My, it’s been quite the year, eh? Well, now that it’s obvious that the world hasn’t ended, I guess I might as well post my year-end “best-of” list. Some of these, I’ve reviewed here before. Lots, I haven’t. So let’s take a dive into what I dug the most this past year. Jump with me below the “read more” link, and let’s proceed in no particular order…
Hey, kids! Do you like those Italian horror flicks from the ’70s and ’80s? Movies like those directed by Dario Argento, Lucio Fulci, Joe D’Amato, etc? Boy howdy, I sure do. And sometimes at least half of what makes those movies work for me are their soundtracks. If you’ve ever seen Suspiria, then you know how integral the music is to the success of that film.
Same with The Beyond, Deep Red, Zombi 2 (or, for that matter, the Italian release of Dawn of the Dead, known in that country as Zombi). Musicians like the band Goblin, or composers like Fabio Frizzi, took the progressive rock of the time, soaked it in the disquieting atmosphere of PURE, UNBRIDLED HORROR and let it percolate for a while. The end result is some of the greatest film music ever composed.
But there’s only so many of these movies, and only so many soundtracks available. What do you do when you want to venture out for something along those same lines?
Luckily, there are a few bands out there that can fill that need for you. There’s Pittsburgh’s Zombi and New York’s Blizaro, but for me, the be-all and end-all of this stuff comes out of Sweden, from a little combo called Anima Morte.
They’ve got two full-length albums available (Face the Sea of Darkness and The Nightmare Becomes Reality), as well as a handful of compilation appearances, a 7″ EP and a split with Finnish death/doom giants Hooded Menace.
ANYWHERE is a great place to start, but their 2 LPs are your best (and easiest) bet. Both are insanely catchy and atmospheric, and perfectly marry the precise and technical prog-rock chops of Goblin with the warm-yet-haunting mellotron strings and choral treatments of Fabio Frizzi.
Other bands (like the aforementioned Zombi and Blizaro) may lean more heavily toward Goblin and the synth-driven pulse of John Carpenter’s film scores—which is great, mind you—but there’s something about the Frizzi style emulated so well by Anima Morte that just pushes all my buttons in the right way.
Man, I had a million things going on last time around and missed out on the weekly posting of odes to The Guy Downstairs.
So, to make up for it, here’s a double shot of everyone’s favorite bunch of Swedish Satanists, Watain. Both performances are taken from their live DVD Opus Diaboli, recorded in Stockholm and released to celebrate the band’s 13th anniversary. The first track, “Devil’s Blood” is from their second album, Casus Luciferi, and is from where Dutch psychedelic/occult rock band the Devil’s Blood take their name. The second track, “Malfeitor” is from their latest album, Lawless Darkness. They’re really goddamned (no pun intended) impressive live.
Happy Sunday, kids. Here’s Satan: