Posts Tagged ‘splatterpunk’

THE SLEEP

As if I needed any more proof that I sorely neglect this WordPress site, how about this? My most recent novel came out in January, and here it is mid-May, and I haven’t mentioned shit about it over here. In my defence, I maintain an assortment of different pages and profiles, and more often than not, this is the one which gets left to rot and fester. In any case, best rectify that now.

January 2017 saw the release of my first novel for the year (there will be at least a couple more coming out this year, but those are still under wraps as far as providing details for them goes). This of course, as most people should already know (unless you use this site to keep update on news-in that case, you wouldn’t have a clue), was The Sleep.

TheSleepFront

This book is my spin on a creature feature of sorts, a monster tale, albeit written in my usual grindhouse splatterpunk style, though it probably is a little more accessible to mainstream horror fans than some of my previous works have been. That isn’t to say it has been toned down in any context, more of a case of the story not quite warranting some of the things that have appeared in prior books.

Here’s the synopsis

Obscure urban legends and monstrous myths abound all over the internet, and none are more obscure or bizarre than the one purported to haunt the strange, remote and oddly named town of Growling and its surrounds.
Here, the communities are plagued by freakish weather phenomena, aberrant lightning and something even worse that arrives in the midst of these irregular storms. Here, all denizens adhere stringently with the unwritten rules of what they all know as The Sleep. Here, the way of life for folk is dictated to by the BeastStorms.
When a group of friends, including an amateur horror film maker, an urban legend and supernatural enthusiast, a sceptic and a journalist, among others, stumble across the vague tale online, each have their own reasons for wanting to discover the veracity of the peculiar legend.
Now, they are on a road trip that’s taken them thousands of miles from their comfortable city existences and right into the domain of The Sleep. Where mistrusting, superstitious locals patrol the neighbourhoods in packs with ominous warnings for intruders and unwelcome passers-through. Where dissenters are run out of town to live as outcasts on the fringes of civilization. Where repercussions are severe for those who don’t take heed of warnings to abide by the rules of the land.
Where unholy storms unlike anything ever experienced before, dredge up something more than insane weather. Something monstrous.
Every so often, among all those many legends easily explainable, or proved to be nothing more than pure hoax, there’s one with more than a kernel of truth to it.

One like the BeastStorms.

The whole concept of this tale is one I’ve had in my head for quite some time, and it was all originally derived from one single image (the base image you see on the whole cover wrap-the old dwellings and the sky). Elements were added by cover artist Michael Fish Fisher to further enhance the aesthetics and fit the theme of the book, but the base image itself, prior to any of that, was enough to conjure up the story in my head before I even started writing it, at least in terms of the mythos, what happened when the Storms came and how people dealt with that. Like most of my work, I didn’t plan it or outline it in any way, shape or form; I had the initial characters, what their motivations were and as usual, I threw them into monstrous situations and let them see how-or if-they could come out of it. Unlike the majority of my other books, I did have some idea on how it was going to end, though even that took something of a turn along the way. In any case, here’s a few things folks have been saying about it.
“The Sleep is a combination of a novel and a horror movie which goes in gonzo directions and yet it all makes sense in the end. This is what novels are supposed to do. As horror, when the evil erupts in almost atomic bomb explosion with everyone in its sights, expect the worst for the worst is there spilling with blood, death, and decapitations. The monsters, both human and monsters, are monsters with little pity.”
Goforth layers his novel with violence, and gore, but there’s a compelling story here. That’s what makes The Sleep so good. It’s a dark, gritty novel that reminds us that it’s the things we can’t see that are the most terrifying. When it comes to horror no one writes like Goforth. This is a guy that takes the genre back to it’s early days of true terror, and suspense, and writes like a man possessed. This is the future of horror and each novel gets him one step closer to mainstream success.”
Jim Goforth never holds back and always packs a hell of a punch.”
If you like horror stories and can handle gore, I highly recommend this entertaining book!”
I have a lot of respect for the writing of Jim Goforth. He can take an action scene, draw you in, keep you gasping for breath, and turn the whole situation in another unexpected direction. This is what he does in The Sleep.
sleepfrontreal
If any of that sounds right up your alley, snag a copy of The Sleep and check it out. Feel free to drop a review off on Amazon and let me know your thoughts. Good, bad or ugly, all reviews are appreciated.

From the author of Plebs and Undead Fleshcrave: The Zombie Trigger.

