I hear someone’s voice, sometimes I get a vivid mental picture of what they look like. I hear Vanessa Nocera’s vocals on the debut album by Howling, I see her clearly: two stories tall, covered in dense black fur matted with blood, teeth made for tearing and chewing, claws made for gutting, blood-red eyes like windows into Hell.
I could be wrong. She might only be one story tall. But I’m pretty confident about the rest of it, at least when there’s a full moon.
Of course, there’s more to A Beast Conceived than Ms. Nocera’s inhuman vocals. She’s joined in Howling by Tony Proffer (Beyond Hell) on guitar and bass, and by drummer Elektrokutioner (Scaremaker, Wooden Stake, Beyond Hell, Encoffination, Father Befouled, etc.). Together, this trio are about as locked in to a shared vision of their music as you could possibly ask for. Together, they kick up a mad, thrashing, garage-band racket that pulls from more diverse genres than you might guess from what I’ve written so far — and what they’ve cooked up is fuckin’ brilliant.
Vanessa Nocera’s vocals require that the prefix “death” be added to any attempt at a genre description for A Beast Conceived. The word “horror” could be added because of the lyrical themes (not to mention the album art). But despite these markers, the music isn’t down-tuned, distortion-pedaled old-school death metal, or corpse-ridden death/doom, or goregrind, or even crusty d-beat. What it is, is something quite refreshing and insanely addictive. Continue reading »