ever. The new album adds to the list with the mighty black wickedness of Devil Says Kill, the menacing Heads On A Pole with rhythms that see walls crumble and enemies run in fright, and the outstanding Lucky Charm, a song that plunders the senses with punchy rhythms and riffs which command and taunt. With the best song on the album The Life I Live adding to the deep quality and fun this is an album that Demented Are Go were always destined to make. Like the album, The Life I Live has a swagger to it, a mischievous glint in the eye and satanic grin that is addictive from the moment the opening intermittent guitar strikes beckon with their steely fingers. It has a reflective feel, a personal heart, and a defiance that says this is how it is just deal with it.

It is unfair to pick out some songs over others as the whole release is of such a high standard. From Sparky growling and back as the frontman of psychobilly to the flesh searing slices of deviltry from guitarist Holger and the bone shaking stomps of drummer Criss Damage the band tears a wide one in all it makes contact with. The trio excel everywhere to make every song deeply impressive but things are taken to an even greater height by the double bass sorcery of Grischa. He prowls and pounces on the nerves through each song like a ravenous beast and in this disciple resurrects the long burning desire to get ones hand on a slapper…. the instrument obviously.

The album is wonderfully unpredictable, eagerly diverse, and a marauding storm of rock n roll from beyond the grave. Sparky and co sold their souls to the devil a long time back and now they want yours. Welcome Back To Insanity Hall shows there is no resistance strong enough to avoid the inevitable.

RingMaster 04/03/2012

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