HALLOWEEN’ING 2015: Day 31 – HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

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HALLOWEEN'ING 2015

happy halloween This is it, the day we’ve all been waiting for! Go, have a Happy Halloween, and have fun. And don’t forget the real meaning behind Halloween: To celebrate the defeat of Death and Satan at the Cross of Christ. Tonight, the forces of darkness are mocked, as we all gather together with candy and such. So, until next year, I shall go forth into the night and enjoy the day, until the clock strikes Midnight, and the Post-Halloween Depression sets in.

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NECRO SHOCK RADIO: Session 3-13 – The Halloween Hootenanny!

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SESSION 13

The HALLOWEEN HOOTENANNY 2015!

Hey, everyone! It’s Uncle NecRo’s favorite time of the year! And to celebrate, I’ve whipped up a special Halloween Hootenanny for this session of Brutal Music Therapy!

Featuring cuts from:

graveyard bats - crush your lie the deadlines - the life and death of... rackets & drapes - trick or treat kryst the conquerer grave robber - be afraid dark night - night of halloween coriolis - coriolis blaster the rocketboy - succulent space food for teething vampires alice cooper - the last temptation

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HALLOWEEN’ING 2015: Day 30 – Gothic Literature

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HALLOWEEN'ING 2015oxford book of gothic talesNowadays, when someone refers to “Gothic fiction”, they’re probably thinking of the modern urban fantasy types featuring brooding vampires and…well, it’s mostly vampires. Nothing wrong with that, I guess. But, when I think of Gothic fiction, or Gothic literature, as the title of this Halloween’ing post is, I think of the classics: The stories and poems by the likes of Edgar Allan Poe, Mary Shelley’s creature, Bram Stoker’s famous vampire, Washington Irving’s Legend of Sleepy Hollow, the ghost stories of M. R. James, plus a myriad of others.

These are stories that were made to be best enjoyed in the dead of night, preferably by candle light and in a drafty, musty castle. That last part might be hard to come by nowadays, but the point is, these are atmospheric classics that begs to be read in the manner they deserve. And not just this one time of the year, either.

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HALLOWEEN’ING 2015: Day 29 – Revenge of the Top Ten Favorite Halloween Mix Songs

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HALLOWEEN'ING 2015Okay, so we’re getting close to the big day, and you’re still wondering what kind of mix to throw on for your party. Might I suggest first checking out my original playlist post from 2014. Beyond that, if you’re still wanting more, I provide for you now the sequel to that post, Revenge of the Top Ten Favorite Halloween Mix Songs! Thunder, lightning, and maniacal laughter is inserted here…

“Bark At The Moon” (Ozzy Osbourne)

The title track from Ozzy’s third release, “Bark At The Moon” tells the tale of a creature that once terrorized a town, killed, and then got better. The video is like a mini-Hammer horror flick, borrowing heavily from Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. What other reason do you need to include this one?

“Halloween Theme” (John Carpenter)

The melody to this theme to Carpenter’s legendary Halloween franchise is simple, effective, and classic. Carpenter composed it on a piano, a simple melody that burned itself into the psyche of American culture. This needs to be included, definitely.

“Carmina Burana: Introduction” (Carl Orff)

I first came across this piece on the soundtrack to the movie The Doors. While I could take or leave classical music at the time, this piece of music actually hit me with its dark choral setup. This is actually part of a catana based on a bunch of medieval poems that was composed in the early 20th Century…but this is probably the most famous bit that everyone knows.

“(Every Day Is) Halloween” (Ministry)

Of course, I would include this in the mix. Because everybody else does. Seriously, I’ve seen this song featured on so many Gothic-themed collections that I’m pretty sure there’s an unwritten rule that this must be issued to you in some kind of welcome package when you decide to embrace the darkness. Also, it has the word “Halloween” in the title, so there’s that.

“This Corrosion” (Sisters Of Mercy)

Dark, atmospheric, and with a nice jaunty beat so you can dance to it. Also, one of my favorite Sisters Of Mercy songs.