Seven intrepid travellers. One obscure tale. One hell of a storm of nightmares.

Some urban legends are true.

http://smarturl.it/thesleep

Another Sleep promo3
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RIDERS (PLEBS 2)

It’s been a long time coming (two and a half years to be precise), but the follow up book to my debut novel, 2014’s Plebs, is just about here. And it’s not just one book, but two. Two fucking Plebs sequels? Technically one, but more on that momentarily…

Formatting is all done, full cover wraps are in the works, a handful of ARCs have been sent out to hopefully generate a review or two to coincide (or near enough) with the release of the books. I’m guessing near enough is probably going to be closer to the mark, since these monsters will be out and unleashed sooner rather than later, and unless one reads remarkably speedily like I do, ARC folks won’t be done reading.

Most people who have followed various interviews and whatnot over the last few years will know that while Plebs was my first published book, it wasn’t the first I ever wrote and more to the point, it wasn’t even originally intended to be a novel. It started off its existence as a short story idea with fundamentally the same premise as the novel ended up with, albeit finishing much sooner, with much less happening than what eventuated.

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I’ve mentioned once or twice that the more I wrote, the more I wanted to, the more involved I became with the characters. More ideas, plotlines, characters and horrendous things that could be done kept cropping up, demanding to be included, so the original Plebs morphed into what should have been a novella at most, into a six hundred page entity, or a motherfucking big bloody snowball of ultraviolence and splatterpunk fun.

Which leads me to Riders AKA Plebs 2. Why is it two books? Quite simply, because it turned out fucking enormous, to the point where it dwarfed the original book and releasing it as one opus just isn’t feasible. Even after extensive cuts, trims and so forth, the beast was still too big to realistically make it one book, so what you will soon be seeing appear are two separate books, released simultaneously. Riders (Plebs 2-Book One) and Riders (Plebs 2-Book Two). Two different covers, two separate books. However, it is all part of one big story, so I’ll stress right here and now, don’t get to the end of Book One and scream what the fuck? This is no way to end this shit! Book Two exists and will be out at the same time as Book One, so there will be no sitting around waiting a few months or what have you to find out what the hell happens.

I love the covers of both of these; they rank among some of my favourite of my books and books I’ve had stories in along the way. Both of them I had the main images picked out for, for quite some time, since both fit the tone of each book perfectly and I couldn’t be happier with how they look. The font is one of those that appeals to some and not so much to others, but in the grand scheme of things and keeping the series uniform, I wanted it to be the same as Plebs itself. Any future Plebs related books will follow the same blueprint.

Plebs 2 Riders Book 1

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These books have been completed for a little while now, at least in terms of being written and probably would have been released a little earlier than now, but various upheavals of all sorts threw up obstacles to keep that from happening. Now though, there will be no stopping them.

Fans of Plebs or anybody who has read it, may know what to expect, then again they may not. In any case, if you’re looking for some extreme ultraviolence, bloody brutality, explicit sex, an undercurrent of heavy metal and a plethora of feral freaks, lethal women, villainous characters and maybe a familiar face or two, then you’re in the wrong place. Nah, just fucking around. You’re in exactly the right spot with Riders. Folks who haven’t yet ventured into the world of the Plebs, see above. And maybe snag a copy of Plebs and read that before delving into these two.

Get ready for it.

Double the mayhem. Double the Plebs. The Riders are coming.

Plebsall3

 

JEA AWARDS 2015/WITH TOOTH AND CLAW/COLLECTION RUMINATIONS

I wrote a post about awards last year so I won’t go overboard on repeating everything I said then, I’ll just keep it succinct. Yeah, yeah I know, big ask for me, the guy who loves writing words…a lot of them.

J. Ellington Aston’s annual awards has happened for 2015 and With Tooth And Claw managed to pick one up for Collection of the Year. My bottom line in writing is that I do it because I simply love to write and my head is a constant churn of stories demanding to be written, but it is most definitely a cool thing to have other folks dig your work and enjoy the stories as much as you enjoyed writing them.

wtac award

With Tooth And Claw came out in February this year, and while it’s been a little more of a slow burner than Plebs, it has garnered several great reviews and moved well in several countries. It crops up every so often on the top 100 Sea Stories category on Amazon, which amuses me no end, since the closest to water any of the tales get is a thunderstorm in Cavedwellers.

