As the telltale chill of fall begins to haunt the breeze and scratch at the senses, a power is reawakened. Crawling out of the dark recesses of summer, this new and powerful vision for what is to come emerges with potency and fervor. Reviled by some, embraced by others, the spookiest of seasons is officially upon us. For fans of this yearly celebration of all things creepy, it’s time to get serious. There are movie marathons to plan. Decorations to hang. Costumes to coordinate and of course, seasonal appropriate playlists to assemble. With that being said, dear listener beware. You’re in for a scare…again! Because actor/writer/composer Sean Keller is back with Revenge of the Killer Sounds of Halloween! *insert evil cackle and thunderclap here*
Following up last year’s incredibly fun and catchy album The Killer Sounds of Halloween, Keller has once again blessed our metaphoric trick-or-treat buckets with another ghoulishly good album of new and original Halloween hits. Embracing the spirit of horror novelty records from season’s past, Revenge of the Killer Sounds of Halloween unfolds like a carefully curated mixtape of holiday themed deep cuts spanning decades of time. Once again rounding up a bevy of talented fiends…er, friends to help, Keller crafts 13 deliciously varied tunes with a healthy dose of entertaining insert skits. Returning voices like Amanda Wyss (A Nightmare on Elm Street), Chelsea Stardust (Satanic Panic), Graham Skipper (Bliss, VFW) and Jesse Merlin (Beyond the Gates) unite the two albums, while new talents like Michael Varrati (The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula) and Graham Denman (Greenlight) add a new spicy genre flavor all their own.
“[…] Keller has once again blessed our metaphoric trick-or-treat buckets with another ghoulishly good album of new and original Halloween hits.”
Although every single track is injected with pumpkin spice scented passion and black cat cradling care, there are of course a few stand out highlights. One of the early, unquestionable bangers is ‘Never Be Your Bride‘ by the fictional band Memento Mori. Featuring the atmospheric and aura inducing vocals by Fayna Sanchez, the track oozes heavy black eyeliner and moody gazes. In the spirit of Siouxsie and the Banshees, ‘Never Be Your Bride‘ puts a dark wave spin on the classic Bride of Frankenstein tale. Part feminist anthem, part undead tale of woe, Sanchez personifies the Bride to perfection as Keller’s reverb-heavy synths and slithery bass lines inevitably result in heads nods and the occasional goth appropriate sway.
Next up on the haunted hit list is ‘You Won’t See Me‘ by the mythical AJ Griffon aka Sean Keller proper. From the moment the beat drops to the moment it stops, this track will have you dancing. Drenched in neon lights, hairspray and synthetic fabrics, this one goes out to fans of 80s pop and synth-wave fare. Inspired by Leigh Whannell’s Invisible Man, Keller croons with a suave arrogance, embodying a parallel dimension spin-off version of the film’s lead antagonist, Adrian Griffin. Backed by a gluttonous amount of pitch-perfect period synths, drum machines and funky guitar rhythms, Keller puts his understanding of pop song construction on full display. Perfectly structured and incredibly well written, gaslighting has never sounded so good. Seriously. Listen to this track.
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Other players in the album highlight game are ‘Renfield’s Lament‘ by the fictional Fritz Frye (Graham Denman) and ‘My Evil Eye‘ from the concocted Covenettes (Mary O’Neil). As one might presume, ‘Renfield’s Lament‘ imagines what it might be like if Renfield was really into emo-infused indie rock circa 2005 and decided to put his feelings towards Dracula into song. With its simple acoustic guitar and Denman’s hauntingly honest and beautifully quivering vocals, Renfield becomes the tragic character so many fans have speculated and dreamt of. Simple, but effective, it’s a perfect tune for singing when the holiday sads kick in and you just want to cry, but also keep your spooky street cred.
On the other end of the emotional scale resides ‘My Evil Eye.’ Summoning perfectly snotty images of dark purple lipstick and black Doc Marten boots, Mary O’Neil conjures up a sonic spell that blends Joan Jett with Nancy from The Craft. A perfect cocktail of teenage angst and the dark arts, the track is shockingly timely considering the recent announcements regarding The Craft: Legacy. Although the release date is coming up quick, there’s still time to utilize this song for the end credits. It was clearly made for it. Music supervisors should absolutely take note.
“An absolute treat from beginning to end […] Keller’s Revenge of the Killer Sounds of Halloween returns to remind us to take joy in the simple pleasures of a spooky song.”
An absolute treat from beginning to end, Revenge of the Killer Sounds of Halloween is a full-size candy bar in a bag of Bit-O-Honey’s. A delightfully spooky sonic experience for the Halloween enthusiast, it’s an unquestionably must-have addition for any proper seasonal playlist. However, it’s important to note that the album is also much more than that. In the middle of a global pandemic, in a time where friends and loved ones are separated by literal distance, Keller brought friends and family together (safely) in the name of Halloween. A shining example of collaboration, friends and fiends united in an effort to create, spread and share true holiday cheer…with us.
This album is for us. The weirdos. The genre fans. The creeps and kooks obsessed with the macabre, dark, gory and ghoulish. A shining orange ray of light against the bleak and harsh backdrop of reality, Keller’s Revenge of the Killer Sounds of Halloween returns to remind us to take joy in the simple pleasures of a spooky song. A true gift in every way, it also makes a great gift to share with your fellow fiend. Available here for the appropriate price of $6.66. Of course, you should buy a copy for yourself but perhaps you buy another to send a friend as a gift. Candy is dandy, but a thoughtful Halloween gift that lets someone know you care via their inbox? That’s some real holiday spirit right there.