“A Beast Conceived”

By Derelikt Waugh

 Howling is the wrath child of Vanessa Nocera (Skeletal Spectre, Wooden Stake, Wolfhollow, etc.), Tony Proffer (Beyond Hell) and Elektrokutioner (Decrepitaph and countless other projects/bands). Therefore, you should automatically assume that you’re in store for something truly beastly and heavy as all Hell. That’s a VERY safe assumption here on “A Beast Conceived”, Howling’s debut album on the consistently great Razorback Recordings. Also, since Howling is a part of the Razorback roster, you should know that this is a band that is deeply steeped in an old school horror film aesthetic. The name of the band itself is a tribute to “The Howling” which is arguably the best werewolf film of all time.

 All of the lyrics are horror film derived (“The Fog”, American Gothic”, etc.) and are penned by lead growler/howler, Vanessa Nocera. While we’re on the subject of Vanessa, it should be noted that she truly delivers one of her most brutal and devastating vocal performances (in an extremely colorful and varied career). She’s no amateur, having performed various musical duties in a wide array of bands, but she is certainly most at home here, sounding close to a lycanthrope/demon hybrid, snapping and sneering her way through a story book of the macabre that would make H.P. Lovecraft a wee bit sheepish. In my humble opinion, Vanessa is currently one of the best in the business, and at the height of her vocal prowess she makes others sound like pants-pissing cowards.

Then there’s Tony. Tony Proffer’s fret work is nothing short of jaw-dropping. From lightning fast rhythm snarls that hearken back to early Hetfield, to haunting and melodic leads that lend an ethereal element to the phantasmagoric proceedings, Tony is a musician that’s not to be fucked with. Let’s not forget the fact that he doubles as bassist too, folks! Elektrokutioner also delivers the ghoulish goods here, pounding the listener into submission with his uniquely primitive, yet distinctly intricate percussion work. In summation, “A Beast Conceived” is ten songs of Hell fueled horror obsession that clocks in at a mere forty minutes, but much more than that, it is a labor of love that is most certainly worth your attention and your hard earned cash. Buy, or die, posers! You need this one in your collection.