Heavy Metal

Playlist: Vampires, and Monsters, and Ghosts, Oh My!

It’s my favorite time of year, Halloween! Keep the lights on and don’t look behind you, things are about to get spooky. This is the time that belongs to the creatures of the night that stalk their prey. Or maybe they just want some free candy, you never know. To get you in the mood for All Hallows Eve, here are some songs about our favorite hideous monsters.

“I Was a Teenage Werewolf” – The Cramps

Not all monsters are inherently bad. Some are just misunderstood. This Cramps song, based on the 1957 horror movie of the same name, talks about a young werewolf with his own problems. Like all good monsters, he doesn’t want to kill people, but he can’t help it. Throughout the song, he begs for someone to stop him and even pleads to “stop this pain” by the end of the song. It’s a slow-burning, rockabilly romp that reminds us no matter if you’re human or not, being a teenager sucks.

“Return of the Phantom Stranger” – Rob Zombie

A Halloween playlist isn’t complete without a Rob Zombie song. On this track from Hellbilly Deluxe, Zombie describes the goings-on of a mysterious creature only known as the Phantom Stranger. With Zombie’s low growl delivering the vocals and the lyrics mentioning a “shape-shifting” creature with a “wretched heart” that stalks throughout the night, it perfectly sets up a creepy tone. By the song’s end, you still don’t know what the Phantom Stranger is, but you know you don’t want to run into it. For more spooky times with Rob Zombie, check out “How To Make a Monster.”

“Would You Love a Monster Man?” – Lordi

This track by Finnish rock band Lordi doesn’t deny the horribleness of the monster in question. Instead, they ask is it possible for him to find love? Showing us another side of monsters, this creature just wants someone by his side as he terrorizes those around him. The track rages ahead assuring us that loving said monster isn’t a crime even though he readily admits he’ll kill just for the thrill of it.

“We Bite” – The Misfits

Seminal punk band The Misfits are unapologetic on this violent track. In under two minutes, the band screams about rampaging through the streets looking to rip out throats of the innocent. It’s unknown whether these are starving vampires or horrific creatures out for blood. Even though the song constantly repeats “I rip your throat/I drink your blood” it manages to be gruesome with the ferocity and brutal nature of the track. Then again it’s The Misfits; we wouldn’t expect anything less from them.

“Here Comes the Bride (The Bride of Frankenstein)” – Elvira

Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, has been a staple in all things horror since the creation of the character back in 1981. She’s done movies, comics, and even music. And her songs are wonderfully weird and cheesy. On this track from the 1994 collection, Elvira Presents Monster Hits, the Mistress of the Dark “sings” about the Bride of Frankenstein in all her horrible glory. The lyrics are corny with mention of her green pallor, stitched together body parts, and ghoulish nature while a gang cheerfully sings “Here comes the bride!” To make things cringy the song ends with a lame Shaft reference: “The Bride of Frankenstein! DUUUH!!/He’s one bad muther f-/(Shut your mouth)/Well I’m just talkin’ about Frankenstein.” It’s by no means a good song, but it’s hilariously entertaining.

“Bark At the Moon” – Ozzy Osbourne

This classic Ozzy track follows a creature, most likely a werewolf, as it terrorizes through town. The song tells the story of a creature the townspeople thought they got rid of when they buried him. He returns for vengeance and sets about causing chaos. It’s the perfect Halloween track that has a hilariously cheesy video to go with it. The clip depicts Ozzy as Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde drinking a mysterious potion and transforming into a werewolf. Looking at it now it seems silly that anyone would think it’s scary or that Ozzy is actually evil. It looks like a cheap b-horror movie you watch for laughs.

“We Suck Young Blood” – Radiohead

A truly haunting song, it’s not actually about vampires. Apparently, it’s about the exploitation of Hollywood and how they suck the life out of young talent. Still, with the macabre lyrics, chilling music, and shivering vocals it could easily be applied to the creatures of the night. Yorke sounds vulnerable yet creepy as he sings “Are you sweet?/Are you fresh?/Are you strung up by the wrists?/We want the young blood.” And the moody piano melody is ripped from a Gothic film. The song never has to get violent or gruesome to depict the horror of what’s going on.

