Alucarda – Raw Howls [Denmark, Doom / Punk] (2015)


Caligari Records 1-12-15

For anyone not familiar, Alucarda is the name of a Mexican horror film which sees two Catholic orphans which unwittingly summon Satan by way of roving gypsies. The two girls become possessed who then wreak demonic havoc on the convent. The reason why this is important is because the cultish legacy of the film inspired the Dutch doom punk to mimic the general atmosphere of a convent overrun by the Satanically possessed. Alucarda comes by the way of Caligari Records who has already shown themselves as lovers and archivists of both underground heavy music as well as bands who adore horror imagery. Though Alucarda lies on the outside of conventional heavy metal covered on Tape Wyrm, the band’s dedication to the dark arts as well as wild imagery is more than enough to make their debut, Raw Howls, a drug induced motorcycle ride into the depths of psychedelic madnes

Hardcore punk is not far from heavy metal as the two have been integral in the development of some of today’s subgrenres. Additionally, the borderlands between hardcore and metal have given way to interesting records. Alucarda, however, explores the fast and furious side of hardcore punk rather than the heaviness used by other acts. The tempo and attitude is undoubtedly punk with stoner doom as support. This combined with the use of schlockly soundclips and song titles like “Deadbeat Psych-Out!,” makes Alucarda and Raw Howls a treat to experience. It is important to note that while pulp and exploitation imagery in metal and hardcore is nothing new, the aura of danger and hipness which surrounds Raw Howls like a dark halo gives the records its unique charm.

Any record works not because of its parts but rather its execution. Raw Howls has the ability to come off heavy heanded or overeager. Alucarda avoids this fate by constructing an experience that is both full of atmosphere as well as interesting moments. The psychedelic jamming on the tail end of “Coven Howls” brings images of dancing demons into full technicolor. The heavy pounding and wailing on “Witches Dance” gives a variety of doom which feels more visceral and raw. Raw Howls is vivid in its execution which makes a record full of costumes an entirety original experience.