Comprised of seven pieces (three of which are more novella length than short story-hey, I write long stories, long books…I love it) With Tooth And Claw is my first collection, and what will be the first of many. I have mentioned before that I intend to release a collection of shorts/novellas in between each novel I put out, so consequently, the majority of shorts that I’m writing at the moment, won’t be destined for specific anthologies as they have been in previous years, but will be solely for compilation in my own collections. Since the next book to be forthcoming from me is the black/death metal undead splatterpunk opus Undead Fleshcrave: The Zombie Trigger, it’s safe to say you can expect the ensuing book to be another macabre bunch of extreme horror tales. Then, of course the follow-up(s) to Plebs will follow.

For those who have read With Tooth And Claw, and enjoyed it, hated it, ambivalent about it, left reviews (cheers for that, I love reviews-good, bad and ugly) those particular stories are not all new. In fact, a couple of them are very, very old, written a long time ago and the concept for Cavedwellers is older still. For the most part though, they are newer works, not written for anything specifically, aside from taking up rental space in my twisted imagination, and needing to get spilled in gory ink splatters on the page. While any more collections to come from me will primarily be new and previously unpublished pieces, I might happen to slip in an older tale or two, and possibly some of those who have been included in prior anthologies.

wtac authors choice

I’m not overly fanatical about the idea of putting together a book of stories which have been previously published for the following reason.

If one is a fan of a particular author, it might be reasonably safe to assume that they’ve sought out the majority of works that particular author has written, or has read the various stories they’ve put out in different books. I know when I seek out a collection of a favourite author, I’m mostly interested in reading a bunch of new stories, or at least works which I’m not familiar with. To me, grabbing a collection of stories, only to find they’re all just reprints of stuff I’ve already read, is a little bit like cheating the reader. So, rest assured, any collection I put out is not going to follow that trajectory, bar perhaps one or two stories which will be derived from maybe lesser known, or not as widely read, anthologies. It’s the same ideology for me, behind writing big books. Give the readers something to really sink their teeth into and get immersed in, and give them new material. If they’re part of your fanbase, it’s a fair bet they’ve already read those stories you have in separate books, so don’t screw them by reselling the same shit they’ve already read. That’s just my own personal opinion on the concept and I’m sure plenty would see it differently, as in a ‘best of album’ or some shit, but at this stage in the game, something like that is not going to be in my plans. New books will mean new stories.

On a final note though, I have to give a massive shout-out to my brother in horror and metal, the incomparable Toneye Eyenot. This legend’s debut, The Scarlett Curse, won the Authors Choice Award for Book of the Year and it is thoroughly desevred. Nobody deserves success, acknowledgement and recognition more than this guy, and I’m extremely proud of him and everything he has achieved. He is going to be a major force.

scarlett curse

Brilliant cover artist and author Michael Fish Fisher (the man behind the entire Rejected For Content series cover art and myriad others) won Editors Choice for Book of the Year with DC’s Dead, while Kent Hill’s Straight To Video anthology picked up Editors choice for Anthology of the Year. Big congrats to all involved.

For those who haven’t yet read With Tooth And Claw, here’s the link.

http://smarturl.it/withtoothandclaw

And here is the link for The Scarlett Curse

http://www.amazon.com/Scarlett-Curse-Sacred-Blade-Profanity-ebook/dp/B00ZDPCNQ6/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1442892536&sr=1-1&keywords=toneye+eyenot

DC’s Dead

http://www.amazon.com/DCs-Dead-Michael-Fisher-ebook/dp/B00N738A68/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1442892874&sr=1-1&keywords=dc%27s+dead

Straight To Video

http://www.amazon.com/Straight-Video-Anthology-Movie-Awesomeness-ebook/dp/B00X6QZLLI/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1442892943&sr=1-1&keywords=straight+to+video

In any case, before I start to make a liar out of myself with that ‘keep it succinct’ disclaimer at the start, I’m out of here.

RICHARD LAYMON. THE KING.

Just about anybody who knows me, interacts regularly with me, follows or keeps up to date with what I’m doing, or even just has a casual interest in what I write, will be quite aware that I am a massive Richard Laymon fanatic.

After all, I’ve made mention probably forty or fifty times that he is my greatest inspiration and influence in writing, and there’s every chance I’ll say it at least forty or fifty times more. So, with that being said I’m going to talk a little here about the late, great Laymon, the influence he had on me and the impact discovering his work had, not just how I wrote, but how I viewed horror fiction in general. And potentially some random gibberish. We’ll see.

