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Non-Prog CD Reviews

The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets

Great Old Ones

Review by Gary Hill

This CD is a compilation of various songs by The Darkest of The Hillside Thickets that until the disc's release were only available on out of print cassettes with a few others added into to fill out the album. This one comes in and out of print rather frequently, but for the time being is still available. For those not familiar with their work, The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets create a sound that is both punky and alternative rock in nature. They touch on heavy metal and other musical styles from time to time. Their tongue in cheek lyrics are often times inspired by the writings of H. P. Lovecraft, but when they aren't the seed is usually in some other form of horror or science fiction. This disc is a lot of fun, as are all of their albums. Some of the songs here are also available on the album Let Sleeping Gods Lie, which I have reviewed previously. For the sake of consistency, the track by track reviews of those songs are taken directly from the review of that album.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2005 Year Book Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Tarred and Feathered
This is a bouncy punky number with a lot of energy. It also has a cool vocal arrangement.
My Tank
This cut is more raw than the previous one, feeling a little like a cross between The Ramones, The Sex Pistols and Dick Dale.
Battered
This is a very weird and twisted acapella cover song.
One Gilled Girl
The Ramones hit Lovecraft would be a great way to describe this.
Jimmy The Squid
A spoken lecture introduction starts this. As the song proper enters its meaty main riff is quite cool. As it drops to the verse only the rhythm section remains. This one is definitely a highlight of the album and includes both tasty guitar work and some killer vocal arrangements.
Chunk
This is a rocking cut that has an intriguing texture. The lyrics link together several Lovecraft concepts and the guitar solo is especially tasty.
Diggin' Up The World
This starts off with noisy crunch, then drops to a cool verse segment. The chorus here is not that far removed from something that might be done by a modern incarnation of King Crimson. This one also features a short, but very tasty instrumental segment. This is another highlight of the album with an almost garagey punk jam band texture.
Colour Me Green
A guitar riff that feels like someone screaming out of fear starts this one off, and as the cut continues it is in a frantic metal mode that really is quite effective. It has a punk oriented chorus and a great feedback dominated break.
Space Ghosts
This is another that feels a lot like The Ramones.
A Thousand Fists
A crunch burst starts this one, and as the thundering melody begins one can picture a thousand fists rising into the air. This is a very well produced and fun hard-edged cut that is full of energy. A false ending gives way to a cool instrumental break that feels a bit like The Dead Kennedys. Then a completely new melody, again in the vein of the DK's, emerges. The familiar chorus returns to end the cut
Big Robot Dinosaurs
A more stripped down approach with a cool alternative rock feel makes up this track. It has a fairly dynamic nature, and it is one of the more unique cuts on the CD.
Rocket Science
More solid punk textures make up this one. The "vocals" are just a guy shouting for help. This is a weird, but funny piece.
Flee!
This one has a more metallic texture at first. Then it drops to a drums and voice arrangement for the verse, but a metallic guitar riff makes up the main musical structure. It dissolves to chaos amidst chants of "insanity, death!"
Mustard Gas
The verse has an old time music texture, but the chorus feels like Suicidal Tendencies. "I love my mustard gas." This is good clean fun.
Everyone Calls Me Ted
This high-energy rocker is another that feels at times like The Ramones, but some segments are far more metallic. There are moments that even feel a bit like Rush.
Diggin' Up The World (acoustic)
This acoustic take on the track gives it an almost classic folk texture. This is very cool and features some great vocal harmonies. This is possibly my favorite song on the disc and shows just how much talent these guys have.
Yog-Sothoth
Chanting and screaming of "Yog Sothoth" over a mid-tempo punky sort of jam is what makes up the majority of this one. The jam that ensues has a classic punk sound that feels like so many of the punk groups who drew inspiration from the '50's/early '60s elements. This one is quite cool, and nearly an instrumental.
Hookworm - Live
This one smokes live. Its unique alternative rock texture takes on a new charm and immediacy in this rougher rendition.
Burrow Your Way To My Heart - Live
Once again, this one works quite well in the rawer live rendition, even feeling a bit like the Dead Kennedys at times.
Please God No
This has a straightforward rock and roll texture. Its old school rock brought into a modern punk vein mode is quite cool.
Walking On The Moon
The Thickets create a fast paced punky take on this killer Police tune.
Six Gun Gorgon Dynamo
Drums are the intro here, and with an echoed "whew", we're off on a frantic high-energy ride. It has some killer guitar textures and is oh-so fast.
 
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