“Release the Bats” – The Birthday Party

Serving as an influence on the then-emerging Goth scene, this track makes vampires seem cool and sexy. With a rockabilly swing, Nick Cave sings about a lady who doesn’t mind being bitten. She even hopes “those bats would bite.” Cave sounds delirious, yet thrilled as he screams “Release the bats! Release the bats” hoping vampires will come party with him. Cave and co thought vampires were cool long before Stephanie Meyers clumsily cashed in on the trend.

“Werewolves of London” – Warren Zevon

This classic rock track is surprisingly upbeat for a song about a werewolf on the loose. The lyrics follow a werewolf through the streets of London where he mutilates an old woman. But he also seems pretty mundane drinking Pina Coladas and searching for some good Chinese food. The song acts more of a warning saying when you hear him howling, you better stay away. And, as you would expect, the chorus features a bunch of howling. It’s one of Warren Zevon”s most well-known hits that started out as a joke.

“Night of the Vampire” – Roky Erickson

With a gloomy demeanor and a slow-burning guitar riff, this song was made for Halloween. There’s nothing creepy or gruesome about the track, but it gives off this sinister vibe. As Erickson sings about slipping in blood and painful vampire bites, you picture dead spooky forests covered in fog and a hooded figure in the distance. In 1997, Swedish death metal band Entombed covered the track for their self-titled EP. They put their gritty, hard edge spin on it, but the original reigns supreme.

“The Thing that Should Not Be” – Metallica

Leave it to Metallica to tackle one of horror’s most terrifying creatures: Cthulhu. In a mass of crunching guitars and intense percussion, James Hetfield describes the beast as lurking beneath the ocean waiting to cause destruction. Just staring at the creature will drive you insane as they point out in the song. The band references H.P. Lovecraft’s story “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” specifically. This wouldn’t be the only time Metallica has written about the great beast. They also spoke of the beast in Ride the Lightning‘s “Call of Ktulu.” Clearly, they’re big fans of the monster.

“Black Sabbath” – Black Sabbath

This song has already been featured on other Halloween playlists, but it fits right in. Its tolling church bells, Ozzy’s wailing, and the overall sense of doom make it an eerie song. While it may not be about one ghost, in particular, it’s based on an experience Geezer Butler had during the early days of the band. He woke up in the middle of the night and saw a spirit at the end of his bed. Whether it was real or just drugs, the image makes you shudder just thinking about it.

Which of these songs is your favorite? Which ones did I miss? Let me know in the comments!

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Music From the Motion Picture Wayne’s World

Release Year: 1992

Rating: 7/10

Wayne’s World is one of the best and most beloved comedies from the 90s. The characters are iconic, the catchphrases are memorable, and everything about the films are hilarious. Since Wayne and Garth are obsessed with music you can expect it to have a killer soundtrack, right? Sort of. Where the Wayne’s World OST shines in representing the movie and the era it comes from, it’s lackluster in other places.

The music for the soundtrack is a mix of classic rock tunes with what was current at the time. Opening the album is the Queen classic “Bohemian Rhapsody.” What can you say about this song that hasn’t already been said? It’s amazing. It’s probably the best song in Queen’s catalog. Thanks to the movie, the track became more iconic with the scene of Wayne and Garth miming the entire thing in the car. It was this clip that pushed the song back into the charts 17 years after its initial release. Also included is the sensuous Jimi Hendrix track “Foxey Lady.” Just try not to think of Garth’s dance when you hear that roaring riff.

From there, most of the music falls into glam metal. “Hot and Bothered” by Cinderella is typical glam metal with sleazy guitars and screeching vocals. It can be fun if you’re in the mood to rock out to 80s cheese, but to really appreciate it you have to be a glam metal fan. “Rock Candy” by Bulletboys has the same vibe: sleaziness. Oddly enough, this a cover; the original is by Sammy Hagar’s band Montrose. And if glam metal isn’t your thing then Rhino Bucket’s “Ride With Yourself” isn’t going to be appealing. It’s more of the same typical glam metal sound. It makes sense why this music is all over the album; it perfectly represents Wayne and Garth. This is the type of music they like, so in those terms, the music does a great job. Also, glam metal was still around, but waning in popularity thanks to the grunge uprising.

