After the initial self-reproach for having never heard of Kansas death metal cryptids, Troglodyte, it was kinda OK that their 1990 Florida sound had kept itself a mystery, scrawled somewhere on a Post-It on whoever is covering Fox Mulder’s desk these days. Like, the only people who know about this sort of shit are the types to hack police radios and spend six evenings out of seven baiting dumpsters in the hope of photographing Bigfoot fixing himself a baloney sandwich in the half-light. Troglodyte, for all intents and purposes, are a single-issue interest group: a death metal band who’ve had the testicular swingers to say, “Fuck Egypt, and fuck Lovecraft… We’re rolling with the sasquatch.” And more power to their elbow. Nobody else sings about Bigfoot, and in this day and age you’ve gotta have a shtick.
So when Decibel’s own Sauron’s Eye, cryptozoological searchlight and managing editor, Andrew Bonazelli, sent over a heads-up that Troglodyte allegedly sound like Carcass/Origin/Obituary it well and truly rained-off the afternoon’s middle-distance staring competition—especially when it was noted that the cover was “fucking wonderful”.
It was simple trigger-word arithmetic, and was at least worth a look to see how Welcome to Boggy Creek with its Ape-Man Tearing Regular Joe Apart illustration was going to scan as a promotional vehicle for summer log cabin rentals in rural Missouri. Seeing as they’re streaming the whole album on their website it, crucially, took little effort to check out if the music could compete with the cover, too. In fact, unless you work with heavy machinery you can do it right now, right here.
It’s a shame that Troglodyte are coming out of Kansas; they’ll probably always be in the shadow of Origin, who for the connoisseur represent a passable impersonation of the genre’s frontier of awesome. Littered with b-movie samples and having the good sense to make the album’s centrepiece/“Bohemian Rhapsody”-track to be a paean to the Hendersons’ travails with the skunk ape, yeti dude, …Boggy Creek is great fun for low budget Cannibal Corpse schlock-mosh without taking shit way too seriously. Slipknot fans, who just can’t bear to see a human face singing back to them (and who can blame them given some of the Hallowe’en cake sour-faces that hide under the Iowa Nine’s masks) can maybe man-up and listen to something that doesn’t have a middle-eight penned for-MTV-dipshits, ‘cos yeah, these dudes were masks too!
And moreover, Welcome to Boggy Creek really does rekindle metal’s affinity with the monster. There can be few more suitable artistic bedfellows than b-movie horror and sloppy joe, viscera-first/brain-idle metal. Maybe it’s that lack of effort to the THC-baked cerebral cortex; a grunt and slam death joint and, say, like the 1988 remake of The Blob fill that somnambulant pre-sleep zombie state like nothing else. But from Anthrax’s underrated doozy “Medusa” to the lion’s share of Mastodon’s catalogue, Benton’s in-the-flesh sighting of Florida’s own Skunk Ape, metal is nothing if not obsessed with monsters. Fuck it, maybe if we can encourage the likes of Ghoul and Impetigo to get googling cryptids and get wholly conceptual we could have a modern classic in the making.
Failing that, just somebody somewhere, someone worthy, please pen a jam about a giant spider kingdom, a rabies-having dolphin child, a half-squid/half-horse Transylvanian consumer of livestock… Or at least just send the memo out to artists that other than necro noir illustration, this is how we’d like our NWOSDM album covers to look. Thanks.
Look, it’s the 4th July, unless you work in an emergency room, Dominos or the 7-Eleven, you have the day off, and by all rights should be hungover/stoned/largely incapacitated: go get some brews, smokes or whatever and watch something under-produced and awful (great).
The Blob (1988)
The Legend of Blood Mountain (1965)