Hello there. My name is John Huber. I write horror novels and melodic death metal under the moniker Skeleton Rose. I travel to horror and artistry conventions to sell my novels and my music. And a few months ago, I also had the opportunity to audition for the incredible band Shotgun Facelift. The rehearsal went well, and I was offered the position. So since then, we’ve toured locally and played some great shows in addition to all my work with Skeleton Rose. At the risk of sounding entirely self-serving, I mention it only in passing to highlight my favorite part about all the things I get to do and all the places I get to go.
Best part about it is that I get to meet some really really cool people.
CRYPTICON KANSAS CITY
This summer, I attended Crypticon Kansas City in St. Joseph, Missouri. As a vendor at a horror convention, you meet all kinds. Diehard fans of everything you can imagine–celebrities, trinket and knick-knack vendors from every corner of the country selling things familiar and entirely obscure, plus every sort of cosplay, fanfare and eccentricity. But my favorite part above all that is the opportunity to meet other independent artists. Musicians, authors, artists, illustrators, sculptors; the list is endless. It’s a great way to network as well as experience great independent artistry.
And in St. Joseph last summer, I met several independent musicians who were interested in Necro; my latest Skeleton Rose album that released just last summer. I met the bassist from Ashes in Vein, the man behind the industrial assault that is Skrog as well as others. But my favorite of the convention was a man named Casey Parr.
FULL METAL Z
Casey came to the table dressed like a camper from Camp Crystal Lake. We spoke for awhile and he told me that he was also a musician. He picked up a copy of Necro and we took a picture together. Come a few months later, I get a package in the mail, open it up, and find a new album and a signed sticker from Casey. Turns out, Casey fronts an all-zombie band called Full Metal Z. And it’s not just a band about zombies. Think Immortal just with zombies instead of black metal. The members of Full Metal Z all dress in full zombie garb, assume different fictional names and identities. Then they sing about everything zombies.
And I’ve got to tell you . . . I dig it. I dig it hard.
The album is called Made Me a Zombie. It’s available anywhere you get your digital music; including Spotify, iTunes, Google Music, Amazon MP3, etc. But, if you contact the band, they do have physical copies of the album. And for any of you that may be interested, I would recommend you do so. The packaging on this thing is incredible, and quite frankly, I’m jealous. It’s very clean and professional. Complete with a fake news clipping printed on the inside of the dust jacket. The article highlights how the dead have risen from the grave and have come for Kansas City—that’s where the band is from.
On the opposite side of the jacket are the band pictures, setting them all out with press photos and the names of the members. The man I met, Casey Parr, is KC Corpse. And I must say . . . the zombie attire . . . it’s very, VERY well done. They have a flair for dramaticism and upon inspection, you can immediately tell they take pride in their work and that they take it seriously. While the songs have an element of horror, fun and slight bits of shtick are present. It’s all very properly presented and offered out.
Finally, the music itself is great stuff. I’ll be entirely honest with you, after the entire presentation, it would have been quite the letdown if the music had been half-hearted or lackluster. Or . . . Even just . . . unremarkable. When you put so much time into making your band, product, whatever; when you put so much time into making your artistry a spectacle, at some point, the rubber has to meet the road. And when it does, hopefully your material holds up to the pageantry. And I’m so delighted to report that in this case, it does.
The musical flavor is very fun, which is an important element when combining horror and music, I think; especially if the focus is zombies. The music is sprinkled with zombie movie snippets throughout the album to open up and close the songs. Of course, you can hear a lot of Rob Zombie on this record, but there are also many other flavors. It is not derivative in any way. There’s just a focus on horror, a heavy spectacle, an AWESOME groove that never seems to depart . . . and, to be blunt . . . the word ‘zombie’ is thrown around. All of those things are synonymous with Rob, and there’s no getting away from it. But, in this case, it’s not a bad thing, because I can promise you Full Metal Z is very much its own product.
My favorite tracks are:
Starts the album with an apocalyptic and doomy feel. That’s the thing about these guys, there’s this ever present low end that not only grooves, but pushes wholly into metal territory. Sometimes thrash, sometimes metal/rock soaring, but the intensity will always be present. It’s very obvious that these guys are old school metal fans.
BRING OUT YOUR DEAD
This one is badass, period. It’s fucking mean. The chorus has a gothic power that channels the real dread of the apocalyptic black plague, despite the reference to Monty Python in the title and song’s opening. Despite that little bit of fun, there’s no joy here. All power, all metal, all attitude.
This one is haunting. The chorus is very unexpected, nearly dreamlike, like a tortured nightmare. Lovesick, colossally tragic. I haven’t read the lyrics, but I would expect to find Shakespearian type dramaticism about murdering the person you love the most because of a serial murder’s warped sense of obsession and love. Having and possessing someone in death as the ultimate form of eternal love. That’s what I would expect to find, anyway. That’s the vibe of the song. It’s fucked up, it’s beautiful, and I fucking love it. And it has the heaviest ending of the album.
COMING TO GET YOU, BARBRA
This song is everything you need to know about this band. If you’re going to listen to one song from this band, it should probably be this one. The groove is utterly infectious and the chorus soars into a raucous fare of rock and roll spectacle. I dare anyone to listen to this song and not head bang. And, of course, for all us diehards for George A. Romero’s immortal Night of the Living Dead, the name of the song and the introduction to it are entirely standard and expected. And it’s fucking awesome.
2 GIRLS, 1 CRYPT
This one ends the album. It’s very thrashy. And to be honest, it’s another track I didn’t expect. It kicks about thirty seconds in, and it doesn’t stop. Old school tremolo and chug licks, complete with a very satisfying solo, that never cease until it drives the album back into the dirt from whence it rose.
I love this album. There are anthems all over this thing, and I mean anthems–songs that drive their way inside your head and refuse to be buried. It gets a little slow in the middle of the track listing, though. The songs are never lackluster, there are just a few that are a little less remarkable than their spectacular and anthemic cousins. But it ends with a merciless and haunting run with “Lucille”, “Coming to Get You, Barbra”, and 2 Girls, 1 Crypt.”
I’m so happy I got a chance to meet Casey. And it’s because I do what I do that I get a chance to discover great things like this. And, of course, this gives me the opportunity to score signed copies of all their cool shit. When horror and metal come together like this, it can be truly special. And in this particular instance, nearly everything works.
P.S.—The album art is fucking fantastic, by the way. Even if the music isn’t for you, you need to see it. If you’re a fan of horror in any way, you need to see it. Also, in speaking with Casey, I learned that the band travels to their gigs in a hearse. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!!
Long living dead Full Metal Z.