Frightening music: The kind of sounds that make your hairs stand on end for more reasons than you might think.

 In a time where generic music is created to appeal to people in a way that Roald Dahl books and ryvita do to a wide target market, the edge seems to have been lost with todays sounds. Yeah, you can rap about gang fights, and create a synth line over why your marriage may be failing, but the modern day world has forgotten just how scary and haunting music could be. Reopening the past halloween time capsule, which bands sent shivers down your spine, and kept you awake for night after night?

 GG Allin: If listening to hard grinding punk rock portraying the positive images and angles of misogyny, pedophilia and brutal national racism isn’t enough to send you knitting baskets, then GG Allin’s live shows would. Birth name Jesus Christ Allin, often took an irregular and disturbing amount of laxatives before going on stage, allowing his deification to be one of his trademarks. Mixing body surfing and last nights bubble and squeak is a bad decision, even at halloween.

Deftones: Californian alternative metal rocker Deftones left teachers and TA’s over in the United States quaking in the elbow patched tweed blazers after their 2001 single “Back to School”. Tripped out rap lines textured over a think blanket of nu metal drop D guitar riffs made a combination that left the threat of teenage revelation in US schools. If anything, having American grunge kids running one of the richest and most powerful nations on the planet is a terrifying thought for us all.

Salem: Minimalist threesomes who like taking ketamine and leaving their hair unbrushed don’t sound so frightening at first. However, when they manage cocaine-coat and dazzle their tunes in post-drug influence, fitted with a trancing house beat and dreary poetry, the tripping effect bounces on to the listener. The unlikely villain, that will keep your dopamine levels knotted around the corners of your ceiling.

Cradle of Filth: Perhaps a comical choice, but it’s always nice to follow holiday traditions. Lead singer of the Suffolk based extreme metal group, Dani Filth, truly believes he is of vampire origin, a topic in which he became subject to ridicule for on Nevermind The Buzzcocks. If wearing ass-less chaps and drinking fake menstrual blood isn’t your cup of tea, then steer clear of the Filth residence this halloween.

Joy Division: After a brief and glorious chapter of punk music, Joy Division were spilt on to the pages of our British music history. The soulless tenor of Ian Curtis’ vocals, steady punk rhythms of Stephen Morris and harmonic intertwines of Peter Hooks bass lines and Bernard Sumners punk guitar playing, sent early teenagers hiding behind their sofas when they debuted on Tony Wilson’s Granada Reports. The such shadow like and minor tendencies of the band ultimately led to the bands demise.

These New Puritans: Timpani bangs, immersed brass sections and chilling melodic woodwind sections, covering a post-punk basement of talent and anger. Resembling that of execution music, enough to curdle the blood and blow out the candle light. A frightening group that may worm their way into dark band hall of fame.

The Horrors: From their dance-punk and post modern rock early birth, to the illustrious and heart glooming in limbo period of Primary Colours, the Southend on Sea group have always had a glimmer of the dark arts about them. Even now with their self produced effort Skying, Faris Badwan and co still spider along the musical spectrum, dipping their toes into the forbidden and frightening. Thunderous reverb, brash throaty punk vocals and clasping bass guitar create an aphotic output.

Soft Kill: A video with singing skeletons coursing the lyrics of “a death in the family”, with a choir like electro indie rock texture. Nebulous noises and halting harmonies that creepy up the back of your neck, and fester inside your ears. A nightmarish like band, something to haunt your dreams over the rainy halloween season.

Horrid Red: Gloomy asphyxiation’s tampered into a tenor and minimal German indie band. We all know that there’s a strong bondage between Germans and things that are frightening. Lederhosen, complete organisation and efficiency, and of course, the obvious and dreaded sauerbraten, commonly known as the German pot roast. The twanging and contrastive efforts of Horrid Red and something to be admired.

Bring me the Horizon. Conventionally to a metal screamo band, death and all things associated with unheard of wins a prize for this sort of list. The Sheffield based bands early offerings sacrificed the hearing of many with the penetrating pig throated squeal of Oli Sykes. Thrashing metal riffs over that piercing voice still crumble the marrow and splinter the bones of many today.

Pulling the pieces together again. It’s a shame they’re destined to be blown apart.

