White City Graves – Album Review

White City Graves – One Of Us

Self-Released (MDPR)

Release date: 20/08/2021

Running Time: 29 minutes

Review by: Alun Jones


White City Graves released this album back in August, but I’m reviewing it in October.  Not because I’m a slacker, but because this album is totally appropriate for the Spookiest Month of the Year.  That’s right folks, we’ve jumped on the Horror Punk ghost train again, so buckle up and be prepared for a rollicking roll on the tracks to hell.

To be fair, there’s definitely a Misfits/Danzig influence with “One Of Us”, but White City Graves cast a wider net than just horror punk.  Aggressive as it is, and with the undoubted splash of melody from those aforementioned bands, these songs also owe a big debt to ugly metal bands like Motorhead, Venom and Mercyful Fate.

Like Tad jacked up on speed and Monster Energy whiskey cocktails, it’s furious and frightening.  We’re only one motel stop from chainsaw killers and rabid werewolf bikers – all of which makes Al rub his hands with glee.

“Bump in the Night” starts with a sample of an obscure B-movie (of course) and proceeds in the manner we’d expect: punk’n’roll at 200mph and snarling vocals.  “Lights Out” is a frenzied rocker with the hugest chorus on the album – think the Anti-Nowhere League partying in a haunted house and you’ll be there.      

The band give a nod to their Seattle roots with an exemplary cover of Soundgarden’s “Hunted Down”, a surprising song choice, but it makes perfect sense.  WCG take the original and inject even more brutality, but retain a little of the psychedelic feel of the original.

I’ve no idea who Brooks is, but “Brooks is Here” features a helluva fast, almost psychobilly freak out.  “Make My Blood Boil” and “Day in the Death” have a similar feel, though “Deeper” takes a more metallic approach with some added Sisters of Mercy atmos.

“One of Us” is fast and nasty, unafraid to have some fun with the horror punk cliches, but adding a ruthless heavy rock influence.  Like the best of Seattle bands, it’s an irresistible collision of punk and metal that’s fun and makes the listener beg for more.  Why aren’t more bands like this? 

My old mate Ronnie James Dio used to love Halloween.  He had fantastic costumes too: demons, zombies, imps.  I used to have to take him out Trick or Treating every year, acting as his minder.  Of course, I looked more like his parent, and most of the people thought little Ron, knocking on their door, was a child.  He got loads of candy though, and he always shared it with me.  Happy days.

Check out the fantastic White City Graves on Bandcamp, Spotify, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram.

This review is presented to you by Platinum Al and Ever Metal.

Hallowe’en Playlist

All these posts about horror movies, it’s about time there was a post devoted to music for Hallowe’en!

I have a couple of Hallowe’en compilation CDs, this playlist puts together various songs not on those collections.  Some of the choices are obvious horror themes (“The Number of the Beast”, “Nasty”); others are more tenuous (“Devil in Disguise”, “Hotter Than Hell”).  Other selections are related, directly or not, to great scary movies: you know where “Bad Moon Rising” is from, right?

Either way, there’s a variety of styles here – suitable for (most) Hallowe’en gatherings…

  1. Creedence Clearwater Revival – “Bad Moon Rising”
  2. The Damned – “Nasty”
  3. Elvis Presley – “(You’re the) Devil in Disguise”
  4. Ramones – “Pet Semetary”
  5. Motorhead – “Hellraiser”
  6. Johnny Cash – “(Ghost) Riders in the Sky”
  7. Iron Maiden – “The Number of the Beast”
  8. The Misfits – “Vampira”
  9. Kiss – “Hotter Than Hell”
  10. Rolling Stones – “Sympathy for the Devil”
  11. Zombina & The Skeletones – “Nobody Loves You (When You’re Dead)”
  12. Ozzy Osbourne – “Mr Crowley”
  13. Screamin’ Jay Hawkins – “I Put a Spell on You”
  14. GBH – “Horror Story”
  15. Van Halen – “Runnin’ with the Devil”
  16. David Bowie – “Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)”
  17. The Cult – “The Witch”
  18. Jimi Hendrix Experience – “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)”
  19. Alice Cooper – “I Love the Dead”

Hallowe’en Horror Fest part 2

The clock strikes, darkness descends and it’s time for more movies from Hallowe’en Horror Fest!

Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb (1971) 220px-Bloodmummytomb

This is what we want!  Hammer Horror – with all the trappings.  This gem from 1971, based on a story by Bram Stoker, offers all the trademarks we expect.  The very lovely Valerie Leon plays Margaret, who seems to be a reincarnation of an Ancient Egyptian Queen of evil named Tera.  Her Egyptologist father (Andrew Keir) and his comrades excavated Tera’s tomb many years before, and now are faced with the return of the sorceress and several dastardly, supernatural murders.

The narrative begins very well and is spiced up with some fairly gruesome imagery.  However, the last third of the film seems to drag a little when it should really deliver more thrills.  Never the less, this Hammer movie features dependable performances and impressive sets that make it a movie well worth catching.  A clever concept with some definite moments that make the film stand out from similar fare. tumblr_lx2w6mr6Wk1r18pefo1_500

Of course, the real event here is Valerie Leon, who can be summed up alliteratively with words such as voluptuous and VA VA VOOM!!!


More Hallowe’en Horror Fest reviews coming very soon…

Hallowe’en Horror Fest

It’s October!  Which means it’s not long till Hallowe’en.  Which also means that I’ve started my annual Hallowe’en Horror Fest – watching scary movies and listening to horror rock!

The festival of Hallowe’en is a big deal at the Virtual Hot Tub.  Not only will I be decorating the place and having a fancy dress party for all my fiends, I’ll update you on other cultural happenings throughout the month.  Starting now.

A big part of Hallowe’en Horror Fest is the films.  Horror movies old and new, whether they’re real shit-your-shoes off jumpy, or just have some supernatural element to them.  My aim is to watch as many as possible before we get to November.   Here’s the scoop on the first two.

The Raven (2012)

A serial killer is committing terrible murders inspired by the writings of Edgar Allan Poe.  Poe (John Cusack) must turn detective to put an end to the grisly crimes before his betrothed becomes the next victim.

I was intrigued to see this film as I’ve read many of Poe’s stories over the years, and enjoyed them immensely.  Whether you enjoy the movie will depend on if you can accept the fictionalised account including the real Edgar Allan Poe as a protagonist.  For me, this twist was a great idea and worth exploring.

Not truly “Horrific”, but nonetheless creating a suitably dark, brooding atmosphere with a fair dose of gore, I enjoyed the film very much.  Very good, though shock factor is not too high.


From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)

A hybrid of Tarantino gangster movie and splatter crazy vampire fest, I wasn’t a big fan of this film the first time I saw it.  The juxtaposition of the two styles jarred.  However the exploding, gloopy vampires – acting more like zombies in their mass attack on the humans – grated on me even more.  They didn’t resemble enough the vampires of folklore I was familiar with.  I actually enjoyed the gritty realism of the first part of the film rather than the horror element.

Repeated viewings have proved me wrong.  The more I see this film, the more I admire the ingenuity, creativity and enthusiasm thrown onto the screen like an exploding blood pack by Director Robert Rodriguez.  Great performances from everyone, including George Clooney, Juliette Lewis, Harvey Keitel and Tarantino himself.  Watching it again now, the disparate elements really serve to create a sense of bewilderment when the vampires show themselves.

Highly recommended, if you’ve not seen this film, get on it now.  And not forgetting Salma Hayek makes one of the sexiest vampires ever as Santanico Pandemonium.