The Dreadful Dead of Hoop Snake Hollow was the last album we heard from LA deathrockers, Black Heroin Gallery, in 2016, but fear not. As of February the 20th, 2022, they released their third album, Feast Of Bats, on Pestilent WindFolk Records. Founding member and lead vocalist/writer/synths, Eyajo December Joseph, created this project in 2007 and was joined by drummer, Tony F Corpse, both having previously been part of the seminal deathrock group, Astrovamps. Over time, they have cemented the positions of lead guitar in 2015 with Krystal Fantom and most recently, Dracul Grotesque in 2021 on bass and live keyboardist, Skye Lee Vague.
“I Cover Her Horns” kicks off the album, with a carnival in the distance with an off kilter mayhem. There is almost a genuine pain in the vocals for what maybe the love for a demon girl with her devilish horns. A lament to an unreasonable God that won’t keep his promises. The guitar work is just gorgeous in “Gargoyle Projekt“, a pulsating medieval hell of the black death that overtakes your senses in the eagerness to away from the victims of the plague.
There is a “Taste Of Worms“, a vortex of clashing drums and guitars, that whirls like a hurricane dragging you in with a sound of a siren. The classical elements are beautifully presented, giving this track gleaming facets. The track “Dreadful Wish” reminds me a hell of a lot of early Christian Death in the tone and tempo, about spiritual death. The guitars are often purposefully and yet then seem to almost meander in a psychedelic dream.
A tale of a demon who wished to see more than he should is told in “His Beautiful Darkness“. Grated out vocals from December Joseph, give you the sadness in finding a new world and losing it all again.”As She Slumbers” is dramatic and epically huge, images of a girl gone mad, who dreams of murdering her family and eating them. The guitars drop with the drums giving the effect of chopping into soft bodies. Even though there is a barrage of guitars and vocals, with the drums, tearing their way into your eardrums, “The Boy Who Married The Spider-Face Girl” is actually a song for a girl that the world does not understand but is beloved by a boy.
Honestly, has there ever been a bad song written about the bogeyman? For the track “Hush, Hush, Hush, Here Comes The Bogeyman“, this is no exception. Written originally in 1932 this cover version of the track is haunting, violent and wicked funny all at the same time. There is a wonderful heaviness that pervades. Expressive spoken word about the adventures of the “Twig Skeleton“, which sadly is only an interlude as I wanted to hear more about this character. A shamanistic atmosphere to “Take This Rose“, the last track on the album and rather than being romantic, a litany of what can never be.
There are black metal elements to the music that cannot be overlooked. It is in the use of classical aspects which is far more commonly used in black metal and crafted beautifully into the tracks on this album. Those elements indeed, enhance rather than detract from the overall sound. A Feast Of Bats is undeniably deathrock though with those angular, shredding guitars and tortured vocals. Stories of love, loss, death, decay and murderous intent….could one ask for anything more from an album? For me it is perfect gothic fare. You might have to venture in for yourselves and see if you get hooked on this release from Black Heroin Gallery.