READY FOR DEATH is a new Chicago-based death-thrash outfit made up of current and former members of Pelican, Racetraitor, Indecision, Annihilus, Luggage, Haggathorn, and Asschapel. Heavy metal veterans delivering breakneck beats, crushing tones, and dystopian realms. Debut self-titled LP out December 9th on Translation Loss Records.
Black Cross Hotel
“What if Mick Mars and John Carpenter joined Killing Joke?”
That was the question that synth player Andrew Ragin (The Atlas Moth) and guitarist Marcus Eliopulos (Stabbing Westward) posed to each other during the darkest depths of the plague. The answer turned out to be Black Cross Hotel. “Marcus and I are brothers-in-law,” Ragin explains. “I’m married to his sister, and we’ve been friends forever. He’s filled in for me with The Atlas Moth from time to time. We’ve been talking about jamming together for damn near 20 years, but the pandemic provided the opportunity.” With a lineup completed by producer/bassist Sanford Parker (Corrections House, Minsk), vocalist Dee DeEmme (Whipped) and drummer Mike Miczek (Broken Hope, The Atlas Moth), Black Cross Hotel is a punk/industrial/metal band forged in the crucible of the finest ’80s culture. “Killing Joke is definitely our spirit animal band, but John Carpenter’s movies and music, and other classic horror movies, are where we found our inspiration,” Ragin explains. “A lot of the stuff on this first record is inspired by specific ’80s horror movies.”
Recorded primarily at Parker’s own Hypercube Studio in Chicago, Black Cross Hotel’s full-length debut is entitled Hex. As promised, it’s steeped in ’80s fright flicks and their synth-driven soundtracks. Opener “The Shape” references Halloween homicide machine Michael Myers. “Windows” is the name of Thomas G. Waites’ radio operator in John Carpenter’s The Thing. The title track was inspired by the classic 1985 Bava/Argento production Demons and “Siren” conjures the teenage mental ward from Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors. Rather than merely pay homage or recite storylines like so many horror-inspired bands of yore, DeEmme examines these films—and the notion of otherness contained within—from their own non-binary perspective. “It’s part of what makes the band’s deep connection to horror unique,” Ragin offers. Elsewhere, Black Cross Hotel take inspiration from the famous slow-motion chase scene in Halloween II (“Fugitive”) and Jamie Lee Curtis’ character in The Fog (“Hitchhiker”) while nodding to original horror-punk geniuses the Misfits with a deadly cover of “We Are 138” featuring Randy Blythe from Lamb Of God. Like many a classic horror flick, Hex is the addictive first chapter of Black Cross Hotel’s inevitable franchise. “We’ve got 10 songs already demoed for the next album,” Ragin says. “We’re going to make this a thing.”