Phil Anselmo: 'Would Death Metal Be a Genre Without Horror Movies?'

Anselmo talks horror metal in new interview.

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In a new interview with Smells Like Infinite Sadness, Phil Anselmo has been describing the correlation between heavy metal music and horror movies. As Anselmo notes, the two go "hand in hand:" "I think the correlation is apparent. I think the easiest way for me to summarize a question like this if you look at a movie like 'Night of the Living Dead' or ... Or 'The Exorcist' ... something like that where there's a possessing demon and has a voice ... you look no further as far as influence on music than death metal you know? Would death metal really be a genre without these movies? I’m not so sure. Go listen to the vocals.

"Like where did they get this idea to perform at such an extreme way vocally? I think 110% from possession films like 'The Evil Dead' you know? So I just see it as a hand in hand thing ... and even going maybe a step further look at what Evil Dead did for Slayer and Hell Awaits.

"For me it's like those movies and that album went hand and hand ... it just left a tremendous impact and almost like companion pieces to each other ... If you look at modern times there's band called Portal from Australia, a really incredible death metal band that, for me these days are an incredible companion piece to Lovecraft.

"I think it’s always been there as far as extreme music goes ... but I bite my tongue when I say extreme music, because I look at a guy like Roky Erickson and he wrote all his monster songs ... and look at the Misfits you know. Once again you're hearkening to imagery to 'Night of the Living Dead,' so the horror influence is there." Anselmo will be both curating and performing at this year's inaugural Housecore Horror Film Festival, which will take place between October 24th-27th in Austin, Texas. Find out more about the event here.

20 comments sorted by best / new / date

    well, metal has always had a strong relationship with horror films Black Sabbath got the idea for their musical direction and name after seeing a horror movie. I remember reading in Ozzy's bio saying something about how he thought it was funny people'd like to see something that scares them, so they thought what if they did "scary" music
    it's an interesting argument. I guess that without books or movies the death\horror theme would not be around to influence artists. But was that ever a possibility? You have so many horrors in real life, war murder etc, this stuff was bound to affect music.
    I didn't know that the line "A Vulgar display of power" was from the script for The Exorcist". So Phil makes sense with his point. (Father Karras closes the open drawer that demon inside of Reagen opened and says, "Do that again". "A vulgar display of power, Karras") I thought how cool, Pantera album titles in movie scripts haha
    This just made me realize something. Why is it that people always freak out about horror-themed lyrics in metal, yet they have no problem with watching an equally bad horror movie? I love death metal and I love horror movies, and I've seen movies worse than some death metal is, but it seems like everyone thinks that you're going to actually do the things portrayed in the metal. It's pretty silly when you think about it.
    I always thought it started with led zeplin or something like that where there were some yelled/screamed vocals and it caught on with some people. Don't quote me on it but that's what I heard
    UG: "Phil Anselmo: 'Would Death Metal Be a Genre Without Horror Movies?'" Nice way to plug a Phil Anselmo fest. Yes, Death Metal definitely would be a genre even without horror movies.
    It would not, in fact. Maybe there would be a genre consisting of growling vocalist, massive sounding guitars and blast beats, but the whole theme of that genre would be probably much different, thus you couldn't call it "death metal". Look at the Cannibal Corpse song themes, for example. Without horror movies, Cannibal Corpse wouldn't exist at all.
    CC is actually not a great example of typical Death Metal, as most DM bands don't set out to essentially write a horror-themed record.
    Pretty sure there are plenty of Death Metal bands who don't have horror movie themes when it comes to their music. Thats more stuff like Horror Punk like Misfits.
    Black Sabbath wouldn't exist without horror movies, so by that logic metal wouldn't exist, no metal, no death metal.
    *Looks at the origins of death metal* hm... how about something like "It has nothing to do with it!". You can read it in wikipedia, don't make assumptions like that.
    Sorry but no. One of the first death metal bands was Death and that isn't what they were about. Also Deicide doesn't dwell there either. Cannibal corspe may not exist but the list is pretty short.
    Hmm. I'm not sure I agree with Phils point however I would point to you out that Deaths first album was very horror themed. The songs were all about zombies, possessions and gore.
    Death was not a death metal band....moron
    They did sound a little more thrash than death metal, but that is what inspired them, Thrash Metal. But they got better when they became prog death metal. SO in other words you are a dumb ass.