Sea Of Tranquility

The Web Source for Progressive Rock, Progressive Metal & Jazz-Fusion
  Search   in       
Main Menu

Howling: A Beast Conceived

A little over a year ago, I reviewed a Split 7" from Crypticus and Scaremaker called Dare to Enter, Die to Live. I gave it 4.5 stars and listen to it regularly. It remains a great release, the perfect introduction to two little-known but outstanding bands. One of the best songs on that release, "Mansion of the Macabre," takes us back to the house from Burnt Offerings, a hungry house if there ever was one. Do yourself a favor and listen to that one again.

Scaremaker isn't exactly around anymore; their full-length release What Evil Have They Summonedy appeared in 2010 and was followed up by an EP and a fan club release. For a short-lived band, they put out a solid body of work. Crypticus is still active, releasing EPs regularly through Bandcamp and kicking up a cosmic storm of Lovecraft-inspired weirdness.

I mention all of this, not simply to update readers on a release that I liked, but to introduce a new project from Vanessa Nocera, the driving force behind Scaremaker. Her new band, Howling, is actually one of many projects she has her hands in. With Howling, though, Nocera shares musical duties with Tony Proffer (guitars and bass) and Elektrokutioner (drums).

I enjoyed this album from beginning to end. Every song is inspired by relatively trashy 80s horror film, the kind of stuff that can only be found on VHS or on really, really, late night cable television. If you can remember films like The Beast Within, American Gothic, Tourist Trap and even have a fondness for Halloween III: Season of the Witch then this is the right release at the right time. The lyric sheet points out which movie inspired which song.

The music on this album is a combination of melodic hooks, growled vocals, and driving drums. Nocera handles all the vocals, redefining our notion of female-fronted metal with each track. Her vocals, somewhat like Angela Gossow's, are deep, growly, and menacing. She redefines fierce. The music suits her style well, allowing it room to perform the words and to add the occasional fearful screech. The guitar foregrounds a healthy dose of melodic passages; I liked this emphasis on melody, especially since so many bands are turning away from it these days. There's also an underlying toughness here, a thickness, which makes the band stand out from their peers. Maybe it's the underground feel of it all, something of that do-it-yourself ethic that made punk and hardcore so special. I was especially impressed with the complex and driving guitar leads that weave their way into the texture of each song; check out, for example, the playing on "Demented Debauchery." Are those echoes of the late Chuck Schuldiner there near the end? I think so, I hope so. These guys aren't Death--what band could be?--but they are an excellent expansion of that wonderful style Schuldiner made famous.

I could say more, but I don't want to waste words when you could be listening to the album. I recommend starting with "A Night in the Crypt" and "Museum of Telepathic Madness," two of the strongest, hardest-driving tracks on here. If they grab you, then start back at the beginning and enjoy. Here's hoping that the sun won't come up and the werewolves can stay out a little longer.

Track Listing:
1. As Man Becomes Lycanthrope
2. Six Souls for the Witching Hour
3. Demented Debauchery
4. Traumatic Transmutations
5. Savage Psychosis
6. A Night in the Crypt
7. Museum of Telepathic Madness
8. From Spectral Mirrors
9. Vengeance Unearthed
10. When the Hills Ran Red

Added: March 15th 2013
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 2296
Language: english

[ Printer Friendly Page Printer Friendly Page ]
[ Send to a Friend Send to a Friend ]


[ Back to the Reviews Index | Post Comment ]

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
For information regarding where to send CD promos and advertising, please see our FAQ page.
If you have questions or comments, please Contact Us.
Please see our Policies Page for Site Usage, Privacy, and Copyright Policies.

All logos and trademarks in this site are property of their respective owner. The comments are property of their posters, all other content Sea of Tranquility

SoT is Hosted by