Local Music Reviews
Media Queen = Escape the Fate + Thrice
Looking for something heavier than “Monster Mash” and more raw than “Thriller” to flesh out your Halloween playlists? Look no further than Media Queen’s 2023 album, Horror. This aptly-named record is a love letter to classic horror movies, and it’s written in the vigorous vernacular of post-hardcore screamo with heavy guitar riffs, double-bass drums and ‘80s-style synths.
Each track on Horror is inspired by a different slasher film or creature flick, and while this makes the record’s lyrics heavily referential, the allusions are never cloying. Singer/songwriter Matt Parsons manages to keep the lyrics fun and dynamic by singing—and often screaming—from the perspective of the villain or monster of whatever movie he’s referencing in any given song.
For instance, the lyrics on the album’s electrifying first track “Nightmare” sound like words from the twisted mouth of Freddy Krueger. Parsons later channels a swarm of vampires on “Blood Moon.” The most memorable example is “Things,” a pop-punky ballad inspired by John Carpenter’s The Thing. For this track, Parsons dons the persona of a multitudinous alien arriving on Earth to assimilate its people.
Much of the synthwork on Horror sounds like what you’d get if you blended one of Carpenter’s iconic soundtracks with Trent Reznor’s cutting room floor. The synth is often just an accent on the album, and it rarely takes center stage, but it’s always boiling up a witch’s brew of industrial motifs.
As for the record’s drums and guitars, they mostly follow the alternative metal script of chunky rhythms and searing phrases, though the album is littered with some refreshing moments of experimentation. For example, Parsons’ guitar licks during the chorus of “We Own the Night” are surprisingly reminiscent of Danish darkgaze band, MØL.
Between an entertaining central concept and exhilarating musicality, Horror is just as morbidly engrossing as sitting in a theater with a tub of popcorn to watch a fearsome menace stalk some victims. The album is a must-listen for any metalhead, grown-up emo kid or horror buff, and it’s the perfect way to get in the mood for all hallow’s eve. –Joe Roberts