Tag Diving: Horror (part 1)

Tag diving is like dumpster diving. But instead of digging through garbage and finding a perfectly good hat that just needs a replacement part-that-covers-your-head, I browse a tag on Bandcamp and share neat music with you. Today’s tag: horror.

Several of us have talked before about phases in our listening habits. Despite being slaves to the heavy, it seems most of us have periods where we don’t listen to metal at all. We always come back though, usually in the middle of the night, sobbing and covered in snot, blubbering about how we were wrong, so wrong, to leave in the first place. I’ll find myself doing that soon enough, but I’m currently riding this horror tag kick that has yielded some excellent results (some of which even include metal!). This one is going to be split into multiple parts because I found too much cool stuff to cram into one post.

We’re kicking this off with one of my favorites of the bunch. It was interesting to see the sheer breadth of styles that included the “horror” tag, and a few acts took a pseudo-soundtrack angle to the category. The Parlour Trick did this to excellent effect with A Blessed Unrest. The album weaves a creepy tale of a haunted house, or “the inescapable trope of the ‘Madwoman in the Attic.’” The description on the website lays out the dozen plus instruments (including theremin!) used to create the haunting tunes, creaking atmosphere, and surreal soundscapes, and let me confirm for you right now that this album is expertly crafted for a truly ghostly experience. From the lilting 7/8 groove of “The Lady of the House of Love” to the brooding creepiness of “Leafy Sea Dragon Nursery,” this album delivers.

Taking a lo-fi/old school approach to the horror feel, Death By Raygun provides a fuzzy B-movie-esque romp through listenable rock tunes and endlessly catchy vocals. I can clearly see a bunch of sloppy, black-and-white cuts of an old school Swamp Thing (which is obviously a dude in a crappy costume) lurching toward a clean-cut college kid from the 1950s (who pathetically makes no attempt to escape) while I listen to “Sheila Comes Back.” I love it. It even reminded me of a track off of the excellent self-titled album by Dead Man’s Bones, a duo consisting of Ryan Gosling (yes, that Ryan Gosling) and Zach Shields.

Alright, let’s have some metal. I’ll be honest, this band was an outlier for me. Combining dark electronica with an accessible form of black metal, Sarcophagic provide a catchy, yet slightly jarring approach to heavy music. This could be the tougher, grizzled older brother of Prodigy or the way cooler, mysterious cousin of Marilyn Manson that didn’t suck. I kept expecting myself to say that it was too cheesy and switch to something else, but something about those mechanically driven vocals and steady industrial groove hooked me. It’s not something I would regularly jam, but I trust some of you will dig it.

Revisiting the soundtrack conception of horror, feast your ears upon 2009’s Black Goat Of The Woods by Black Mountain Transmitter. The work of James R. Moore of Northern Ireland, Black Mountain Transmitter presents the album as “the soundtrack from some lost low-budget horror movie, rediscovered on an old and faded VHS cassette.” Fans of spooky soundtracks, Lovecraft enthusiasts, and lovers of dark ambient will all enjoy this, along with Moore’s description of a childhood brush with the unknown here. That link also contains a Soundcloud stream of his follow up album from 2012, Playing With Dead Things.

As an old school companion to Death By Raygun, Chad Fifer brings us the brilliantly fun Monster Party. Perfectly suited to the werewolves, vampires, and ghost stories of yore, this album lives up to its name in style. It’s also highly worth noting that Chad Fifer is a writer and co-host of the HP Lovecraft Literary Podcast. That title alone should have quite a few of you scrambling to check it out if you haven’t already, but allow me to say that, in addition to the regular reading of Lovecraft-inspired tales, the podcast features several full readings of Lovecraft’s most popular works. Check it.