“Dead Souls” (Joy Division)

The version of this song that I first heard was the Nine Inch Nails cover that was featured on The Crow soundtrack. I happened to choose the original Joy Division version on here because, well, you got to show love to the forefathers and all.

“Bela Lugosi’s Dead” (Bauhaus)

Okay, let’s do the checklist, shall we? Post-punk godfathers of the whole Goth movement in the 1980s? Check. Song about the actor who made the physical embodiment of Dracula iconic? Check. Tremendously atmospheric music that’s best heard in darkness lit by flickering candles? Check. Yep, on the list.

“This Maniac’s In Love With You” (Alice Cooper)

I loves me some Alice Cooper. He has such a rich library of Halloween fun to pick from. Usually my personal mixes involves ALL of the Alice Cooper. But in this case, I went with this cut from the 1989 release Trash. It’s a very jaunty and disturbing piece. And also, I’ve already used “Feed My Frankenstein” on last year’s list, so there’s that.

“Black No. 1 (Little Miss Scare-All)” (Type O Negative)

What would a Halloween playlist be without something from Type O Negative? Safe, that’s what. And who wants safe? Nobody on this blog, that’s for certain.

“Mr. Scary” (Dokken)

If you’re up on both your horror movies as well as the hair metal from the 1980s, you’re probably be thinking to yourself, “why didn’t he chose “Dream Warriors” from that album?” And I wouldn’t fault you for thinking that. I mean, that song was featured on the Nightmare On Elm Street 3 soundtrack. But, I went with my favorite cut from the beyond excellent Back For The Attack release, the guitar instrumental “Mr. Scary”. Why? Because it’s awesome. And it has the word “Scary” in the title. It was a natural choice.

So, there we are. Another ten choices for your Halloween mix. Will there be another one next year? We’ll just have to wait and see. Until then, enjoy.

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Music Review: STRYPER – Fallen

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stryper - fallen

STRYPER
Fallen
Frontier Records
2015

Being the long-time Stryper fan that I am, I can admit that anything they released after their 1986 classic release To Hell With The Devil would fail to hit the power of that album. Some would come close, but for the most part nothing after would get the same amount of replay value as does THWTD. As a matter of fact, I even skipped over checking out 2013’s No More Hell To Pay because of this “meh” factor I’ve run into.

Until now, that is.

I don’t know what it was that urged me to pick up a copy of Stryper’s recent release, Fallen, the day it became available via Amazon’s digital music download. I heard others claiming this release was Stryper’s finest one yet, a worthy successor to the post-THWTD saga. Of course, I ignored the hype anyway…I mean, that was said about past releases. So, popping this into the media player and pressing play, I sat back and…

…was immediately slammed back into my seat by the utter power that sprung forth from the speakers during the opening track “Yahweh”. And after listening to this a couple of times, yeah, I will have to concede that Fallen may finally be the worthy successor to THWTD Stryper had in them. Better late than never, right?

Those riffs. Oh, those very thick and meaty riffs we have going here. Heavy, powerful, and not your usual hard rock hair metal riffs. The songs at times verges on power metal, that’s how heavy this is. And for Stryper, this is a darker album that what you would probably be used to from the formerly black-and-yellow spandex clad troubadours. I think it’s a good thing, really.

Overall, save for the one obligatory ballad that trips up the flow a bit, Fallen is a very solid release full of heaviness that will make you all tingly. There’s a good variety in the song writing, as well as a decent cover of Black Sabbath’s “After Forever”, that puts this up in the area of the first three Stryper releases as far as re-listens go. Is Stryper back in form? No. They’re better. They’ve aged well. Highly recommended.

Music Review: W. A. S. P. – Golgotha

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wasp - golgotha

W. A. S. P.
Golgotha
Napalm Records
2015

I have to say, I wasn’t much of a fan of W. A. S. P. during my formative years discovering the goodness that is \,,/METAL\,,/. Being 12 at the time, during their heyday, I leaned more towards Twisted Sister in terms of psychotic wackiness in the image. W. A. S. P. was a bit too dark for my tastes back then. Even now, looking back at the era, Blackie Lawless and friends did make the likes of Motley Crue and Ratt seem downright conservative. Outside of the song “Wild Child” appearing on a cheesy metal compilation I picked up at a K-Mart back when I was 16, I wasn’t really familiar with the music of W. A. S. P.

