Say what you will about Seattle’s loud rock legacy, but there is an argument to be made that the artists that put the city on the map—from Jimi Hendrix and Queensrÿche to Soundgarden and beyond—could have originated from no other city. The relative insularity of the homegrown scene fostered an unusual cross-pollination of influences. Though, to a certain degree, there were smaller subsets within the music scene—the metal bands initially tended to be a little more insular—musicians did what they did and weren’t required to “fit in” to find acceptance. Influences from metal and hardcore to post-punk and noise rock mingled freely, spawning bands that frequently defied categorization.
The Accüsed were such a band. Formed by a quartet of teenagers—guitarist Tommy Niemeyer, bassist Chibon “Chewy” Batterman, drummer Dana Collins and vocalist John Dahlin—in the early ’80s, they existed as a straight-up hardcore band until the 1984 arrival of vocalist Blaine Cook, formerly of local heroes the Fartz (which briefly featured Guns N’ Roses’ Duff McKagan on drums). Aware of the nascent crossover scene happening elsewhere in the U.S., the Accüsed began to integrate metal influences on the Martha Splatterhead EP (Condar, 1985) and subsequent full-length The Return of… Martha Splatterhead (Subcore, 1986), developing a wholly unique perspective on the style. While bands like D.R.I., Corrosion of Conformity and others leaned toward integrating thrash metal elements, the Accüsed followed a less predictable path.
Recorded in early 1987—with new bassist Alex “Maggot Brain” Sibbald—the band’s second album, More Fun Than an Open Casket Funeral!, offered a manic and maniacal mash-up of not only punk and metal, but horror, gore and proto-death metal. This is where “Splatter Rock” originated—both figuratively and literally—as the band peppered its graphic songs with both political/social outrage and obscure horror-movie samples interspersed between the 14 tracks. This is the album that brought the Accüsed out of the Seattle scene and into the consciousness of extreme music fans around the world—from skate parks to mosh pits.
One need only look at the bands that have elected to cover Accüsed songs (including one of this album’s classics, “Bethany Home”) to understand the breadth of the foursome’s influence. Cannibal Corpse, Municipal Waste and, most recently, Lamb of God (as Burn the Priest)—among many others—have offered their own take on Niemeyer’s sick riffs, Cook’s insane, retching vocals and a relentless rhythm section. Though perhaps unfairly classified as a crossover band, the Accüsed had a profound impact on extreme music across the board, and More Fun Than an Open Casket Funeral! is by far the most impactful expression of their lunatic-fringe savagery.
Need more Accüsed? To read the entire seven-page story, featuring interviews with all members on More Fun Than an Open Casket Funeral!, purchase the print issue from our store, or digitally via our app for iPhone/iPad or Android.