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Horror Punk Bands – What Is Horror Punk?

Photograph of the blog post author, Music Gateway Team

Music Gateway Team

30.11.2021

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Within the music world, there are many wonderous genres that you may not have even heard of. Some are so niche that you might not even think that they exist – one of these is horror punk.

The world of rock is especially expansive, with almost every band creating their own specific type of music. First came rock and roll, then metal, and punk. Punk has since branched off into its own tree of music types, so let’s dive right into what this seldom heard sub-genre is!

What Is Horror Punk?

Horror punk is a sub-genre of the wild and raucous punk genre. Fast beats, strong guitars, and raunchy lyrics. This genre focuses more on the dark and dingy world of horror, more than political or day-to-day themes. Punk rock and horror culture have always gone hand in hand. Skulls, heavy make-up, spiky leather jackets, belts made of bullets, you name it – punk has it!

Along with this, both things have an outsider nature about them, and being that punk is a violent type of music, the themes in horror appealed naturally to them. And so, the genre was born. The genre is quite fashion-based – the look is all part of it – like the horror and punk worlds themselves. The songs created involve similar themes – the darker the better. Murder, the living dead, evil, and witches, among others. This genre is not for the faint of heart!

A Brief History Of Horror Punk

So where did it start?

The beginning of horror punk can be traced back to the 1970s, with the first band being recognized as Misfits. Their new and quirky type of punk spawned a wave of bands that followed on in the same vein. They all took influences from the fashion of the 1950s – the rockabilly elements are strong in the look and the sound. B-Movies and other sci-fi and horror were also big influences of the aggressive music, which made songs a little humorous in places.

Characteristics Of Horror Punk

Horror punk, despite being such a small genre, still has some recognizable characteristics that are noticeable from band to band.

The most obvious is the violent imagery in the artwork and lyrics. The horror influence is what ushers this in – songs are often about murder, death, and include science-fiction monsters like zombies or other living dead icons.

In terms of fashion, the usual punk rules apply: ripped-off sleeves, biker jackets covered in patches, mohawks, and glowing green or pink hair. Bold make-up is worn both on and off stage, and band members are clad in black and leather.

The songs themselves can hold some recognizable sounds, too; the genre takes a lot of inspiration from rockabilly and doo-wop bands of old, mixing it with proto-gothic and punk music.

The Top Horror Punk Bands

Misfits

Misfits are the first and biggest horror punk band – pioneering the genre and even splitting off into different bands when the members went their own way, leading to a further expansion of the genre.

Considering their ‘unsavory’ lyrics and themes, the band has made it huge. There are still thousands of fans in every country, and even Misfits brand shirts in H&M sometimes!

Best song: Attitude

The Cramps

Part of the CBGB punk rock movement, The Cramps was a long-running band spanning punk, horror punk, and psychobilly genres. In fact, they themselves coined the term ‘psychobilly’. Made up of Lux Interior and Poison Ivy, the band became a huge success and was seen as one of the first true punk bands.

One of their more iconic shows was a free concert for the patients at California’s State Mental Hospital, which was recorded and released as a live album.

Best song: Human Fly

Murderdolls

Murderdolls are one of the newer horror punk bands on the market – formed in the early 2000s, they have sporadically released music over the years. Initially, their success was higher in the UK than in their native US, but soon both audiences were caught up to speed.

Their most notable members were Wednesday 13 (stage name of Joseph Michael Pool), and Joey Jordison of Slipknot fame, and so the lyrical content involving grave robbing and other dark and dastardly deeds are somewhat to be expected.

Best song: Dead In Hollywood

That Was Our Horror Punk Guide!

Hopefully, if you’re brave enough, you’ll be going off to check out these bands. They aren’t for everyone, but are definitely worth a listen to expand your Spotify plays!

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