Monday, December 26, 2011

The Shape Of (Horror)Punk To Come

A few years ago there was a band from New Jersey that went by the name of the Misfits. Maybe you've heard of them? From this tiny band spawned a small subgenre in the punk movement called 'Horror Punk'. Now, thirty years later, horrorpunk is still around with numerous bands, labels and 'zine's dedicated to the genre, but this is where my problem comes into play....most of these bands SUCK. Without calling any of them out, allow me to explain....
Had you asked me as recently as a year ago who the best horror band was, other than the Misfits, I would have undoubtedly nominated Arizona's own Calabrese, and up until this year when Bluefield, WV act Blitzkid released their new album 'Apparitional' I wouldn't have even given it a second thought. And the reason behind that is simple... Calabrese write good, catchy songs. They put a lot of money into the production of their albums. Their artwork is done by professionals, not kids using clip art in 'Baby's First Photoshop' classes. They sink money back into their band, promoting it, putting out new merch all the time, always doing things to stay in the minds of their audience, and they've spared almost no expense in doing so. And THIS is my problem. A lot of other horror bands wanna try and ride the wave that the Misfits have started, and that bands like Calabrese and Blitzkid are currently making. They make use of campy stage names, over-the-top gore in pictures or 'album art', and basically just try to out 'Halloween' each other giving no REAL thought to anything they're doing. Apparently at some point in time they forgot that they have to write songs that people want to listen to. I know it's supposed to be punk rock, but that doesn't mean you have to play the same three chords in the same progression in EVERY song. More importantly I can't tell you the number of horror bands that I've listened to that sound like they recorded their album in a closet, or on a stereo in the basement where they practice. Music muddled and barely audible...cymbals overpowering everything else whenever hit....vocals entirely too loud for a singer who can't hold a tune....seriously horrible lyrics that aren't even thought out, much less interesting or entertaining. How many songs can you write from one collection of Edgar Allen Poe's writings? Or how many obscure 80's B-movie references can you make in a feeble attempt to give yourself some extra credibility?
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not hating on these people entirely. I applaud the effort and attempts at continuing a genre that is often overlooked and not taken seriously. However, we, the ones participating in the scene, are just as much to blame for this. Why would anyone want to spend money to buy your record when it sounds like it was recorded on a cassette tape from a boombox and the artwork looks like something done by Uncle Jimmy's 8 year old son? Stop putting out an album of 13 songs that sound like shit, and instead put out a 5 song EP that sounds great! Instead of getting your artwork done by Uncle Jimmy's kid, hire a professional. Really spend some time to hone your craft and make everything look and sound its best! If you put your absolute best effort forward, and really take your time in writing good,catchy songs, and take your time preparing the album and accompanying merch, people will respond in kind. However, if you continue to dilute the scene with halfassed recordings, and hastily assembled releases, everyone will continue to ignore you, and not take you seriously. Stop scene suicide, before we really ARE dead.

By Jaysin Horror

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