Recorded by Grave Tone Productions
One of the coolest things about attending conventions is discovering new things. Creators from all walks of art bring their creations for attendees to consume. Some are guests, others just buy a merch table in a vending hall and set up.
At this year’s Texas Frightmare Weekend, Grave Tone Productions did the latter. With their own table in the main vending hall, they had a small stereo playing their unique take on horror music. Over the din of the con it was barely audible, but I heard it and stopped to chat.
I’m glad I did.
I walked away with Music to Be Buried By, a CD of their unique horror music. Main man Brian Davis (his partner is Jay Brooks) told me they started by creating custom horror soundtracks for haunted houses and the like, but this represented his own take on horror instrumentals.
What we have are 13 tracks of music that represent a brand new take on the genre started by Midnight Syndicate long ago. What makes Grave Tone Productions unique is their blending of creepy horror music with heavy metal instrumentation. This isn’t a metal album, this isn’t a horror album, it’s a blend of the two.
This disc is a little frustrating for me. After the opening intro track, the first full song, “6 Degrees of Suffering” kicks in. If we could have ten more tracks like this, it’d instantly be one of my favorite things in the world. This track exemplifies what can be done with this musical hybrid, and it’s badass. Extremely creepy keys and sound effects lay over and under dark, grinding metal riffs that sound like a blend between Pantera and Fear Factory.
The frustration is that we don’t get ten more tracks like that. Most of the disc is in this vein, but several tracks stick out as being out of place.
“Room 324” has about four minutes of sound effects before the heavy kicks in. “Raining Fear” is a spooky spin on John Carpenter’s style of score. “Violent Midnight” is straight out of Midnight Syndicate’s playbook. “The Procedure” is extremely solid once it gets going, but there are 90 seconds of sound effects first.
None of these tracks is bad; they just interrupt a great deal of new and awesome with doses of traditional. With so much going on in the other tracks, you have an impulse to press skip and get to the next shot of “win”.
Tracks like “The Murder Game” and “7 and Death Makes 8” seethe with darkness. “Walking Corpse” has a killer Pantera grind riff played out over soundbites about the zombie apocalypse. “Deathmarch” descends into math-metal madness, while “Creatures in the Closet” takes on a doomy trod.
This is good stuff. Sometimes it’s amazing stuff. Breathtakingly original stuff. Even at its low points it’s still a worthy listen so go grab yourself a copy at the official Grave Tone Productions website.
3 1/2 out of 5