Release: Raw Howls
Taking almost exactly the same cues from ’60s Biker films, garage psych rock and punk churned through the same schlocky Doom aesthetic as recent Doom/Punk trio, Satan’s Satyrs, one could be forgiven for thinking Raw Howls was a Satan’s Satyrs release. However this is an entity of the Danish group, Alucarda, though the similarities are hard to ignore.
The scent of SS is rife throughout the instrumentation and general aesthetic of the band, with the same bass heavy focus and fuzzed out guitars as well as H Witchfuzz’s raw howls mimicking Claythanas’ reverb soaked ones, right down to the inflections and seeming voice breaks. The production, although, on Raw Howls that Alucarda is dealing out is a great deal less muffled than the sort that Satan’s Satyrs’ releases have and the combination of the drums and bass are much less dominating and lack the sheer choking presence that SS releases have. This leaves Raw Howls with a more accessible sound that still retains the perfect amount of raw, garage rock/DIY punk sound to it that conjures up images of boozed out/drugged up 60’s bikers and punks hammering away at their instruments that Alucarda drives so hard to create.
On the song writing front, Alucarda present the expected melting pot of the high energy sounds of early punk, given off in the chord and song progression, and biker rock sleaze oozing out of the drumming and vocals, glazed over with the sort of doom brimming with horror and the occult that a band like Electric Wizard have the monopoly on. Here one of the major deviations that Alucarda have from Satan’s Satyrs, and one of the potential faults of the album presents itself; there isn’t a large focus on memorable sections on this album. Aside from a pair of crushing doom sections in Coven Howls and The Savage, and the groovy as fuck outro instrumental, Deadbeat Pysch-Out!, Raw Howls melds the fuzzed out guitar, bass and howled vocals together throughout the album.
The songs mixing together doesn’t seem to strike too much of an issue given that the album runs just over 34 minutes over 7 tracks including two instrumentals; the intro and outro, giving the feeling that Alucarda know when to pack up the booze and instruments and piss off out of the garage.
The themes and aesthetic of Raw Howls again draw huge comparisons to Satan’s Satyrs, with acid tinged exploitation and biker films of the 60’s thrown together with occult horror oozing out from every pore of the album with song titles like Coven Howls, Temptress of Evil and the outro, Deadbeat Pysch-Out!
Raw Howls is far from a bad album; Alucarda certainly know how to take the aesthetic and sounds and run with them shamelessly while managing to avoid sounding camp, and it is hard to fault especially considering how little of this Doom/Punk there is, which is a shame considering how awesome the complete package is. The production is still quite raw while being clearer than Satan’s Satyrs, potentially giving Raw Howls the status of being a gateway album into this raw garage sound but it lacks the outstanding song moments and quirks that Satan Satyr’s releases throw around so liberally, meaning it may be hard to hold interest in this if fuzz and bass aren’t up your alley.
Definitely recommended for fans of Satan’s Satyrs who are craving more acid flecked horror Doom/Punk.