Unearthing Forgotten Horrors

(this was a live review that got cut from Narc because of space, so I thought I’d post it here)

Unearthing Forgotten Horrors – Star & Shadow, Nov 9th

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A little late for Halloween but on a suitably gloomy night, the gorehounds and occultists of Tyneside gathered in the Star & Shadow for a very promising bill. The evening got underway with two great movies – hauntological ur-text The Stone Tape, still powerful despite shaky production values, and Blood On Satan’s Claw, one of the key folk horror movies and a visual and conceptual motherlode for much of the evening’s music.

It was a shame that three acts in a row ploughed very much the same furrow, albeit to differing success:  Temple Of Sekhmet’s gloomy drone never really engaged, although some of their circuit bent kit was fascinating. The Psychogeographical Commission similarly didn’t develop their initial premise and irked me by reducing psychogeography to hackneyed Ripper / Holmes / Ackroyd motifs. The Dead End Street Band really nailed it though, summoning some genuinely unsettling, dank dread and using Satan’s Claw’s visuals and samples to great effect. Local drone hero Culver was the night’s highlight for me, although he pretty much ignored the theme and instead played a set of ecstatic, uplifting soundscapes with nary a hint of Hammer Horror. Finally, I had a lot of time for English Heretic on record, but live his Pooterish delivery and hammy sounds came off as more ‘cruise ship David Tibet’ than ‘adumbration of a modern qliphoth’. Specific criticisms aside, though, the Unearthing Forgotten Horrors crew put together an enjoyable and original night.

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 NB: The set by Joseph Curwen that I was stupid enough to miss was broadcast in full as part of Panic & Carousel #21

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