From the intimacy of the honeymoon period to the heartbroken shatters and tatters, bands never seem to go the distance anymore, until the inevitable happens. Once a fate has been sealed, there is no turning back. So artists seem to dismiss this idea, however. After a messy divorce, is a reunion the right thing to do?

After millions waited, and waited, and then waited some more. After a disheartening ten year absence, the world of music has had an old spar head removed from it’s chest, and the piercing mark left behind has been clotted and plugged with what we can only imagine is money. Steps, the five piece pop and dance group from London, have revealed that they are back together, and touring again.

Where have they been all of these years? Unlike most disbandments, in the refreshing time they have been apart, they’ve managed to remain fairly anonymous and idle. Take Lee Latchford-Evans, for example. Has he been locked away in an Alaskan cabin for the past decade reading Earnest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises while he remains an unshaven and mentally questionable ghost of his former self? The short answer is, no. Earlier this year, and thats excluding the other nine years he’s been out of the spotlight, he earned himself a black belt in Kickboxing. Impressively, he’s also a fully qualified fitness instructor.

Well, you’re probably thinking that it’s easy criticising the already woven patches on the British musical quilt sat behind the monitor of a computer. And you’d be right, it is. My problem comes not the group themselves, but their reformation. Whenever a band reunites, I’m always a very skeptical soul over the matter. Subsequently, the cogs, gears and pistons that runs the musical culture of this country is run on the most atrocious and venomous fuel that powers nearly every industry in the world. Money. Alas, this is the very linen actuality that reunions of the has-beens, and even the never-has-beens, originates from. Typically, the story portrays it’s self quite dexterously in the mind. Penniless pop star of the late nighties turns to old friends, and stabs old promises in the back, all because their reoccurring dreams of dollar signs wont go away.

I’m not just talking about the unendurable line-dancing renditions of Steps, sadly. Just shy of two hundred miles north of London, in the mellifluously celebrated city of Manchester, the other big band reunion of the Autumn has taken place. Nineteen eighties indie psych-pop foursome The Stone Roses, one of the most critically acclaimed northern bands of recent time have put aside their differences, and have embarked on the ‘unfinished’ business. In the prime, their funk influence bass lines and sixties style guitar riffs, and not to mention the unequivocal genius of Ian Browns lyrics and melodically sound vocals, was something to be desired for most band. What do I think of the reunion of one of the greatest indie rock bands of modern music? I feel the same way I feel over the Steps reformation.

John Squire himself said “when it’s just getting together for a big payday and everyone their old clothes out, that just seems tragic to me, after being quizzed over the band reuniting earlier this year. A few solitary months down the line, and it’s difficult to see exactly why they’ve now reformed. Sources has noted that Ian Brown sent a text to a close personal friend saying that “we’re going to rule the world again”. That’s what I’m finding more and more tragic everyone time it crops up out of the grass in my head. Lightening never strikes twice, and the same twisted and complicated algebraic equation applies with success. If a band wants to get together for the love and adoration of what they are known for doing, then please, do what you must do. Sadly, this doesn’t seem to be the case anymore.

Maybe someone should tell Mr Brown that the world isn’t yours to rule anymore. Your time has been, and your time has gone. Bands rule, and then they fall. Just like the English monarchy has done time and time again. Amongst the excitement of the reformation of The Stone Roses, I have a distinct conjecture verging on the cynical. Very rarely does a band break up, reform, and take the world by the original storm and pounding shockwaves that they had done in their previous years before their reincarnation. In recent years, Blur managed to send tingles down thousands of MDMA riddled hippies in a field in Glastonbury, and Death From Above 1979 gave a the good people of Reading and Leeds a bass muffled orgasm headache with their reformation sets earlier this summer. But I fear these were the lunar eclipse music moments.

Maybe I am just being cynical, and we’re in for something special. The Stone Roses could cast a tour and even a new album out the same mould they were carved from in the late eighties. Or maybe I’m right, and their killer musical instinct and love for their forte has gone, like all of their money, long hair and class A narcotics. The steps reunion wont cause any fireworks or drive by shootings, but I hope to God a feather or two is ruffled by the Madchester foursome. We’ve been in dire need for a new band to fuck the system in a way many artists seem to be scared to do nowadays. Lets hope a band from the past can deliver instead.