I discovered Richard Laymon’s books in the early 90s. A voracious reader of horror fiction, I was already well versed in the works of King, Koontz, Masterton, Herbert, McCammon, Barker, Simmons, Hutson, Strieber, Miller, Straub as well as the likes of John Saul, John Farris, Michael Slade, Gary Brandner and multitudes of others, whether they had a number of books or were just one hit wonders, at that stage and I read anything and everything by all the above. I came across these authors and others by either being intrigued by book covers or synopsis’s, or through other books.

For those who are unfortunate enough to never experience it, with this day and age being ruled by Kindles and ebook formats, back in the day many publishers and imprints used to include blurbs and teasers of other horror books by either the same author or different ones (,some still do and a lot don’t), and I would go through this and make lists of prospective horror authors to check out. For Kindle enthusiasts, or just for something to use as a comparison to the technology of an ebook replacing a paperback, think of it as akin to the Amazon ‘Customers also bought items by these authors‘ feature on an authors Amazon profile.

In any case, one of these blurbs was a book by Richard Laymon (I’m pretty sure the synopsis I first read there was for The Woods Are Dark), so that name went on my list with a host of others to investigate next time I was near a book store or library. The first Laymon book I ever came across was a 1991 Headline first edition paperback of Darkness, Tell Us. I still have the very same copy I first picked up and read; along with a copy of Clive Barker’s ‘Cabal’ and a poetry book with two of my favourite poems (and others)-Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’ and T.S Eliot’s ‘The Hollow Men’-it is one of the few books that I’ve managed to hang onto the same copy I originally read. Check it out below.

Snapshot_20150919

I’d picked up a few other (non-Laymon) books along with this, but the cover art and the synopsis had me intrigued, so ‘Darkness, Tell Us’ was the first one I delved into. From that point on, I was hooked. I had to find and read all the other books he’d written. At this point, there was around fifteen or so other titles, which meant I had plenty to choose from and it was also at a stage where he was writing and releasing new books, so there was still loads of Laymon to be found in brick and mortar book stores, even department store book sections, as well as abundant older titles in second-hand book shops. I scoured and ransacked anywhere they were likely to be available to snap up anything Laymon I could find. Blood Games was the second one I read, and along with Darkness, Tell Us, still remains a sentimental favourite. I’ve heard a few folk say that neither of these are among his better, or stronger, books, but that’s a matter of opinion and everybody has differing ones. Personally, I love them both in different ways and initially, the next few Laymon’s I read, didn’t quite resonate the same with me. These were Beware, Night Show and All Hallow’s Eve. In retrospect, I suppose I was probably judging them against the earlier couple I’d read rather than on their own merits, so consequently, when I picked all of these up again and re-read them many years later, I enjoyed them much more the second time around,

It was in 2001 that Laymon sadly passed away, so between then and when I first discovered his work, there were ten glorious years of not just tracking down and collecting all the books he’d already written, but that excitement of waiting for a new release to come out, or knowing that one was coming, about to hit the bookshelves. Alarums, the ferocity of Endless Night (perhaps his most brutal work, along with Beware), the unique perspective of Savage, In the Dark, Body Rides, as soon as they all came out, I was getting my paws on them. For the most part it was a matter of between one or two Laymon novels released a year in that time-frame. Down in Australia, we had the UK Headline editions released, which to this day are still my favourite ones. These days, I will grab any Laymon I come across, whatever publisher it might be through, or whatever the cover art may be, but primarily I am an avid collector of the Headline editions, as I was back in the beginning.

To me, the cover art done by Steve Crisp and Mark Taylor, who between them, had a fairly even split of covers for these Headline editions, was almost as fascinating as the stories themselves, and were a big part of the attraction in collecting them all, and I spent plenty of time just perusing the artwork and examining each one. The one outsider of the bunch was the cover for what happened to be one of my all time favourite Laymon books, that of Funland. This Headline cover was done not by Crisp or Taylor, but by Dave Eastbury, It’s an iconic cover as it is, though there was an unpublished one for Funland which was done by Taylor. Check it out below, as well as the Eastbury one and see which you have a preference for.

