Bill and Phil - Songs of Darkness and Despair [Housecore Records - 2017]Bill Moseley has been a hero of mine since the first time I watched The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 as an impressionable teenager. His character Chop Top remains my favourite member of the crazed Sawyer clan. His appearance in the movie sporting a metal plate in his head and experiencing what can only be described as some of the most wicked acid flashbacks, endeared him to myself and thousands of other young gore hounds. His recent revival under the guidance of Rob Zombie was a pleasure to see, starring in the messy but fun House of 1,000 Corpses and the eminently more impressive Devil’s Rejects seems to have brought him back into vogue.
Phil Anselmo is a man I’ve never really been a fan of. I respect the work he did with Pantera in keeping the metal scene going through some dark times, but I just don’t really dig his music. It’s a personal choice, I guess. One thing I’d like to address before we go any further is that his recent PR disaster will not inform my review in any way, as I feel it has nothing to do with music and should be left to others to disseminate.
Ok, to the music. Opening track on the EP is Dirty Eye a straight ahead classic rock track, informed by the likes of The Cult and Kyuss. The riffs are big and brash, and you wonder why Moseley hasn’t done this before. His voice sounds at times like John Garcia during his time fronting Unida.
Corpus Crispy has a much greater psychedelic flavour to it. Very different from the opener it has a far mellower vibe to it. There is some incendiary lead guitar work introduced around the song’s mid-point. Catastrophic is up next, a massive Black Sabbath-esque riff is our introduction to the song and is soon followed by some Glenn Danzig style crooned vocals. Brutally heavy with a great sense of melody, this is a killer tune.
Widder Woman is a bizarre thirty-second-long ditty, that lightens the mood a little, and opens the way for the contemplative Tonight’s the Night We Die, A song built around moody acoustic guitars, with some beautiful lead guitar work, not that dissimilar to Paul Kantner and Grace Slick circa the Sunfighter era. Final track Bad Donut comes on like Henry Rollins and Iggy Pop collaborating on a slice of prime spoken word punk rock.
Overall the EP is a blast, fusing classic punk rock n roll, desert rock vibes, crushing doomy riffs and dreamy acoustics with Moseley’s infectious sense of humour, and dare I say it, sharp lyrics. Songs of Darkness and Despair is brilliant, a really good rock n roll record with attitude, vibrancy and a sense of humour. I really look forward to hearing more from this project as it develops.Darren Charles