Ah, to be seven years old again. Sure, it was nice to have your parents cater to every whim and never comprehend pesky things like taxes and nine-to-five jobs, but there was something much more alluring and awe-inspiring about that era. Of course, while stress may have existed to a lesser degree, there were an assortment of fears to take its place. Case in point: I can recall visiting my older cousin's house and having the bejesus scared out of me by one particular sight: Iron Maiden's Eddie wielding his bloody axe on the Killers album poster. Today I consider that image to be a sacred example of metal awesomeness, but at the time it elicited pure fear. And then there was Ozzy Osborne's Bark At The Moon video, which at the time I feared would scar me for life.
You can boil it down to being desensitized or simply finding life's more realistic horrors a bit more frightening, but the creepy facades of Eddie The Head or Wolfman Ozzy just don't send a chill anymore. Even the once dramatic hermaphrodite phase of Marilyn Manson doesn't quite have the safe effect. So when put to the task of collecting a list of The Scariest Up-And-Coming Bands, it's not the easiest chore. I decided to look at this challenge from a few different angles, from the overall aural chill factor to entertaining stage shows. This group of rising stars all needed to release a debut CD/EP around 2005 (give or take a year) or later to qualify, and some aspect of each band needed to strike a foreboding chord.
A few of these acts may lean a little heavily toward gimmickry, but in that respect so did Alice Cooper and every other groundbreaking shock rocker from the past three decades. As far as any black metal/doom metal entries, you'd be hard-pressed to find one that isn't at the very least a little disconcerting. Even so, we've chosen a few standouts that deserve a bit more attention. I'm confident our trusty readers will add a few more bands from all genres worthy of a nod and/or a shudder, so let the thread begin
Gnaw Their Tongues
This black metal/experimental one-man act from the Netherlands easily wins under the category of the scariest-soundtrack-for-a-haunted-house. The fascinating mind behind the project otherwise known as Mories has crafted songs like The Urge To Participate In Butchery and Sewn Asunder And Left For The Beasts, atmospheric tracks that you never ever want to listen to with the lights out. With most of the promotional photos not revealing Mories' face, Gnaw Their Tongues never unnecessarily falls into the hokey category because of a cadaver makeup job gone awry. This is one of the few entries may very well cause a sleepless night or two.
Falling at the other end of the scary spectrum is the punk rock horror band Grave Robber. With a MySpace quotation stating, We're gonna scare the hell out of you and donning ghostly, grim reaper-ish costumes, the Indiana group conveys a more theatrical vibe. The band does list all the correct iconic names as their influences (i.e., The Misfits, Alice Cooper, Type O Negative), and it ends up walking a nice line between punk and metal. Grave Robber contains enough edge to garner attention for its music and not just the creepy costumes a fact was given validation when the horror outfit hit #1 on the College Music Charts back in April.
Make A ChangeKill Yourself
Sometimes it takes brutal realism for horror to truly translate. Going under the moniker Make A ChangeKill Yourself, Denmark's Ynleborgaz (aka Jakob Zagrobelny) is obviously sending a fairly serious message. Well, one could take it in a more comical and/or perverse direction, but after listening to a few tracks from Make A ChangeKill Yourself, we're pretty sure Ynleborgaz isn't cracking a smile. The depressive metal fare evokes feelings of true suffering to the point where you almost feel uncomfortable listening to the tortuous screams that accompanying droning guitars. While we're slightly worried about Mr. Zagrobelny's well-being, it's also difficult to stop listening to his twisted compositions once you get started.
Oh, Fetus Omelet. What can we say? You scare us for many different reasons. Yes, it's true that you give us the heebie-jeebies by saying that one of your main instruments is the six-string dildo. And it sure doesn't help to have that you have a grotesque, nightmare-inducing pornographic photo on your MySpace page. Pretty much everything you play and create falls somewhere between having an anvil thrown at your face and sticking one's head in a sewer of parasitic fecal matter. It's a wonder that this fine young group of gents hasn't been signed to a label yet.
We're remaining lax on the rules of up-and-comers for Gulaggh. Technically founded in 2008 following the dissolution of Stalaggh (which featured a variety of musicians from the Dutch and Belgium metal scene), Gulaggh continues to combine the musically unique and the mentally askew. While Stalaggh featured vocals by a clinically insane man who killed his mother at the age of 16, the latest project incorporates classical instrumentation, mental patients and over children from a youth mental asylum. A few years back the founders opted to switch up concentration camp names and carry on their creative vision under the name Gulaggh, with the intent of once again creating a trilogy of disturbing proportions. The sound is as scary as ever and Gulaggh remains excellent fodder for chat sites (many a listener out there thinks the band is hyped-up nonsense). Check out the video below and you be the judge.
The number of black metal bands on the rise are aplenty, but this addition from New Zealand delivers raw brutality to the nth degree no stage makeup needed. Formed in 2007, this ritualistic quintet proclaims it shall crush all in its path with heavy, caustic rituals of death, doom and annihilation hammering all into pools of filth and shattered bone. The band's first full-length Beheaded Ouroboros earned rave reviews by one particular Encyclopaedia Metallum contributor who claimed, The filthy, disgusting vocals lurk just within the realm of sanity, luring the unwary listener into penetrating deeper into the secrets of the Beheaded Ourorboros.
Although this black metal band does dip its hand in the ghoul makeup, they honestly would be just as chilling without the extra adornment. The Argentine duo featuring LordSathan (vocals/programming) and Unsilent (guitars) creates a wall of sound without actually having what might consider a complete rhythm section. In the end, it's all about creating a mood and Invisvm makes me want to hide under the covers.
For punk rock fans and zombie buffs, The Other delivers the best of both worlds. This German quartet released its first EP in 2004, but they're still up-and-coming in our book. Leaning more toward a melodic style of horror punk (with a touch of Twisted Sister vocalization thrown in the mix), The Other performs a highly enjoyable and aurally pleasing show for the most part a bit of a rarity in this list. The stage show is guaranteed to be entertaining with titles like Transylvania and Back To The Cemetery, but they hit the home run with their homage to the undead. Donning slick, stylized zombie makeup and wardrobe, they deliver a touch of twisted class to the list.
Self-proclaimed horror metal band Gorlock could make a killing (pun totally intended) scoring for slasher flicks. With an industrial vibe akin to Skinny Puppy, Gorlock has a wide assortment of YouTube videos floating around that feature its music accompanying the likes of Silent Hill and Pumpkinhead movie clips. If you're looking for a band that truly is a rightful successor on the horror industrial/metal scene, Florida's Gorlock will be the answer to yourum, prayers.
F.K.. (Freddy Krueger's nderwear)
We're going to bend the rules one more time for F.K.. Although these guys have been playing the clubs since the 90's, it wasn't until 2005 that the first album under their latest incarnation (Sometimes They Come BackTo Mosh) was released. Combining a heavy dose of comedy, the trademark Freddy Krueger striped sweater, and straightforward metal, this band is all about entertaining. Scary? Meh, not so much. But F.K.. still earns extra points for selling merchandise that includes a crosswalk sign emblazoned with a moshing Freddy Krueger.
Text by Amy Kelly