This is Taylor’s

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And of course, the one most of us (at least in Australia or the UK) know best

funland

As I mentioned I was fanatical about collecting the Headline ones and hanging out waiting for the newest release, both for the story itself as well as checking out the latest cover art, and once upon a time my collection was entirely comprised of Headline editions, bar an obscure cover for Beware which I’ve never seen anywhere else around. I can’t even recall what publisher that was through, it wasn’t a Headline job; it was one I picked up in a cluttered little second-hand book store in Coffs Harbour. Unfortunately, I lost a vast majority of my collection (aside from several, including that prized Darkness, Tell Us) and have had to rebuild it all again. That’s a story for another time, but while my collection still remains largely Headline editions, there are a handful of titles from other presses in there too. Like I said, I grab any Laymon I encounter, in book stores of any variety that might have one sitting around, so Headline snobbery is not rife here. Any Laymon is a good Laymon, and that goes for all the stories themselves, regardless of whether it is one his books where he was on his A-game, or one of those less favoured by Laymonites.

There have been some interesting covers conjured up for the various other presses, along the American releases, but for me, nothing compared to those classic Headline covers. I’d be hard pressed trying to pick out any particular favourite, I dug them all, but here’s a handful of selections.

one rainy night

dark mountain

the-woods-are-dark

bloodgam

Essentially, I could post the lot of them. Endless Night, Quake, Island, they were all equally captivating to me, but anyway, moving on.

I’d already been writing for many years, before I even discovered Laymon, since I started conjuring up stories not too long after I learned to read and along with a handful of horror stories, I’d also written a novel. This entity, revolving around a high school being captured in the thrall of a bizarre blizzard and having the entire school population trapped inside for the storm’s duration, which led to the emergence of malevolent spirits, creatures and all kinds of things, was principally inspired by those authors I was deeply into at the time. Consequently, it was pretty derivative of all of them, a reasonable story I suppose, but not something that I will ever seek to get published in any shape or form.

Reading Laymon for the first time, not only blew my mind, but it completely tipped the concept of horror up on it’s head for me. It also helped to alter the way I wrote myself, it assisted in honing my writing and it showed me that trying to emulate the way others wrote (as I’d largely done with the ill-fated Spiritstorm) wasn’t a plan. So from that point on, I wrote the way I wanted, the types of stories that I personally love to read, without seeking to follow any preconceived notions or strict formulas, or ideas about what, or how, I should be writing. The second novel I ever completed, and a book I still one day have plans to get published, ‘In The Darkest Hour’, turned out to be a far better representation of the way I love to write, as opposed to trying to cobble together stylistic approaches others have made their own.

Laymon isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, that’s for damn sure and as is inevitable, his work has had its detractors, but the bottom line for me is that he was a master storyteller. As opposed to latter day shock merchants who might hurl blood, gore, violence and sexual content at the pages just in some garish, tawdry fashion to elicit shock or repulsion, completely sacrificing any semblance of a story-line, Laymon was a storyteller. He had story-lines, and characters, and while, shit you might have hated some of those more repugnant examples of characters in those books, you certainly felt something for them. He possessed the ability to make you care, one way or another, about certain characters and their fates, and while he didn’t shy away from sex and bloody violence that launched off the pages in lurid technicolour, those things weren’t just in there for the sake of shock value; these elements were aspects befitting of the stories and the pysches of the characters themselves.

His writing was pared down and lean, and for the most part, the pacing was snappy and quick. Stories weren’t an endless slog of brainless gore, or a constant parade of violence without meaning; they successfully married brutality with humour, poignancy with fear, and all in all, the aspects came together in a way to create a solid story. Laymon had his favourite recurring themes crop up throughout many of his books, but one thing was guaranteed; each book was going to be different. Bar the Beast House series, which of course all revolves around the same themes, no Laymon book is a cut and paste job with rehashed characters running through the same trials and tribulations experienced in another.

Ultimately, Laymon was a splatterpunk master and remains the number one, in my book. He may never have scaled the lofty peaks like Stephen King himself and others, but nobody else’s work has inspired me more, and if not for his tragic, untimely passing, perhaps he might have reached those levels, or even surpassed them, maybe still churning out books and still having the likes of me getting amped with excitement for that new opus to drop.

In his homeland of the States, he wasn’t as big as he probably should have been until after his passing, for an assortment of reasons (the original editing botch job on The Woods Are Dark springs to mind), but he was revered in the UK and downunder, and still is.

