The Howling Bullets – Ghoul County

photo: Lily Lemonpie

photo: Lily Lemonpie

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 1291623_10153251806110361_950545741_nof 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 .

http://www.thehowlingbullets.com/

9/10

RingMaster 26/09/2013

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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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