Aside from a few classic tracks, there aren’t many notable songs on the soundtrack. There’s an extended “Wayne’s World Theme” that goes on too long. It’s the same jokes and random noises going on for five minutes. You get tired of it after two minutes. The Tia Carrere tracks are interesting. It makes sense why they’re included; she’s not only a musician but a star of the movie. Her cover of Sweet’s “Ballroom Blitz” isn’t terrible. It stays pretty close to the original making it kind of bland. Her closing track “Why You Wanna Break my Heart?” is a standard 90s ballad; sappy music, corny lyrics. It’s not horrible, just very vanilla.

Aside from Queen and Hendrix, the best track is the Red Hot Chili Peppers b-side “Sikamikanico.” It’s the Chili Peppers at their peak: hyper vocals, boundless energy, and a fast pace that makes you dizzy. You can barely make out what’s happening, but you’ll be moshing too much to care. Midway through the song shifts gears slowing things down as if giving listeners a break. It doesn’t last too long; they’re back to the chaotic and destructive vibe in no time. It’s a great reminder of how crazy, wild, and unpredictable the Chili Peppers were before they mellowed out and focused more on grooving.

The rest of the songs aren’t bad but are great at representing the movie. Gary Wright’s “Dream Weaver” is kind of weird with the spacey, creepy noises at the start and end. It makes it sound like a spooky song rather than a cheesy love song. “Loving Your Loving” is an underwhelming blues tune by Eric Clapton. Guess you have to be a fan of his to appreciate it. “Feed My Frankenstein” is cheesy, but fun. Lyrics like “I’m a hungry man/but I don’t want pizza” make you cringe, but it’s tolerable. It’s Alice Cooper, you expect some schlock from him. It’s not the best Cooper song, but it’s passable.

So is the soundtrack good? It depends on how you look at it. On its own, it hasn’t aged very well. But in the context of the movie, it’s stellar. It does a great job at representing what the movie is about and who Wayne and Garth are. It’s a mix of what these two guys listen to along with songs featured in the movie. It’s very much a product of its era with the glam metal and even with an extended Wayne’s World theme song, but it can be a lot of fun. If you’re in the mood for some cheesy rock or looking for a nostalgia trip, I recommend this soundtrack. Otherwise, it doesn’t make for many repeated listens.

Facts and Pictures: Ladybaby

It’s been a while since I’ve dished out some facts on my favorite bands. This time, I’m looking at Japan’s Ladybaby. The video for their debut single, “Nippon Manju,” captivated and confused people around the world. While some wrote them off as Babymetal copy-cats, others saw the appeal and became loyal followers. The video now has over 16 million views on Youtube. Since then, they have released three more singles: “Renge Chance” (about ramen), “Age Age Money” (about money), and “C’est si bon Kibun” (about ???). Hopefully, the trio will release their full-length album soon. For now, let’s learn a little more about Ladybaby.

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Ladybaby’s mission is to “transcend nationality, age, and gender”

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Ladybaby was formed by the CEO of costume company Clearstone, who saw Ladybeard on the cover of Metropolis magazine to form a new band. He said “It’ll be like Babymetal except you’ll be in it. And it’ll be awesome!”

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Ladybeard describes his character as a five-year-old Japanese girl who looks like an Australian man

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Ladybeard began his career as a cross-dressing Australian wrestler

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He eventually teamed up with Naoko Tachibana, Japan’s foremost photographers of cross-dressing men

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Naoko Tachibana and Ladybeard worked together on Ladybeard’s pin-up book, which sold around 1,500 copies. 1,600 were printed.