There have been many emulators, and indeed there are loads of excellent writers out there who could be heir to Laymon’s crown, but for now he remains the king.

This was a blog of random musings comparing genres of horror fiction and the like to the variety of genres in heavy metal music (two of my biggest passions), which was originally posted on J. Ellington Ashtons inaugural Virtual Readers Convention, JEAPalooza. I meant to title it as something a little more inspired than Horror and Metal, but hell, that name pretty much sums it up so I’m sticking with it.

HORROR AND METAL

Since I so often make reference to this, either in interviews or general conversation, or just about anywhere whenever the two subjects intersect, I figured I would write something which is a little more of a detailed exploration of the statement.

I am a massive aficionado of both horror and heavy metal, but this doesn’t essentially apply just to my writing, more of a study of how two often misunderstood (or maligned, take your pick) genres in their various fields can be entwined. Personally I often write to a soundtrack of different varieties of metal music; I am often inspired by it both lyrically and musically, and it often works to set out a scene or aid in pacing, or to trigger the right emotion and amplify an assortment of aspects in a certain story. I frequently infiltrate my work with references of a metal nature and often make mention that what I write is a melange of grindhouse splatterpunk and old school classic horror all driven by heavy metal, but that in itself is only skimming the surface in what I mean by the fiction genre and the music genre being so closely aligned, they may as well be brothers from another mother.

Firstly, horror is a massive multifaceted beast. There are so many different styles, types, offshoots and combinations of material which comes under the giant umbrella that is horror, that it is more than a mere genre, it is an enormous extended family breeding a multitude of horrific little subgenre offspring. The question regarding what horror is to different people, comes up so prevalently, and depending on a person’s perspective, personal choice, beliefs or notions, one could ask it of ten random individuals on the street and still walk away with ten entirely different answers.

So too with heavy metal. While it might be a little easier to try and pigeonhole than horror itself, in that most laypersons might define metal music as loud and raucous with lots of electric guitars and drums, the musical genre is much more than that, with the consideration that just like horror fiction, it is a huge family of subgenres, some of which are so far removed in sound that it is almost inconceivable to acknowledge that they all belong to the one genre. Both horror and metal are also constantly being further broken down into subgenres of subgenres, often to the point where it becomes ludicrous, though from an author’s point of view where you might be writing in some far out deviated branch of horror that has essentially spawned its own name, well you might be the only exponent of it. That should make your Amazon ranking look impressive when you’re sitting at number one constantly with your Cryptozombivamptrollpunk or what have you.

Anyway, let’s break it down a little. You can’t mention horror without thinking classic horror. The old chestnuts, the timeless pieces, old school horror done right; dark, scary, not necessarily needing to be overly violent or graphic to remain frightening, but horrific nonetheless. (After all, what is horror if not horrific? Without an element of the horrific or horrendous to it, then it isn’t really horror after all).

So what then is the heavy metal counterpart to that most dignified and enduring style of horror fiction? Naturally, classic metal itself, the original heavy metal. Where the genre finds its roots. If classic horror was a band it would be Black Sabbath. Feel free to argue and say Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, any other name from this era might slip in more easily, but in terms of imagery and profound impact on everything that followed suit, none are more appropriate than Sabbath. Horror and metal going hand in hand, see where I’m going with this?

We can then move on through the evolution of metal music itself to the NWOBHM (New Wave of British Heavy Metal) which can be equated to the crop of supreme horror writers of English descent. I’m talking James Herbert, Ramsey Campbell, Clive Barker, Mark Morris and so forth, and while granted, they are all very different in their styles, for the purposes of these ruminations they are aligned with the Iron Maidens and Judas Priests. Prolific, traditional, high quality and widely revered.

How about hair and glam metal? Lots of party tunes, drugs, sex, rock and roll and life lived to excess? Goes hand in hand with the eighties heyday of slasher and pulp horror. A whole lot of cautionary tales to be discovered in all of that. The eighties exploded with a massive proliferation of pulp horror fiction paperbacks and that decade was rife with glammed up schlocky bands with big hair and even bigger voices as well. Coincidence? Well, yeah, but you get the picture.

Then there is thrash metal. While there is plenty of fun, frivolity and partying in some of these exponents, there were also lyrical explorations of a political nature, concentration and focuses on natural disasters, impending doom, end of days scenarios and social concerns. Nature and environmental horror, either brought on by humanity or natural forces, step up. Thrash metal has your bases covered.

