October’s Hidden Gems of Bandcamp

 

Zombina and the Skeletones

Well gang, we’ve survived another month so it’s time to celebrate by wading back into the depths of Bandcamp once again to find the best punk offerings for your listening pleasure. Since it’s Halloween and we’re a bunch of unoriginal bastards, we’ve decided to do a Halloween-themed list this month. If it was spooky, macabre, morbid, grisly, ghastly or in anyway related to death or the undead we listened to it and exhumed only the most terrifying bands and the most spine chilling albums that we’re betting you haven’t heard of and we know will have you shaking in your shit kickers. We couldn’t manage more than six on our list this time as some of staffers were a little too pusillanimous (17 pts in Scrabble!) to endure much more. Check out the this month’s  list by entering the horrendously heinous Hall of Horrors below……. if you dare.

 

1. Ripsnorter as the Ripfits

Webster defines a Ripsnorter as “something of extraordinary violence or power”. After listening to them, we know why this frightening foursome from Minneapolis chose the name. Formed in 1994, these guys are well known in the genre, but back in 2008 when this hardcore horror outfit wanted to put their new studio set up through its paces, things got weird. Over the course of four years on nights when the moon was full, as the clock struck midnight, their bodies would painfully contort and they would morph into the Ripfits. The results of this terrifying transformation were compiled into 13 Hits From Hell, a splendidly spooky tribute to everyone’s favorite coffin dwelling punkers, the Misfits. With fan favorites like “All Hell Breaks Loose” and “Ghouls Night Out” this is a perfect album to get you in the mood to brood. The best part is that it’s available for Name Your Price. So, if you like what you hear, pick it up and you can still afford candy for the kiddies. Also, just a few weeks ago the boys confirmed that they are getting back in the studio, so keep a severed ear to the ground.

Recommended Track: “Night of the Living Dead”

 

2. The Gutter Ghouls

This Detroit based troika began as a side project of upright bassist/lead singer Branden Gelineau and drummer/backup vocalist Kevin Hardy in 2012. After guitarist Billy Causey joined later that same year, this psychobilly hardcore act released their outstanding debut LP, Motor City Murderbillly, and hit the road. Their sound is a little more punk than some of our other finds. It has wailing electric guitar riffs riding over the ear drum thumping upright slap bass. The vocals are a good mix of diesel infused, Presley-esque, trills and more rageful, vocal chord shredding hardcore. It’s a nice change of pace and works well together. Even better though, the choruses are perfect for screaming back from the front row. We’re betting these boys put on a pretty crazy live show. If they come to your barrio, go check ‘em out and let us know if our suspicions are right.  Their second full length, A New Breed was just released late last year and it picks up right where the previous left off. No drop in quality. Very good sign for a young band.

 Recommended Track: “The Devil’s Work”

3. Deathwood

A cross between horror and skate punk this product of Raiano, Italy has been around since 2011 and released their first album, a five song, self titled, declaration of independence the following year. It’s vastly different than most of their counterparts. The guitars sound like they’re straight from a Fat Compilation, bucking the typical horror punk motifs of 50’s beach rock or death metal. The drums hit a lot harder than you find in most horror acts too. Instead of simply being used as a metronome, the percussion adds to the ambiance. The vocals start a little slow and emotionless, but gain momentum and get gritty and more aggressive as it builds towards the choruses. There’s even some 90’s skate punk “Whooaa-oaaahs” quietly overlaying them in parts, for good measure. If you’re already into the scene and looking something different, give them a listen. If you’re new to the genre or just curious, this atrocious amalgam might be a great jumping off point.

Recommended Track: “Number 85”

 

4. Zombina and the Skeletones

Our next putrid performers hail from Liverpool, UK and have been “the band under your bed” since 1998, as such, they have perfected their craft more so than some other bands on our list. They perfectly mix in campy, tongue in cheek, horror/sci fi themes with tight, upbeat music, haunting horns and an organ (the instrument, not entrails) that sounds like it was pulled right from a cheesy 50’s thriller. The vocals have eerie, hollow sounding garage punk harmonies and are showcased best when Zombina takes over. Even if you’re not a fan of the genre, you have to tip your cap to them for their staying power which most assuredly is a direct result of the work they’ve put in over their tenured career. These lurid Liverpudlians have an extensive music catalogue with incredible album art and some supremely good tracks. So, roll your bones over to Bandcamp and immerse yourself in all of their gory glory!

Recommended Track: “Mortuary Academy”

 

5. Just Another Monster

Formed in 2012, this death punk quartet from Dallas, Texas is relatively new, but the ghouls that make up this act have been around awhile, being stitched together from a few more well established local bands to be reanimated as Just Another Monster. Just earlier this year, they released their diabolical, debut self titled EP with four menacingly mixed tracks. Combining death metal, psychobilly and horror punk, it’s like the Misfits, but more earthy and real, less cartoony. If the music is good enough, the theater and spectacle prevalent in the genre isn’t always needed and sometimes even a little invasive. These guys straddle the razor’s edge perfectly, no need for buckets of blood when a smattering will do! They’ve already begun blazing their trail sharing the stage with well established acts like Kitty In a Casket and Calabrese and from everything we’ve seen, will continue to make a name for themselves in their field.

Recommended Track: “Ghosts Cast Out”

 

6. The Hempsteadys

We saved the best for last! Last we heard from New London’s finest was back in August, when we were gushing over their debut EP Fox. Astute readers may remember that we also foretold of their sophomore studio album El Amor De Los Muertos. Well, the time has come, and this gloriously ghastly LP is finally ready for release just in time for All Hallow’s Eve (actually it’s release date is 11/3, but if you preorder, a little bat told us that it would ship well before that date!). Luckily, we’re people who know people and we got our hands on a copy just in time for this month’s list! We tend to get a little giddy when a band we already love decides to do something slightly crazy and industrious. So, when we heard that “The Wu-Tang Clan of Ska Bands” was working on a full on rock opera, we were already hooked. Told over the course of twelve tracks the band narrates this story (literally) of undying love and friendship almost like a Greek Chorus. Although it takes a few listens to completely piece the story together, the lyrics and music are so exceptionally composed and the brass is so clean and crisp that we’re betting you’d be listening to it for hours anyway. A few of the songs have extended instrumental solos that almost put you in a trance until being snapped back into reality with the next song as the saga continues. You’re really going to want to get on this one gang! Don’t say you weren’t apprised.

Recommended Track: “The Ghost of Bela Lugosi” (released as bonus track from debut EP, Fox)

And hey, while you’re at it, we premiered “Teen Wolf 2012” from El Amor De Los Muertos earlier this week and you can listen here.


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