Watching Hammer House’s horror output now is not the same as it used to be. When I first encountered them back in the 70s they were genuinely scary. I distinctly remember watching one of the TV series and being shocked shitless by a werewolf behind some curtains. Today, viewing occurs with wry smile on your face (although Quatermass and the Pit still disturbs). And this sense of the sardonic is very much apparent with Dead Skeletons’s Dead Magick – death, horror and the supernatural are encountered with tongue firmly ensconced in cheek. At least that’s what I get from this album, irrespective of the band’s intention.
Given birth as some magickally induced hybrid of Suicide, The Cramps, the Mary Chain, Neu!, The Horrors (later incarnation) and a whole cacophony of rockabilly sutured with psyche, this Icelandic trio make a marvellously evocative and smile-inducing dirge. Listening to Dead Magick in one go, you can’t help but think that there’s a ritual being performed that seeks raise something grotesque yet uncannily life-affirming (and the ominous and colossal sounds emanating from the last track ‘Dead Magick II’ seem to affirm that this has been achieved).
Or, in simpler terms, the message seems to be ‘don’t take life too bloody seriously’. Purchase.
Om Mani Peme Hung:
Listen to the whole album stream here