From uptempo, speedy and aggressive, much like some horrific hellstorm of epic proportions or plague of mutant creatures, which thrash metal might be synonymous with, we can shift to something completely different. The slow trudging crawl of doom metal. Sounds akin to the likes of Poe and Lovecraft. Claustrophobic, dark, despairing and dragging one towards something ominous and inevitable. Technically, Lovecraft could slot in just about anywhere in terms of metal comparisons, since bands and acts from all continuums of the genres have been widely influenced by his work (Metallica, Electric Wizard, Mercyful Fate, Innsmouth, Morbid Angel, I could go on for a while here), but in likening his writing style to anything, there is nothing better suited than the bleak heaviness of doom metal.

Gothic metal? Gothic horror. That was too easy. Tales of the supernatural and paranormal, romantic overtures, magic elements, dark and brooding, yet epic subject matter told on a grand scale slide perfectly in right here, whether it be fiction or music. Of course, the entire notion of vampires and other legendary creatures of horror lore fit within the Gothic scheme of things, and they too segue between horror and metal with ease. Poe and Lovecraft belong here too of course, but then again, they are genre jumpers the pair of them, able to straddle just about the entire spectrum of metal and horror. Play any single of album from the back catalogue of Cradle of Filth and there are some grand Gothic horror stories right there in the narrative of any particular song. That particular band might have roots in another genre, but for me they pen some great Gothic horror with their interpretation of metal.

There are no rules which state that horror has to stick to being straightforward horror either and as a result, often it doesn’t. With the ever expanding break down of genres and splicing of genres, not just within the spectrum of horror, but spreading outside of it to other styles, we consequently end up with horror being married to other things in increasingly twisted unions. While this is certainly the case in metal music as well, this eerie blending of things which shouldn’t breed so well together, yet do, I’ll just focus on one aspect of it. For example horror wed with sci-fi. Enter industrial metal.

Here is the meld of horror (metal) with the sci-fi (industrial). Heavy chugging riffs, pounding rhythm sections twisted into amalgamations with electronica and cold clinical synthesised sounds, programming and unnerving sounds to replicate futuristic wastelands or space age technology. Harsh climates and horrific situations set in times far beyond the present. Visions of the future when shit just might go completely pear shaped. Looking for a suitable playlist to soundtrack your bleak epic horror riddled with hi-tech facets where moments of brutal bloodshed or mind numbing fear are surrounded by alien beings and universes not yet explored? Ministry, Aborym, Deathstars, Dodheimsgard, Godflesh; they might just be the kinds of bands you’d be looking for to accentuate things.

There are many many more facets and subgenres of both horror and metal, but rather than go through the whole lot of them and turn this into a fifty page thesis, I will wrap it up with a comparison of what is both my favourite types of horror to write and my principal metal passions. It will probably come as no big surprise to discover that just as all the rest of the genres have their uncanny parallels, what I love to write and read in horror is mirrored in the music I love best.

At the beginning of this concoction of ramblings, I made mention of the fact that I primarily write splatterpunk. Extreme horror. Grindhouse. This is visceral, violent, occasionally confrontational material, not exactly for the faint of heart. I’m inspired by the legendary Richard Laymon, I love Ed Lee, Bryan Smith, Brian Keene, Shaun Hutson, Bentley Little. Jack Ketchum. There’s unrelenting brutality in their work, harrowing violence, sexual content, perversity and hordes of things to throw a shock into the system, but not at the expense of a good storyline and not without some impact and often, a profound message to be conveyed.

With that said, the heavy metal counterparts for such sanguinary literary excursions should probably be pretty self-explanatory, but for the benefit of those who don’t follow heavy metal with as fervent a passion as me, I’ll go ahead and delve into it.

Extreme horror finds its musical equivalent in extreme metal, and there are no more extreme genres than death metal and black metal. It almost goes without saying that the former with unremitting bludgeoning instrumentation and often subterranean vocal stylings issuing grotesque lyrical content which runs the gamut through ultra-violent dismemberments, mutilations, murders, cannibalism, perverse sexuality, undead fiends, bestial creations and serial killers to all kinds of other cheerful fare, and the latter with occasionally satanic imagery and references, equally violent and sexual subject matter, rituals, dark magic and occult themes, misanthropy and other hate fuelled work driven by cold slices of tremolo riffing, blastbeat drums and abrasive vocals are just about the perfect musical complement for that splatterpunk branch of the horror tree. Again, investigate some of the lyrical content beyond any shock value, depravity or musical horror and there are cautionary tales and messages to be relayed.

