Rocks Off literally can't remember a time when we couldn't find 30footFall in the concert listings of Houston Press and before that Public News. Like the Hates, the Sinister Sirens, and deadhorse they were always a part of the background of everyday teenage life in Houston.
Now, drummer Brian Davis has begun a new project far removed from the punk stylings of his iconic group. The project is called Grave Tone Productions, and we were lucky enough to be gifted with a download of selections. Did we say, "lucky?" Sorry we meant, "There is no God! Only darkness! Help us! Ahhhhh!"
Music to be Buried By isn't really an album in any conventional sense of the word, nor is it a collection of haunted and horrific ambiance. Davis has expertly mixed a hardcore brand of progressive metal in with a plethora of spooky narration and frightening found sound to create a hybrid that dances the line between concept album and sales pitch to the horror film and amusement industries.
"To me this record is a soundtrack without a movie," said Davis. "It's what we would like to see happen with horror movies. It seems the trend is you either have a horror movie 'score' or a soundtrack which typically features heavy bands and what we're attempting to do is fuse those styles to give you both elements of horror."
Davis began tinkering with the music that would become Music to be Buried By during the downtime from his various bands. An acquaintance who was an avid horror film convention goer had heard samples of the work and encouraged Davis to begin attempting serious production on it as the typical fare offered at conventions tended to be rather original. His goal was to eschew typical atmospheric music or straight heavy guitar and drum tracks in order to instead compose something that mated the two in a disconcerting way.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the mission of the Houston Press. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Houston’s stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
And trust us; it is indeed a work to make you uneasy. There are your traditional elements in it, chord progressions that would be at home in any modern torture porn epic and the ever-present high-pitched sounds of children in places where children not ought to be, but the skill in which Davis launches into labyrinthine musical twists and shifts in style tend for these normally fear inducing sounds serve instead as anchors for a listener increasingly lost in the maze of his deranged music.
"To me, effectively creating fear with audio requires a multitude of dynamics and keeping the listener on a constant roller-coaster, never letting them get comfortable or predicting what sound is coming at them from what angle at any given moment," said Davis. "I think dynamics are the most important component. We explore that a lot on this record. We lull you to sleep with ambient soft sections only to kick your teeth in with Pantera-ish type metal movements."
Currently, Davis is set to score several horror shorts, and hopes to be working a feature film in 2012.
Fans of 30footFall have no cause to worry. The band is currently in rehearsal for their 18th Annual Christmas Party at Fitzgerald's featuring Ryan Scroggins & The Trenchtown Texans, Skeleton Dick, and The Sell-Outs. It's been a year since their last EP, Jesus, Elvis, and Richard Perry. Davis is as busy as ever, dividing his time between 30footFall, Middlefinger, and crafting his macabre sounds from household objects and the manipulated sounds of conventional instruments in order to continue his audio tribute to the horror genre.