Nothing like some Halloween fun when it’s the dead of winter, eh? Omaha, Nebraska’s horror-themed punk rock group Scabby Ghouls are about to release their self-titled debut. It’s a very quick run of tunes that’s heavily rooted in the late ‘70s traditional style of punk. Humorous plays on words, classic horror film villains, and real-life situations can sum up everything displayed on this ride.
Denise Hazard’s vocals stand out immediately; her ability to carry such a groove and inject spooky, haunting vibratos will snag the ear like a fishing hook. This is backed by instrumentation played completely in minor tones fused with power-chord driven rhythms. “Midwest Zombies” shows closer glimpses of these punk roots with the simplistic focus during the verses. But almost every song throws in shredding, Slayer-like solos which are atypical for punk.
Others like “Black Dahlia Bombshell” utilize spooky suspense with bass and vocal howl teaming as a slow buildup, only to break out in moshing madness. A real kicker is how these songs jump around in format. “Dreaddy Krueger” is a harsh take on the Nightmare On Elm Street film with attitudes dipping into the early hardcore territory. Immediately following is “Road Ragin,’” a tune about, you guessed it, road rage containing silly lyrics like “dammit grandma move your fucking wrinkly ass.” Quite the one-eighty in structure.
Scabby Ghouls achieved exactly what they were going for with this; silliness, attitude, and spookiness, all pulled off perfectly. The ability to cake on shredding solos without the overall output being awkward is a hell of a skill. Without a doubt, it’s a weird and inconsistent run, but Scabby Ghouls is well worth the short amount of your time.
Scabby Ghouls will be out on March 15th, 2019 through Out-O-Tune Records and can be found digitally and on CD via Bandcamp.