Admittedly, I could probably write an entire post revolving solely around all the comparisons between extreme metal and horror, and justifying the statement that metal and horror go hand in hand through that alone, but in the interests in keeping all the likenings relatively uniform in length I will leave it at that for now, and perhaps revisit it at a later day in greater depth.

I know I missed out on plenty; literary horror, monster/creature horror, hauntings and paranormal, YA horror, body horror and many many more, but rest assured, they each have a metal genre complement. Maybe some time down the track, I will touch upon all of those and more as well. For now, I’ll conclude this and let you mull over my semi-coherent ramblings. Feel free to agree or disagree, or even dissect your choice of music relative to what you write.

I’m off to write some splatterpunk to a soundtrack of Mayhem.

-Jim Goforth

I write because I love to write. I have so many stories in my head to write, stories I’m in the middle of writing and ideas which constantly occur to me. I write the type of things that I myself love to read. Consequently, I write horror, the type which occasionally gets called such things as grindhouse horror, or splatterpunk, even old school horror and tags along those lines. It is what I love to do, and what I’ve always wanted to do. From a very young age, it was a goal of mine to become a horror writer, and a goal I have successfully achieved, but of course, I’m only just starting. Ultimately, I will be writing full time and making a career of it, but essentially having only been in the game for a year (in terms of published output), means I’m not quite at that point yet.

My debut novel Plebs came out in January of this year and has been very successfully received, garnered a host of excellent reviews and sold steadily over a variety of different countries, which has been absolutely awesome, thrilling in fact. Since then I’ve appeared in Axes of Evil 1 with my story Sinister Cavan, Terror Train with Training the Unfortunate, Rejected For Content: Splattergore with There Goes the Neighbourhood and Autumn Burning: Dreadtime Stories For the Wicked Soul with Creepy Green Light, as well as being part of the six author collaborative novel Feral Hearts. I have a collection of shorts/novellas With Tooth and Claw in final edits, due out some time shortly after, as well as another novel Undead Fleshcrave: The Zombie Trigger in with the publishers. My brand of sanguinary ink splatterings will also be surfacing in the likes of Floppy Shoes Apocalypse, Axes of Evil 2, Rejected For Evil 2, Teeming Terrors and Ghosts to name a few of the other projects shortly to emerge, and another multi-author collab has also been largely completed, following some rejigging of the various components.

As you can see, I like to stay busy, I aim to be prolific, and reiterating my opening line, I just love to write.

So while writers love to see reviews of their various works, it is always completely awesome, humbling and a wonderful honour when things like what happened yesterday occur.

My publisher J. Ellington Ashton have a series of awards which are presented each year, and this year, I ended up with an award which looks something like this

WOTY

To take this out in a field of absolutely brilliant authors, loaded with talent, imagination and supreme writing skills is an honour indeed and it was definitely a tight contest, runner up award went to Mark Woods who is the author of the smash hit novella Time of Tides. With a multitude of other great writers also in the mix, indicates it is no mean feat.

Further to this were the following awards presented:

RFC Award

Feral Hearts Award

I’m proud to say I was involved in both of these books as well, as is Mark and several of the other authors in the running for awards, and again, it was an honour to have been part of them. Rejected For Content is a prime example how simple ideas and discussion can blossom from mere seeds of notions and suggestions tossed out there to ponder over, into a fully fledged creation, laden with stories both disturbing and thought-provoking at the same time. Feral Hearts is a unique creature, a project both incredibly fun and challenging to undertake, and a seamless blend of multiple authors different styles.

Plebs is certainly the book which carried me to this, but naturally I didn’t sit back after completing that, I love to stay busy writing, always have and always will, hence the relatively prolific output. I’m currently 80k words into the follow-up to Plebs, and loving writing it just as much as I’ve enjoyed writing everything else which spills out of me in the late hours of the night.

So, in closing, cheers to all of those folk involved with the awards, the various books, projects, upcoming things and everybody concerned with J. Ellington Ashton press, staff and authors alike.

And, you should probably buy all the JEA books.

Links for the award related books below

http://smarturl.it/Plebs

http://smarturl.it/RejectedForContent

http://smarturl.it/FeralHearts