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Non-Prog CD Reviews

The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets

Cthulhu Strikes Back

Review by Gary Hill

Combining punk and metal elements with tongue in cheek lyrics, most of them based on the works of horror writer H. P. Lovecraft (1890-1937), this album is very fun, and actually rather spooky at times. The band have two CD`s that seem to go in and out of print frequently, so keep checking on them, if you want to get this disc. At press time, this release was the one that was in print, but both are equally good. Many of the songs on the album list "required reading." How many CD`s do you know of that encourage literacy?

The mayhem of Darkest of the Hillside Thickets is brought to the world by Jordan Pratt, Warren Banks, Bob Fugger, and Toren Atkinson. The disc can be ordered directly from the band. To get ordering information, and a full world of Thicket insanity, visit their website at list . If you order the disc from them, please tell them that you read about it here.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: The Early Years Volume 4 at

Track by Track Review
Goin` Down to Dunwich
The required reading for this song is Lovecraft`s "Dunwich Horror". Bells and metallic tones begin the piece, after movie sound bites. The cut seems to combine metal and punkish formats with processed vocals. Sound effects add to the mayhem, and one break sets a very strong mood. "Into the box you go, invisible mass feed it and watch it grow."
Ogoru Jahad
Beginning with a sound clip ("here monster, that`s a nice little monster"), this track is again metallic with punk leanings. The number is based on the comic book "Hellboy".
Shoggoth`s Away
A driving bass line begins the track, which is mostly metallic. The song features sound clips from a famous film. The required reading on this one is "At the Mountains of Madness", again by H. P. Lovecraft. "While on a flight one day I passed over the polar city, And curious set down to see what I could glean, Behold a nightmare pit that splashed with piping shapeless monsters, I packed them in the bay of my B-17, Shoggoths Away!"
"I've elbowed with the Old Ones, Khai of ancient Khem!, They sent me little prezzies, and you`re my gift to them." The mode here is more on the punk end, less metal, but both are present. The track features some very quirky segments, and the break contains some quite spooky moments.
Yig Snake Daddy
"Curse of Yig", by Zealia Bishop is the literary assignment for this cut. The piece is based on a rock and roll sort of structure with metal stylings. The ending to this cut is unusual. One could call it "the ending that just won`t end".
Although the piece is not really written about it, the recommended reading material for this one is "Whisperer in the Darkness" (Lovecraft). The very beginning of the track is a bit Rushish, and the track itself is in a nice metal mode. The bass line on the instrumental break has a very nice tone.
At less than a minute in length, Wrath is a very brief, rather punkish instrumental based on one chord progression.
Rock Lords
A punkish bass line begins this number, whose lyrics are based on a line of toys. As the song continues, the mode is metallic, but quite progressive (perhaps in the mode of Captain Beyond). It is another brief cut.
A smart metallic number, this piece is very well arranged and based on a hypothetical Lovecraftian scenario.
HVW is an odd little song that pretty well defies description, other than the fact that it is a rather funny accapella track.
Burrow Your Way to My Heart
The rhythm section here is quite punkish, while the rest of the arrangement is more metallic. Lyrically, this quite an odd piece. "When you were a little girl you were stung by a wasp, And the skin on your arm puffed up and went red, Yet you so loved that wasp and all of his brothers that you, Brought the whole damned angry hive right into your bed."
This is a different mix of an excerpt of Wrath, followed by a brief spoken snippet.
Worship Me Like a God
Thrash and punk influences merge, and this cut has some very quirky overtones.
Cthulhu Dreams
Beginning with another film snippet, spooky instrumental work begins to build. This piece is an extended (over 11 minutes) psychedelically weird creepfest. It features odd vocal sections, spoken word snippets and sound effects. When the track ends (following a false ending), it is after a frantically chaotic crescendo which dissolves into disarray.
Another reworking of Wrath, this one features a very funny spoken word section as its conclusion. Much of the humor comes from the fact that this is the last track on the album.
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