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Rei Kuromiya is an aspiring model

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Rie Kaneko (left) is the vocalist in her rock band BRATS

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Both Rie and Rei were winners of the 2015 MissID contest

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Ladybeard first wore his sister’s school uniform at 14 and loved the attention he got

And here’s their debut video just in case you can’t remember how the song went

Everyday is Halloween Anthology – Ministry

Release Year: 2010

Rating: 6/10

Every band has a slow period between recording albums and touring. This makes it prime time for random compilation records to keep sales up. Greatest hits, remix, and sometimes rarities albums are what artists turn to hoping fans will eat it up. That must have been the case with this Ministry release. The band wasn’t satisfied with a straightforward compilation with only their singles or only remixes. They decided to do a hybrid release mixing hits with remixes and covers. Now the question is was it worth it?

This album isn’t sure what it wants to be. Is it a retrospective? A cover album? A remix record? The first half is nothing but classic Ministry songs re-recorded and remastered. Why? I don’t know. The songs, “NWO,” “Jesus Built My Hotrod,” and “Stigmata” all sound similar to their original counterparts. Sure, that may be the point, but it makes them unnecessary. It’s not like the band change the tracks drastically. Usually, it’s more distorted vocals that are hard to make out and louder gritty guitars. The remix of “Everyday is Halloween” is pretty good, but since it has more of a heavy metal vibe, it sounds like a Rob Zombie song.

You would think the saving grace would be the covers. Well, they’re not horrible. The band plays it straight with most of the songs, like “Paint it Black” and “Sharp Dressed Man.” They keep the same format and vibe of the track and add in lots of guitars. The same goes for “Thunderstruck” and “Stranglehold.” Whereas the latter track has an industrial groove, the former is pretty true to the original. The only problem is Al Jourgensen’s vocals don’t exactly work with the song. While these covers aren’t terrible, they’re pretty bland and forgettable.

The “Iron Man” cover is actually the best cover on the album. They take the unmistakable riff from the classic Black Sabbath track and integrate it with their fast paced, synth electro madness. Instead of keeping the dark and gloomy mood, they turn it into something chaotic, wild, and destructive. They really make the song their own without shitting all over the original. It’s something both Sabbath and Ministry fans will appreciate.

One of the strangest, yet more entertaining covers is Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab.” As you would expect, it’s the complete opposite of the original. It’s insanity incarnate with Jourgensen screaming “They try to make go to rehab/and I said/No!/No!/No!” It’s kind of an ironic cover since he had his own drug problems over the years. With the hard driving music, brutal nature, and aggressive vocals, the cover is certainly unique. It’s not necessarily good, but it’s so ridiculous and intense it’s hard not to like it.

Even though it’s an interesting idea, the album is unsatisfying. The remastered songs are pointless and most of the covers are bland. It seems like they needed to release something, did some covers, but needed more material to pad out the LP. It would’ve been better off if it was released as a short covers EP. The album is one of those forgettable albums that gets old after the first few tracks. After listening to this, I’m convinced cover albums are never a good idea.

Musical Quickie: Marilyn Manson and the Spooky Kids Live

Release Year: 2000

Rating: 6/10

I don’t actively seek out bootlegs, but I’ve been lucky enough to pick up a few during my travels. This Marilyn Manson one caught my eye in a record store because it featured the first live recordings from the Spooky Kids era. Unfortunately, it’s not very good. This bootleg from Nightingale Records takes an early performance from the band when they were known as Marilyn Manson and the Spooky Kids, along with some video from the same show. While it is cool to have live versions of these recordings since they haven’t been officially released, this album makes the show dull. The audio quality is decent at best making Manson’s banter sound muffled. The songs themselves are mainly early versions of tracks from the band’s first album Portrait of an American Family, like “Dope Hat,” “Cake and Sodomy,” and “Lunchbox.” It’s not made for listening to regularly, rather it shows how the songs are fleshed out with only slightly different lyrics. Otherwise, there’s nothing special about this bootleg. You can probably find better versions of these songs on another bootleg release. I can’t say much about the videos since they wouldn’t run on my computer. But they can be found on the unofficial DVD Birth of the Antichrist. You can even watch the show on Youtube. Unless you find this one cheap and want it for your collection, it’s best to avoid it.