“Smells like the Dead” (2008)
To begin in The Lurking Corpses fashion—as the band starts nearly every song with an audio clip from a classic horror movie—I’ll start with a movie quote of my own, “Listen to them. Creatures of the night! What music they make,” Dracula (1931). The Lurking Corpses fulfill the desires of every horror fan with their haunting guitar work, soul shaking drums, and tongue-in-cheek lyrics that unearth a terrific mix of violence, necrophilic sex & love, and gore.
The Lurking Corpses embody the genres of both horror-punk and death metal and their sound changes from song to song with great skill displayed in both styles. The opening song, for example, titled Call on the Dead, starts things off with an energetic horror-punk earworm that will inch its way in and stick most pleasantly in the brain. The vigorous vocals, as well as the backing vocals deliver the morbid lyrics in a manner that will have listeners smiling at the descriptions of bodily disfigurement at the hands of the dead. After a strange and humorous audio segment called Party Time at Zombie High, the album picks back up with perhaps the strongest piece of horror-punk music in the collection, Maggots Ate Her Brain. Listening to the romantic necrophilliac’s love song, one can image to high pitched backing vocals as the maggots themselves singing. Lord Vladimir Von Ghoul carries the song with his deep, sometimes gravelly vocals and the components supplied by the rest of the band and sewn together through post production of the piece come masterfully together like Frankenstein’s monster—the clapping, the remorseful and sometimes repentant vocals, the story it tells, all seize the listener.
Into the Moonlight ends a strong horror-punk segment with another good addition before the album shifts into a death metal set with the vocals becoming growls high and low and a throaty projection in the songs Night at the Grindhouse and a enjoyable halfway point between the throaty death metal and heavily melodic horror-punk vocals in This Nightmare Carries On, where an outside listener might easily confuse the song as one of Danzig’s. Powerful wailing, heavy guitar and drums, and an affinity for the word “scream” characterize this brooding addition to the album.
The guitar is amped up and comes across much stronger in both of these pieces, with several breaks in the lyrics to allow for rifts and entrancing solos. The drums, too, are given more license to batter eardrums with awesome rhythm and clashing of cymbals than in the horror-punk songs.
“Arsenic on the rocks,” as the opening movie quote of When the Blood Flows says is a perfect encapsulation of the song: taking pleasure in the poison of obsession. From the lyrics one can assume that the singer had noted a changing in his lover, an emotional distance that is punctuated with her walking out the door. She can’t get far when bleeding out, though. The song is a gruesome love confession and a great, melodic shift back to horror-punk.
Sweet Lycanthropy is the most lyrically intensive horror-punk song in the album and utilizes audio clips throughout. Expertly woven into the song, the excerpts add depth to the piece rather than distract. With the werewolf genre occupied heavily by males, this song gives a welcome infusion of the feminine with a female werewolf. Like the transformation from man to werewolf itself, the song transforms from a slow entry to an energetic exit. Fans of the band may have recognized this song as a re-recording of the song that first appeared on the album 23 Tales of Terror.
The album concludes with an unreleased song recorded during the 23 Tales of Terror sessions, as well as two acoustic songs, Camp Crystal Lake, an homage to Friday the 13th, and Caroline, a bittersweet love song about a ghost which first appeared on the previous album, Lust for Blood. Both acoustic songs on the record demonstrate clearly the amount of skill the band has vocally and instrumentally. While the band does utilize heavy electric enhancements at times, they do not use it as a crutch and instead employ it as the tool it was meant to be.
With Lord Vladimir Von Ghoul’s vocals leading the way, a great band is formed that has been lurking in the horror-punk scene and behind Halloween masks for some time. A good number of their songs, including Night at the Grindhouse, also fall into the Death metal genre, with a sound reminiscent of Cradle of Filth and with Dethklok. This album is recommended for fans of Glenn Danzig: The Misfits, Danzig, Samhain, as well as horror movie enthusiasts, and fans of the bands American Werewolves, Dead Vampires, Blitzkid, and some of Cradle of Filth’s lighter stuff.