But, that was then, and this is now. Band leader / vocalist / former meat slinger Blackie Lawless has been professing his Christian faith for a while. It wasn’t until now, though, that I felt like picking up my first W. A. S. P. album, and it happened to be this very one that I’m writing a review for: Golgotha. Imagine that.

Any long-time fan of the band probably already knows this, but this being my maiden journey through a full-length release of theirs, bear with me. The music is a hard-rocking, driving metal that’s heavy, raw, passionate, and chock full of enough hooks to snag Leviathan from his murky depths. I have to say, Blackie Lawless has a rather unique voice, kind of a smoky snarl that helps make this more than just your typical metal album. Seems I’ve been missing out all these…decades. Wow. I can actually say “decades” and mean it. Old \,,/METALHEADS\,,/ never die, I guess.

And since I have a feeling that people are going to ask me about it if I don’t, yes, the lyrics to the songs do allude to the Christian faith Lawless has now; and no, this doesn’t mean that you’ll be seeing W. A. S. P. albums being sold at your local Christian book store any time soon. Golgotha is a dark album, the meaning of the word “Golgotha” notwithstanding. The songs are existential in nature, describing the struggles of living from a genuine perspective of someone searching for something. Even the most blatant song of the bunch—the title track “Golgotha—is done from the perspective of one of the thieves on the cross next to Jesus.

Regardless of your views on faith and religion, though, Golgotha is a fantastic heavy metal album. The songs stick in your head long after the end. I’ve read reviews by hard-bitten atheists who have proclaimed this to be W. A. S. P.’s finest record to date, and that does say something about the quality. Highly recommended, as I’m glad I looked into picking this up.

Music Review: MALCOLM & ALWYN – Fool’s Wisdom

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malcolm + Alwyn - fool's wisdom

MALCOLM & ALWYN
Fool’s Wisdom
Myrrh Records
1973

For the life of me, I swear I had a review of this particular album done and posted years ago. Maybe it was only done for my former ‘zine publication–STATIC–that I did back in the 1990s, and never really did one for my forays into online blogging. But, going back thorough my highly prolific list of music reviews I have in my personal collection, I came upon the realization that I don’t have a review posted for British Jesus rock duo Malcolm & Alwyn’s debut release Fool’s Wisdom. Consider this my rectifying of the problem.

I first came across the music of Malcolm & Alwyn by way of the elders in the church I was attending in the 1990s, who all lived through the Jesus People movement in the 1960s and 1970s. They had a copy of this on vinyl, and since I was going through my neo-hippie phase back then (as a lot of college-age kids groping to find their identities sometimes do, I make no apologies), I recorded off a copy for my own listening enjoyment from the well-loved vinyl record they had. Later on, Word, Inc. (who bought up the label this album was originally released on) re-released a lot of Jesus Rock-era albums onto CD, and Fool’s Wisdom was one of the titles, which I bought…and then gave away to someone who really liked it better than myself. Now, here we are in the second decade of the 21st Century, and this debut album is now available for full download on Amazon and various other legal download sites. Now all we need is one of those Vinyl Revival re-issues to bring things full circle.

As far as the music on this release, I actually kind of like it, in the capacity of something to throw on when I’m in that Hippie Rock kind of mood. Yes, “Hippie Rock” is a genre in my head. Quit looking at me like that. It’s acoustic-based folk rock that typifies the era, and strong comparisons to Simon & Garfunkel and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young pop to mind, as well as asides to pre-electric Bob Dylan. The musicianship is quality, the songs are rather memorable, and–while I have to be in a very specific mood to throw this on–the entire album is solid front-to-back. Mind you, nowadays, I don’t throw it on nearly as many times as I had in my younger days, but it’s still a strong presence in my collection. I recommend this for fans of older classic folk-stylings of the previously mentioned Simon & Garfunkel and CSN+Y, as well as James Taylor, and acoustic music in general. Not as big on the pretentiousness, though.

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