If you’ve made it this far and listened to everything, you deserve a serious reward. Let’s cash out with some ugly, occult driven black metal. Abhor is the soundtrack to dusty dungeons and winding catacombs, recalling the black metal masters of old without feeling like a pure throwback act. Synthesizer isn’t a common feature in black metal bands that favor rawness, but the organ sound works well for their ritualistic, horror-fueled vibe. Those ugly vocals are the trve icing on the cake for me, growling and hissing bitter incantations over the darkly mid-paced instrumental work. Fans of Mortuary Drape and very old Crimson Moonlight will love it.

I’ll be back soon with more horror goodness.
  • Marilyn. Manson…
    Is he even making money anymore?

  • I dig this feature. And I will def check that Abhor thingy.

    Thanks, Stockhausen!

    • Stockhausen

      Yes sir. I think many of us here will dig Abhor!

  • Dubbbz

    Thanks for doing this, Stocky. I fully intend to check a bunch of this stuff out.

    • Stockhausen

      I think you’ll definitely dig The Parlour Trick and Black Goat of the Woods. These are fun ones to do.

  • Black Goats of the Woods?



  • Dagon

    This is a great idea and a great post.

  • Abradolf Lincler

    my old lady got mad because i used up all of our data early (i blame yall), so i cant stream this one today until i get home ;(

  • Was doing some tag-diving myself just now…. found this killer album artwork. It was listened under “black metal”. But is def sythbass/techno/something. Whatevs!


    • Abradolf Lincler

      is nicholas cage moses now?

    • sweetooth0

      GosT rules. total synthwave stuff ala Perturbator and Carpenter Brut. I love how the cover is a riff on The Thing.

      • Howard Dean

        Are you into Crypt Vapor at all? I really dug last year’s Tombe Della Citta. Just cheesy/sleazy 80’s thriller soundtrack stuff. This was probably one of my most listened to albums in 2015:


        • Dagon

          Have you watched or heard the soundtrack to Only God Forgives? One of its few redeeming aspects.

          • Howard Dean

            Nope, I’ve never heard of the movie (had to google it). Will look it up.

          • sweetooth0

            I actually liked that movie.

          • Dagon

            I thought it was visually stunning but not entirely entertaining.

        • sweetooth0

          Nope, but I’m definitely gonna have to check that out, sounds like it’d be right up my alley

    • That. Artwork. Fucking Rules!

      Much The Thing worship.

    • Stockhausen

      I could never get into that style, although I definitely get the appeal.

  • JWEG

    As an academic I want to replicate the search process of this series for both recent topics so far to see if your methodology holds up (safe bet it does but that’s how publishing systematic reviews works), but the bandcamp app still does’t allow searching by tags (AFAICT).

    I’m about to see my dental hygeinist for a cleaning though, and then there’s a long trip back to campus for work so I’m at least two hours away from doing that.

    Maybe I’ll designate a Research Assistant to do it for me, then reward their (free) work by getting a coauthor credit in only the obscurer second publication of the results…

    • Jajajajaja, I have like two coauthor credit for doing the dirty job.

    • Stockhausen

      I can assure you my methods are thorough, highly objective, and replicable. If an album cover looks neat, I’ll click on it. When I have a bunch of albums that all don’t suck, I compile them in the post. Quite sciencey.

  • Joaquin Stick

    Cool stuff Stocky, I’m not so big on anything horror related specifically, but The Parlour Trick is doing it for me. Some of the tracks are like weirder versions of The Dear Hunter’s interludes.

    • Stockhausen

      Good call! The Parlour Trick was my favorite of the group, and I get what you’re saying about similarities to TDH.

  • Hans Gruber

    Nice one, thanks! Going to check out at least most of these.

  • Waynecro

    Nice work, Stockhausen. The Parlour Trick sounds downright pleasant at times. I kind of dig it. Theremin >>>>>>>>>

  • The Parlour Trick – Gorgeous.
    Death By Raygun – Hot fun.
    Sarcophagic – Oceans of NO.
    Black Mountain Transmitter – Toooooooooo Spoooooooooopy
    Chad Fifer – Ummmmmmmmmm wot?
    Abhor – Hello Satan, fancy a spot o’ tea?

    edit: Thanks for doing these, Stock-o. They’re great.