Death Metallers Howling pay tribute to Chas Balun and “HORROR HOLOCAUST” on new record
HOWLING is not at all shy about letting its genre roots show—the gore-festooned melodic death metallers’ self-declared influences include “80s back issues of FANGORIA, GOREZONE, DEEP RED, and vintage poster/VHS artwork from the glory days” and the band’s excellent full-length debut A BEAST CONCEIVED paid open homage to a bevy of underground classics from the backwoods horror subgenre.
The latest offering, TEAR THE SCREAMS FROM YOUR THROAT, however, raises this cinematic toil and trouble worship to another level entirely with a stunning cover of the swaggering cock rock anthem “Stand Up” off the TRICK OR TREAT (1986) soundtrack set alongside “Lust For the Crimson Splatter,” a ghastly love letter to horror fanatics inspired by and dedicated to legendary FANGO/GOREZONE scribe Chas Balun and his peerless book HORROR HOLOCAUST.
“There are just so many interesting ideas and passages and words in HORROR HOLOCAUST—I thought it would be cool to try to put together a similar kind of genre summation, only in a song,” Howling vocalist and all around horrific heavy metal renaissance woman Vanessa Nocera says. “I hope the track emulates the spirit of Chas a little bit, too—you know, very rebellious and passionate and brave and intelligent and totally unwilling to engage in any of the usual bullshit. That’s a vibe I picked up on and really connected to back when I was a younger horror fan first discovering his articles and books. He set a great example.”
Other songs on TEAR THE SCREAMS FROM YOUR THROAT draw inspiration from such diverse films as SLAUGHTERHOUSE (1987), ALICE, SWEET ALICE (1976), THE THING (1982), and WOLFEN (1981). When FANGORIA notes this last entry seems particularly apropos, considering the weird, esoteric nature of that film and some of the boundary-pushing nuances of the record, Nocera pauses for a few moments of thoughtful contemplation. “I guess the comparison does make sense in a way,” she muses. “I’ve always loved WOLFEN because I have Native American blood on both sides of my family and so growing up I heard a lot of stories about shapeshifters. But there is also sort of a general theme musically and lyrically on TEAR THE SCREAMS FROM YOUR THOAT of shapeshifting and transmutation. I like to think it’s a great gateway between what we’ve done in the past and what is to come.”
As for TRICK OR TREAT cover, the film is a favorite of both Nocera and guitarist Tony Proffer—a shared love that spiraled gloriously out of control.
“I just randomly asked Tony if he thought he could put together the guitar tracks and drums and everything for the song, and he had it ready in no time,” she laughs. “I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, we’re actually going to do this.’ I’m wondering what people will think—Howling fans definitely aren’t used to hearing me sing this way. It’s kind of a tongue in cheek thing, but I’m really happy with how it turned out.”
Truth is, “Stand Up” is really just the blood-soaked cherry on top of an intriguing, enlivening, multi-dimensional extreme metal record. Or, as Nocera roars on “Lust For the Crimson Splatter”…
Our love of horror thrusts open the tall, rusty gates to Hell!
For more on Howling, visit their official Facebook here.