October 31: Bury the Hatchet

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October 31: Bury the Hatchet
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October 31: Bury the Hatchet
Heavy Metal, Thrash Metal
Hell’s Headbangers
October 14th, 2014
Release length: 42:06
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October 31 never exactly went anywhere, but definitely left us with a gap between albums recently. The Arlington, Virginia based supergroup founded in 1995 by King Fowley (Deceased) and Brian “Hellstorm” Williams (former Overlord, Hellstorm’s Hell on Earth) had gone through some changes since it started, including the addition of bassist Jim Hunter (Twisted Tower Dire) in 1997, and drummer Sean Wilhide in 2012. After the 1996 Voyage to Infinity demo, the then three-piece found themselves on R.I.P. Records to unleash their debut full-length The Fire Awaits You. 1998 saw the Visions of the End EP, and the follow-up album Meet Thy Maker dropped a year later. It wasn’t until roughly six years later that their third album No Survivors dropped, which was only complimented by a compilation and two EPs, the last of which, Gone to the Devil, dropped in 2013 under Hell’s Headbangers. Now, for 2014, nine years after their last studio full-length, we finally get their fourth, which is titled Bury the Hatchet. But does it stand as an album worth the wait, or have the years found the band shaking off very little rust?

Bury the Hatchet sounds like your typical October 31 album. Horror atmospheres akin to Deceased fill out the album, but in a far more subtle manner. The appreciation for early Heavy Metal is firmly on display as well, all the while dabbling in Thrash Metal elements and some traces of Punk. “Down at Lover’s Lane”, easily the best track off the recording, has a bit of the latter of those two in the main verses, but the dark environment of the track and it’s story surpasses the common ideas of the genre, bringing in some Heavy Metal complexity before going into the richly melodic chorus that amplifies the b-grade Horror of a murderer with a hook killing teens who venture to that very location. There’s even a brief spoken word dialogue about half way through that offers a little more development to that individual, something even modern films today don’t see the need to even bother doing.

“Under My Gun” is another along these lines, moving forward fairly fast thanks to the chugging, energetic riffs and slightly harsher vocal harmonies. The chorus has some distorted clean singing that is meant to replace gang chants against the obvious Horror Punk hooks that manage to work well with the overall performance. Again, the environment is lost, but the rich music and chorus do make up for it a little, leaving a truly infectious piece in its wake you’ll have no problem coming back to. “The House Where Evil Dwells” starts off intense with some great melodic riffs, which are lost everywhere but the few tighter segments that throw back to it. For the most part we’re given a Horror Punk foundation with suiting clean singing, heavy bridges, and a solid guitar solo until it all suddenly stops to what can be described as some kind of digital static.

“Gone to the Devil” maintains that level of force on a grander scale with groovier Thrash Metal riffs akin to Annihilator‘s album All For You, but a lot heavier and far more devilish lyrically. And then there’s “Tear Ya Down”. It’s an infectious attitude driven piece that shows hints of that Thrash Metal input. There’s a good deal of complexity in the guitars that certainly will get a circle pit going at any live show. This also lacks any of that Horror atmosphere, which isn’t really a bad thing, but it doesn’t quite have that same memorable impact. In fact it sounds a bit glamorous despite the hints of analog in the mix, sort of an odd cross between Gwar and KISS if you could even imagine such a thing…

When it comes to the overall quality of Bury the Hatchet, it’s not quite as strong as the band’s previous outings, but it’s still a great release none the less. A great production and mastering is coupled with one catchy track after another beyond “Tear Ya Down”, and a decent amount of variety to keep the just over forty two minute offering fresh and engaging. But the best, as always, is the general fun and campy b-movie Horror touch throughout the album, and October 31 have definitely outdone themselves in that aspect this time around. If you never had the chance to check this underground superground out, or perhaps missed out on last year’s Gone to the Devil EP (which the title track of is presented here for all to enjoy once more), Bury the Hatchet is as good a place to start as any.


01. Tear Ya Down – 3:34
02. Bury the Hatchet – 3:36
03. Down at Lover’s Lane – 5:08
04. Under My Gun – 3:03
05. The House Where Evil Dwells – 4:59
06. Growing Old – 5:12
07. Gone to the Devil – 3:29
08. Arsenic on the Rocks – 4:36
09. Voodoo Island – 3:20
10. Angel Dusted – 5:09
Initial Pressing Score: 8/10

October 31
October 31

Digital review copy of this release provided by Hell’s Headbangers.