Horror Punk: the conversation always starts with the Misfits. No exceptions. They are the originators, the ones who took ’50s garage pop and laced it with the most gruesome things Glenn Danzig‘s mind could imagine. But that doesn’t mean the conversation ends at the Misfits — there’s a lot more out there. That’s why we tapped Anders Manga of occult rock duo Bloody Hammers to get you more acquainted with things.
My intro to horror punk was actually via Metallica. When I was a kid, a friend of mine from the neighborhood had a copy of their Garage Days Re-Revisted EP, which had a cover of The Misfits’ “Last Caress” on it. I’d never heard of Misfits but knew I had to find some of their records. This was pre-internet so that meant going from record store to record store digging through crates until you found something.
Finally I found a copy of Walk Among Us at a store in Greensboro, N.C. called Spins. I loved every song on it. It sounded like a feral street gang belting out ’50s garage pop. Simple yet fast, but melodic and catchy as hell. I was hooked and had to hunt down everything they ever did, which wasn’t easy in those days. Now, Static Age is my favorite album but Walk Among Us was an amazing intro.
Since the new Bloody Hammers album definitely has some horror punk inspiration, Loudwire asked me to put together a list of Horror Punk that isn’t by The Misfits. So here’s my list, Enjoy!
45 Grave’s 1983 album Sleep in Safety is one of the oldest records I’ve owned through the years since my teens. I discovered the band from the Return of the Living Dead soundtrack and “Evil” has always been my favorite track.
“Voices of the Dead” by Calabrese
‘Voices of the Dead’ from Phoenix, Arizona’s Calabrese is taken from their excellent 2007 record Traveling Vampire Show. Somehow, I only recently discovered this band, but there’s lots of fantastic stuff in their catalog.
“Nightcrawler” by The Dahmers
A friend of mine turned me on to The Dahmer’s 2017 In the Dead of Night album. The song has a classic melodic punk vibe but as a bonus, singer Christoffer Karlsson reminds me of Robin Zander. I love old Cheap Trick.
“Monster Mutant Boogie” by Blood Sucking Zombies From Outer Space
BZFOS have lots of good stuff, but “Monster Mutant Boogie” remains my favorite — the version from their 2012 Decade of Decay release.
“Chopsley: Rabid Bikini Model” by The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black
When I was living in NYC periodically in the late ’90s, The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black were in fine form, packing houses with their art punk stage spectacle. I’ll always remember how hard “Chopsley” slammed live.
“Big Black Witchcraft Rock” by The Cramps
Maybe The Cramps weren’t super fast punk, but there’s no denying the huge influence they had on the emerging horror punk subgenre. Every Cramps song is my favorite, but for this list I’ll go “Big Black Witchcraft Rock” from their 2003, Fiends on Dope Island record.
“Killing Saturday Night” by Nim Vind
This 2009 track by Nim Vind has become a staple in horror punk fans’ playlists over the past decade. It’s fast, melodic and even has some Frankie Valli-like backing vocals in the chorus. Super catchy stuff right here.
“The Doom Songs” by the Plasmatics
Wendy O. Williams was the queen of gritty classic punk in my opinion. It’s nice to see a pop star as big as Miley Cyrus raising some awareness about Wendy recently. She deserves more attention as being a trailblazer in so many ways. For this list I’m gonna go with “The Doom Song.” Note to Spotify: Please get Plasmatics’ debut, New Hope for the Wretched, so I can stop wearing out my vinyl.
“Far From Paradise” by Scarlet’s Remains
Maybe some will argue this pick is deathrock/goth rock and I agree with that, but this track is pretty punk to me. I loved this band and the two albums they released back in the mid-00s.
“Maniac” by Peter and the Test Tube Babies
Peter and the Test Tube Babies weren’t a horror punk band but “Maniac” has all the bones of a horror punk song. From their 1982 record, Pissed and Proud.
“Rebirth” by The Crimson Ghosts
This band has been around since the early ’00s and have lots of good tracks, but for this list I’m going with “Rebirth.” It’s a real catchy, heavy track.
“Code Blue” by T.S.O.L.
“Code Blue” comes from T.S.O.L.’s 1981 horror punk classic Dance With Me. I reckon you can’t get much more “horror” than necrophilia.
“End of Days” by The Other
It’s hard to believe The Other have been around almost 20 years. They have faster, more punk tracks but “End of Days” is probably my personal favorite.