While the horror genre is most closely tied to the medium of film, it also sometimes manifests itself in the musical realm, with some acts being more aboveboard with their horror-movie references (i.e. White Zombie, The Misfits) and others merely hinting at a subtle menace threatening to rise up at any moment. Which you prefer really depends on how you like your blood and guts served – fresh off the grill or slipped quietly into your dinnertime soup (or maybe it just depends on what you’re in the mood for). In the “Music” section of B-D’s Black Friday Chopping List we focus a little bit on both types, featuring new releases from artists both classic and contemporary that are firmly entrenched – either overtly or subtly – in the horror tradition.
List Price: $99.98 (Ultimate Edition)/$29.98 (Deluxe Edition)
Released in 1990, Cowboys From Hell was Pantera’s breakthrough album and also the official debut of their most famous lineup, namely singer Phil Anselmo, guitarist “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott, drummer Vinnie Paul and bassist Rex Brown. This three-disc ultimate edition, which marks Cowboys‘ 20th anniversary, includes a newly remastered copy of the original album as well as rare live tracks, demos and several pieces of merchandise including a t-shirt designed by “Dimebag” Darrell, a “Cowboys From Hell Fucking Hostile” button, and flyer reproductions from their `90/’91 tour. Also featured is “The Will to Survive”, a previously unreleased song that was recorded during the Cowboys sessions. For those on a budget there’s also the earlier-released “Deluxe” edition, which includes all three discs but not the extra items that come with the Ultimate set.
List Price: $69.98
In summer 2010, the “Big Four” of ’80s trash metal – Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax – shared a stage for the first time in history on seven special tour dates with the traveling Sonisphere Festival around Europe. Due to pent-up demand from fans who’d been waiting over 20 years for the lineup to coalesce, the June 22nd show in Sofia, Bulgaria was beamed live via satellite to over 1,000 movie theaters across the globe to satiate the appetities of those who couldn’t be there. Now that show is available on a special 5 CD 2 DVD set, which also comes with a 24-page booklet, poster, photos of each band, and a “Big 4″ guitar pick.
List Price: $199.98
The Vinyl Conflict collects (on vinyl, duh) all ten of Slayer’s albums since 1986 (starting with Reign in Blood and up to last year’s World Painted Blood) in one limited-edition box set – just in time to screw up the holidays. Each album has been meticulously remastered from the original “flat master tapes” and then pressed onto the highest-quality vinyl for your macabre listening pleasure. The set also includes reproductions of all artwork from the original LPs, encased in “heavyweight, litho-wrapped chip jackets”. In other words, it’s a big deal for any hardcore Slayer fan (aka Satanists).
List Price: $243.98
Release Date: November 30, 2010
This UK-only import is a little pricey, but if you can afford to buy it for that beloved Sabbath-freak in your life this holiday season, The Ozzy Years: Complete Albums box set is definitely worth the money. The 13-disc compilation, the first of its kind, comes deliciously encased in a large black cross and collects all nine remastered Ozzy-era Sabbath albums, three radio documentaries on the band, a 100-page illustrated booklet, a guitar pick set, and a special poster. You could wait for the American version of this (hello, Warner Bros.?) and save a little cash I guess, but I’ll bet the person you’re thinking of buying this for wouldn’t want you to.
List Price: $10.98 (CD)
Overseen by Trent Reznor himself, this Pretty Hate Machine remaster (also available on vinyl) has been a long time coming for hardcore NIN fans. After completing the score for The Social Network earlier this year, Reznor ollaborated with engineer Tom Baker to digitally remaster all ten of the album’s original tracks, including breakthrough singles “Sin”, “Down In It”, and “Head Like a Hole”, from the original master tapes. The disc also includes a cover of Queen’s “Get Down Make Love”, which ws the B-side to the original “Sin” single but has since become unabailable. The iconic cover art has also been slightly re-conceptualized by NIN’s longtime art director Rob Sheridan. A great gift for both NIN-heads and naive young’ns who weren’t around during Reznor’s early heyday and currently spend far too much time listening to Justin Bieber.
List Price: $18.98
Four years after their 2006 hit The Black Parade, which not only went platinum but surprisingly managed to win over most critics, My Chemical Romance have returned with Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, which according to the band was supposed to be a bit more “stripped-down” than their last album, though judging from the overproduced first single “Na Na Na…” that doesn’t appear to be the case. The band has at least as many detractors as fans, though the rising cries of “emo!” from certain sectors don’t appear to have dampened the enthusiasm of the band’s core fanbase (who in all fairness likely buy their music specifically because of that emo label). Regardless of how you feel about MCR this will probably be one of the biggest pop/rock albums of the year, so buy it for that person on your list whose tastes run a little more toward the mainstream.
List Price: $13.98
If you’ve never heard of Clinic before, now’s your chance to discover one of the best under-the-radar bands of the last ten years (you can thank me later). A good place to start would be their 2002 classic Walking With Thee, which is kind of like the soundtrack to some lost, bizarro art/horror film. Their latest release, Bubblegum, was released just last month to typically positive reviews, with a more melodic sound than some of their previous albums but with the unsettling art-punk/folk vibe from their previous albums still intact. Indeed, it is this vague air of paranoia bubbling just beneath the surface that is the surgery mask-wearing band’s stock in trade. Get it for someone you love who enjoys searching out undiscovered musical gems.
List Price: $18.98
Extreme metal band Cradle of Filth are back with their ninth studio album, Darkly Darkly Venus Aversa, which sees the long-running virtuosos at their most brutally intense. The concept here basically revolves around “Lilith” (aka the “Venus Aversa”), who according to Jewish mythology left Adam to conceive demon spawn with the Biblical Serpent. Fans of the group will no doubt be satisfied with this release, which features frontman Dani Filth’s trademark growling vocals, insane guitar-playing from Paul Allender and James McEllroy, and a tight focus that carries the listener forward on a wave of punishing, maniacal forward momentum. Also includes a bonus disc with four extra tracks and working demos.
List Price: $39.95
This 2-disc collection, the first in a series of retrospective compilations of the industrial/dance group who became known for using horror movie imagery in their lyrics, remixes twelve of their best tracks from the Wax Trax Records era, including a previously unreleased song entitled “Satana Rising!” recorded during the same time period. Also included is a bonus disc consisting of live tracks from a typically theatrical 1990 concert in San Antonio, Texas. When it comes down to it, My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult has always been a silly, gimmicky band, but nevertheless they managed to craft some undeniably catchy tracks in their day that are still fun to blast though your car stereo as you drive down the highway at unreasonable speeds.
List Price: $19.98 (Deluxe Edition)/$16.98 (Standard Edition)
Still a bad-ass after all these years, Nick Cave’s current side project Grinderman (made up completely of members from the Bad Seeds) just released their second album of dark, off-kilter, down-n-dirty rock three years after their raw, propulsive debut. This album is a bit more polished than their last but never less than gripping, as Cave’s vocals become unhinged on funky, threatening tracks like “Heathen Child”, “Bellringer Blues”, and “Worm Tamer”. Do yourself a favor and give it a spin, then buy it for someone you know who can truly appreciate the joys of wildly unpredictable rock `n’ roll. The Deluxe Edition also comes with an expanded 56-page booklet and poster.