Their bitter disbandment in nineteen nighty six left their fans in an abyss of hormonal emotion and in a bottomless pit of total inadequacy. After divorcing for an eternal fifteen years, the Mancunians have brushed the broken glass under the rug, and have made up. It remains to be seen whether The Stone Roses getting back together will be a rick worth taking. Let’s hope so, for the sake of the fans.


These New Puritans. England lies in the palm of their hands.

Booming timpani’s, woodwind crescendos and terrifyingly adverse brass sections. There’s no question that 2010’s Hidden was a triumph and acclaimed masterpiece from the Southend-on-Sea quartet, but one question still lurks in their frightening shadow. Are they the dark horse of British bands.

Brainstorming an album as melodically and methodically complex has Hidden couldn’t have been an easy job by any means. For an alternative-indie rock band to go from writing a typically dark and string based album to composing classically influence symphony style indie rock fusion songs within the space of just two solitary years, is quite something. Over the decades, influential rock bands such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and even as far up as Radiohead have been cognitively analysed, probed and unknotted to find out their attenuate brilliance and circuitous creative ability. If you read behind the bold print, and even past the fine print, you’ll see one band standing one their own very faintly on the page of British music.

One thing people don’t seem to notice about bands like These New Puritans, is just how exquisitely produced and created their work is. Any other band, no matter how darkened and nocturnal their music would seem to be, only These New Puritans seem fitting to pull off something like Hidden. In a blend of Joy Division-esque bass and manic depressive mood swings, and the saddening, yet angry, dissonance of Tchaikovsky, the end result was quite something. Melodramatic, war-raising and spiteful, Hidden is the black mark on modern day British music, but for all the right reasons. NME’s Mike Williams earlier this year exclaimed that PJ Harvey’s triumphant Let England Shake was the “war album”. Incontestably, Williams hadn’t read enough Earnest Hemingway novels to know exactly what a “war album” really sounds like. No disrespect to PJ Harvey, but she had been bested to the war-maker title a year before the release of her own remarkable album.

Radiohead played it safely by releasing two indie rock albums, Pablo Honey, The Bends and OK Computer (maybe a minor exception) before they saturated themselves out of their comfort zone, and boiled a critical creation in Kid A. Years after the release, they’re now renowned for releasing weird and minimalist dance and electro albums. Maybe the message is that making music not entirely from your comfort zone into your own makes you a better band? Not entirely so, as Jack Barnett and co have shown us. Using samples and syncopated timpani rhythms from Sir Edward Elgar and Richard Rodney Bennet on Hidden, matched the classical ambience of the band themselves, not just their music.

Unlike other post-punk indie band that trying living out of the sun and in the shade, like The Horrors, Placebo, Chapel Club and many others, These New Puritans suit having an orchestra behind them. Drenching corse bass lines and diminished harmonies in brass filled melodic clarinet textures adds to the way the band carry themselves. Anger, sweat and sore fingers and what first springs to the hippocampus when one envisions classical and romantic period composers like Bach, Beethoven and others.

As is the custom, you’d think it would be a tragedy for out nation to have acquired such a diverse and watermarked collection of young artists working together in These New Puritans, that they barely scratch at the surface in attracting the population. Blurring the visions of what is melodically possible for a post-punk band to dictate from a brass band is one of rare artistic eclipses that remind people exactly how talented, and yet concealed, certain bands and individuals can be. However, this now is not the case with These New Puritans.

In seven disjointed and long years, Leonardo Da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa, in what has been profound and worldly recognizable paintings in artistic history. In 2008, Damian Hirst made £111 Million after a two day exhibition at Sotheby’s extravaganza after twenty years in the business. Radiohead, after releasing indie rock anthems and records for five successful years, totally reinvented their sound and musical make up in creating Kid A, Amnesiac and Hail to the Thief. In just two years, These New Puritans managed to transform their sound into something so melodically distinctive and diverse from their past compositions, that they have outdone one of the most influential rock bands of recent history.

Yes, they’re a virtually unknown band to the wider population, this can’t be denied. Maybe this is the way for a reason? Leave the un-credible efforts for those who define that music as talented and worth their money and motivation. If you ask me, Hidden was created by a band who only write music in their way, and for those who appreciate it for what it is. Looking at this conclusion, the dark horses of British music do have Britain and British musical and artistic culture in the palm of their hands. They’re just choosing not to exploit it in the way others may want them to. And lets keep it that way.