1) Intro: Cremation
2) Box Five
3) Curse Of Thorn
4) House Of Dark Shadows
5) Graveyard Shock N’ Roll
8) Outro: The Garden
I’ve made no secret of my fandom and appreciation of Shadow Windhawk over the years. Whether it be back when he was a member of DieMonsterDie, his solo Twin Peaks-inspired EP Tales From The Black Lodge, or when he truly broke out with the first Shadow Windhawk And The Morticians album, Casket Spray. The very first Deadhouse Interview on the site was with Windhawk and members of the band at the time (which you can find in its entirety here), Casket Spray was one of the earliest Stereo Terror reviews here on the site and the video for Halloween ’63 was featured in our DeadTube series. So there was really no question that approaching the release of Cremation Garden it would be featured here on the site, and I have been lucky enough to get my bloody mitts on an advanced copy. And despite my best intentions not to do so, I couldn’t help but go into the album with extremely high expectations. Would it even be possible for the album to live up to the hype?
Well, I am happy to report that for the most part, Cremation Garden hits all the right spots. Right from the first notes of Intro: Cremation you get that familiar feeling of meeting with an old friend. Shadow Windhawk has always had a unique sound all his own, especially with his one of a kind vocal style, and that is what drives the new album. Windhawk pays tribute to The Phantom Of The Opera with Box Five, the first full song on the album, and it’s one hell of a way to blast the album off. With a similar feel to Midian from Casket Spray, Box Five immediately vies for the title of the strongest track. There is really nothing about this song that anyone shouldn’t like. It has an epic feel, the musicianship is all on point, and it lends itself well to Windhawk‘s vocals.
Curse Of Thorn serves almost as a pseudo-sequel to Halloween ’63 from Casket Spray, and while not as strong as that song, it still is a worthy tribute to The Shape. It also rolls nearly perfectly into House Of Dark Shadows, which is an ode to Barnabas Collins and (surprise, surprise!) Dark Shadows. As the midway point of the album, Windhawk takes the energy level down slightly beginning very softly before picking up towards the chorus. It proves that Windhawk doesn’t necessarily have to keep the same pace and is talented enough to move away from the normally blistering pace of most horrorpunk.
“Do you like sex with death?”. “Yeah, so fuck off and die!”. Using one of the best (and rather underrated) quotes from the 1985 punk rock zombie classic Return Of The Living Dead, Graveyard Shock N’ Roll picks the pace back up, and doesn’t bother even attempting to relent in the slightest. Remember when I saw Box Five seemed like the clear cut standout track? Yeah, once you hit Graveyard Shock N’ Roll that all goes out the window. This seems like a track that Windhawk was destined to write and perform. Not only is it the strongest track on Cremation Garden, but it stands up there with the aforementioned Midian and 1428 as the greatest track to come out of Shadow Windhawk‘s twisted mind and talent. It has been rather hard for me anytime I listen to the album to get to this point and then throw the track right back on and on repeat, it really is that good.
Beginning with a fitting tribute to the late legend “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, Sleep is another fast and rocking track based upon the John Carpenter directed 1987 cult favorite They Live, which of course starred the Hot Rod. There is no doubt in my mind that this one will become a staple of Shadow Windhawk And The Morticians live shows…the chorus just begs to be a perfect live sing-along! Following Sleep is the slow, melodic ballad Mae, which, while not a bad track by any means, is certainly weaker in comparison to the greatness presented in the previous few tracks on the album. The album then closes with Outro: The Garden, wrapping up what was began on the intro track. Both tracks bookend the album well, and help to make the album feel like a story has been contained within the intro and outro.
With Cremation Garden, Shadow Windhawk has proven what many of us have known for quite some time: he is an absolute force to be reckoned with when it comes to the horrorpunk genre. This is a man who eats, sleeps and breathes horror, and that love comes through on every single track of this album. I can’t urge readers enough to make sure you check out Cremation Garden when it is officially released on May 21st. I guarantee you will not regret it in the slightest.
Graveyard Shock N’ Roll