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Goblin, Autopsy And Incantation Terrorized Day Three of HHFF

Photo of Autopsy

Band Photo: Autopsy (?)

Day Three of Phil Anselmo’s Housecore Horror Film Festival in San Antonio, Texas started like day two at the Holiday Inn where the film portion of the festival took place. Just like the last two years, I made sure to watch at least one film. It’s difficult to take in a film as there are so many great bands to catch, but having to be over at the hotel for interviews, I figured get there early and catch a film, so I checked the schedule and saw that a showing of Gwar’s home video “Skulhedface” was playing. Don Drakulich, aka Sleazy P. Martini, provided commentary.

Short (the heals he wears as Sleazy really boast his height, not to mention his ten-pound hair piece) and wearing glasses and short brown hair, Drakulich started the film off with a slide show presentation where he talked about how he created many of Gwar’s costumes with the help of other members. In fact, most of the celebrities were his creations. He detailed how most of the characters/props were made with silicon. He also told how the story of how Sleazy P. Martini, Gwar’s “fucking manager,” came to life. There were two Sleazys before him known as Sluggo P. Martini that didn’t work out. Tony Clifton and Jersey cops with disco hair were the inspiration for this character. He lent commentary on “Skulhedface,” a hilarious film based on the music of “This Toilet Earth,” that also starred Jello Biafra and Sabastian Bach. Drakulich left after the presentation and returned in full costume for fans to get autographs and pictures.

Pacific Northwest doom masters Yob were the first band I caught of the day. Along with Crowbar, who played the previous day, Yob brought down-tempo movements hard and heavy. Playing double-digit-minute-length songs, the group often took the melodic route, placing a quiet hush to their churning rhythms. Their churning, palm-muted riffs were a theme of their set culled from material from their latest “Clearing the Path to Ascend” album. There is something tidal about their sound, as their rhythms came in sonic waves. They are definitely one of the top acts in today’s doom scene.

Other than Sleazy P., Gwar did not make their third consecutive appearance at HHFF. We did, however, receive a similar band of live horror hiijinks, Ghoul. Although consisting of masked cannibals, behind the mask are two members of the grind band Impaled, Sean McGrath and Ross Sewage. Their brand of grinding punk thrash was conducive to circle pits. And the group brought out an ensemble of masked characters including a Rastafarian, a Nazi, a monster and a robot. The group involved the crowd in their scheme, too, bringing out a rich man who supposedly bought the club and was going to shut down the show, which elicited boos from the crowd. Ghoul puts on a fun show and their music is good for banging heads and swinging limbs.

Zombi was a bit of a let down after Ghoul's energetic set, but proved a worthy companion to day three headliners Goblin. Zombi’s synthwave sound has a horror film soundtrack quality to it that pressed comparisons to Goblin’s soundtracks and other horror films (I thought one track sounded like the music to “Phantasm.”) The group has toured with Goblin and even took it’s name from the Italian title of “Dawn of the Dead.” They were one of those groups that made me happy there were seats as this was no head banging, mosh-pitting performance. It was nice to sit back and let their murderous undertones wash over me.

Old school, brutal death-doom marked the coming of the next two bands, Incantation and Autopsy. The two returned to the stage together after a successful show in Chicago in October. The last time I saw Incantation was in the late nineties when they toured with Morbid Angel and The Chasm’s Daniel Corchado manned the mic. Since then, band founder and guitarist John McEntee took over vocal duties. Kyle Severn kept the beat fast during tremolo-picked speed bursts and filled in the gaps during crushing moments of doom. Next to bands like Deicide, Incantation brings the devil into death metal. McEntee summoned growls from his bowels reciting tales of blasphemy and hell-fire baptisms through songs from albums such as “Onward to Golgotha” and “Upon The Mortal Throne of Nazarene.” The sinister string bends of “Christening the Afterbirth” were just one example of the satanic audio incarnation.

The gore strewn lyrics of Autopsy made for another appropriate band on a horror film festival. Longtime members Chris Reifert, Danny Coralles and Eric Cutler joined new recruit (five years new) Joe Allen in performing tales of “Charred Remains,” “Twisted Mass of Burnt Decay” and simply being “Dead.” Add the title track from “Severed Survival” and you have quite the collection of old school death metal taken from their “Mental Funeral” and “Severed Survival” albums. Diabolic chords wafted through the air like the stench of soldiers swaying dead in the wind with entrails spilled all over barb wire. While Reifert provided the bulk of vocals behind the drum kit, Coralles and Cutler joined in to create an agonizing den of voices. They were certainly the most demented act of the weekend.

Goblin closed out the Aztec stage before black thrashers Hellknife ended the festival at Korova. The keyboard driven progressive trio performed the score to “Dawn of the Dead.” This was my second time seeing the band. They previously played the score to “Suspiria” at the first HHFF. Intense drumming (the kick drum really makes an impact) and weird vibes from the keyboards really brought the film to life, even if it did drown out all the dialogue. Of course, this only occurred during action parts when the music kicked in. The rest of the film could be heard. After not seeing this film for many years, watching it again, especially under these circumstances really put into perspective its greatness. Not everything was great about the performance, though, as the film skipped and then froze near the beginning of the movie. Fans sat patiently as the festival fixed the movie and Goblin returned to the stage. Their heavy and bizarre movements once again brought the film alive. They’re still a vibrant band even after performing since the early seventies. Just like the first Housecore, the blending of music and film brought a horror film festival to a fitting end!

Rex_84's avatar

An avid metal head for over twenty years, Darren Cowan has written for several metal publications and attended concerts throughout various regions of the U.S.

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1 Comment on "Housecore Horror Film Festival 2015 Day Three"

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1. zz writes:

got a buddy from work that traveled to see this, im super Jealous that he saw AUTOPSY and i didnt

# Nov 28, 2015 @ 6:31 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address

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