Freshly compiled and ready to get you making the most of the spooky season, Howl~O~Grim Vaz 1 is a pretty unmissable album if you’re even a little set on embracing Halloween this year. Angeles take on the absolute classic that is Monster Mash to kick the project off, loaded with colour and character, organic musical brightness and a perfect sense of uplifting rhythm – it’s a great version that pays a crisp and modern tribute to the unforgettable original.
Zombie Garden Club make another appearance on this collection with the gloriously vintage Kickin’ It At The Crypt, a hauntingly cool track with some brilliant moments of togetherness. Characula follows and picks up the intensity a little – Mummy Dance takes the form of a heavier, distorted bit of hard-rock, adding something genuinely intense and fitting for those late night parties, but with a notably gentler leading voice that again pours so much personality and flair into the experience.
Halloween At The Door lightens the mood and sees Carol Martini drive with an acoustic aura and a simple bit of story-telling that comes as a welcomed change in direction. By the time the hook hits the song has a quickly recognisable melody, and later as the beat emerges – a brilliant level of entrancing rhythm overtakes; the vocals and the beat walk hand in hand, and it works really well. Defiantly a song that grows more and more enjoyable as it progresses.
Anthems for Autumn add a superb fusion of classic rock and EDM with their all-encompassing song Ghost. Gypsy Carns follow and introduce a touch of organic, tribal and experimental musicality with Moon & Stars – a fascinating song that offers something of a gritty and atmospheric bit of instrumental Americana or country rock. The intensity and pace rise throughout in a brilliantly compelling and rightfully quite unsettling fashion.
Michael Resin settles things down with the mellow and melancholic, retro-electronic tones of Vicious Minds Project. Eclecticism runs free musically on this album, this particular song takes the listener on a unique and ever-changing journey. Kitt Wakeley afterwards reverts back to the atmospherically epic in a striking way – Wicked Warped & Twisted is an immensely powerful track that’s impossible to ignore. The whole thing evolves and blossoms in a stunning way, taking things from quietly thoughtful to intense and energizing. A definite musical highlight and still in keeping with the theme and mood of the whole project.
Lyia Meta brings some incredible vocals to the stage with the dramatic and dark power ballad that is Slumber. The Swinging Iggies take indie rock riffs to the max with the smooth and sultry, nostalgic rhythm and tones of The Pain. Andrew Tyler and The oOhz then continue this level of energy and style with the superbly blues-rock soaked story-line and composition that is Vampire Blue.
Towards the final quarter of the album, Guarded Jungle introduce industrially dark, experimental instrumentation with Haunt Me, then the Beatles-like rhythm and colour of The Satisfactors creates a moment of brightness and classic style with My Baby Got It. After this, the genuine howls of Halloween fill the room via Claudio Casanueva’s beautiful yet briefly unnerving composition The Witch.
Wood Shampoo lighten the tone and reintroduce rhythm with the simple and catchy You Suck (Mr. Vampire). Then the wonderful Gar Francis makes an appearance, adding a vintage crackle and organic warmth with Shaking My Body To The Bone. Kickbend finish things up with the punk-pop energy and melodic comfort of Ups ‘N Downs.
There’s something for everyone on this collection, but all in all – the full project is something to be shared and utilized at precisely this time of year. The soundtrack to your Halloween party has arrived – it’s fresh, partly familiar, frightening, and well worth taking advantage of this October.
Take home the album as of October 12th via Bongo Boy Records.