At the forefront of your deepest fears comes the Cimmerian gloom of evil beings hailing from West Virginia. Some are aware of them; others are not. Those that have gotten close enough to embrace them have left different than the way they came. They are the embodiment of the dark shadows lurking in your house as a child, the random creaking noise you heard upstairs when you know nobody is there and the nightmares that leave you feeling suffocated while your body attempts to wake you up.
Who are they you ask? They are BLITZKID, a music group who could give Bram Stroker cold sweats.
Formed in 1997, BK -- not to be confused with Blitz Kids, the group who coincidentally went by the same name that included Boy George in London, England that frequented the club Blitz in the early '80s -- started shocking audiences around their native land of Bluefield, West Virginia. Driving around in a hearse and playing horror-themed punk music, audiences viewed their songs as Frankenstein viewed his creation. Horror punk, death rock, horror rock, or anything else you would like to call it was not something people in rural Appalachia were ready for.
Perhaps it was the genre BK represented that originally scared people away. If you take the essence of bloody cinema, B-movie shock footage, and anything grindhouse, mix it together with a melody, you will have horror punk. Holding steady on the backburner of popular music but never quite reaching a boil, horror punk began shocking listeners since The Misfits pioneered the genre in the late '70s.
Founder and vocalist/bassist, Argyle Goolsby, never set out to become a member of a Horror Punk band. As kids growing up in awe of movies like Nosferatu and The Evil Dead Trilogy, Goolsby and other founding member TB Monstrosity continued their fascination with this type of film through the lyrics of their music. This was at a time when the only other people doing anything similar were The Misfits or The Manimals from Cleveland, Ohio. BK created music about what they know and love, and that happened to be horror. It wasn't until a couple years had passed and the Internet became more prominent that they realized they were part of horror punk. They were perfectly OK with that.
As BK branched out into other areas with larger music scenes, people with darker sense of tastes began to enjoy the punch the band was serving. According to Goolsby, "Once we started touring outside our native area, after about the first two years as a band, and went to places where like-minded individuals were connecting with us, it gave us inspiration to keep going."
Clad in all black, covered in tattoos, drenched in fake blood (or is it?), white-out contacts in their eyes and singing songs like "The Bat Whispers," "Making a Monster" and "Salem's Ghost," audiences became intrigued and soon BK developed an underground following in the U.S. and all throughout Europe. The brilliance in the package can be credited to the fact that they do not just create music for shock and awe. The lyrics in their songs delve into real-world subjects projected through horror-themed metaphors. The world is filled with people that thrive off of the dark and dreary, and these are the ones that connected with BK's aphotic tunes.
However, after 15 years of touring the United States and Europe, pillaging the world one eardrum at a time, BK has decided to retire. Even The Vampyre needed time to rest. The reasons behind their decision lie in a few different factors from settling down with families, focusing on other parts of their careers and preparing for the impending zombie apocalypse.
"(Our retirement) is not that we don't believe in what we are doing anymore. It's not that BLITZKID has become a burden. I have still plenty of music that I have written and that I am currently writing. Our music is not an extinguished flame. Retirement is more of a practical decision for right now," says Goolsby.
Music will always be a part of Goolsby's life as he continues to write songs and record music. Outside of touring with BK, he is a fulltime tattoo artist at Wufu Tattoos in his hometown of Bluefield. Here, he will continue to work to spread his talents through needle as opposed to microphone.
With an impeding retirement, BK has decided to do two last tours. The first began fittingly on Friday the 13th in Cincinnati, Ohio and will go throughout the United States. The tour continues in Europe starting October 12th after which they will wipe off the blood and bury BK to rest.
After Goolsby and Monstrosity finish touring, the legend of their music will continue to live on through their dedicated fanbase and the continuous terror they bring to mothers as their children listen to them across the globe. Once BK is gone, horror punk will also continue to influence listeners and musicians behind closed doors as it has for decades. As Goolsby puts it, "[Horror punk] will never be a mainstream approach to music, but there will always be people interested in that aspect. The dark side, the melancholy and the morose is just part of being human and is also part of life in general."
Until the day they are no longer with us, lock your doors, keep a shotgun under your bed and have a priest's number on speed dial, because BLITZKID might soon be coming to a city near you.
Follow Zachary Ehren on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@zacharyehren