First Gornography, now Koktopus: Local metal acts really excel at turning two words into oneword. "I thought of the name as a joke," says Koktopus singer Fletch. "When we made up our minds that we were gonna roll with it and use it as some sort of mascot, we decided that the Koktopus needed to be a beast that was feared, like the Kraken or Godzilla. It had to be a brutal creature that created chaos and left destruction in its wake, the total opposite of a pussy." (This seems to make sense literally as well as figuratively.)
During "The Wrath of Koktopus," the group bolsters the monster's mythology: "The almighty Koktopus/embodies all your fears/legend notorious, for brutal violent death." Fletch gurgles these lines over sludgy thrash, with bassist Adam adding the occasional screech. At the midway point, both vocalists scream "Koktopus," and the song breaks into double-time, similar to the second half of Black Sabbath's own eponymous tune. Speaking of which, "Black Sabbath" begins with "what is this that stands before me?," whereas Koktopus' "Deathbed" uses the more realistic "what the fuck is happening?"
Guitarist Big Dave plays some awesome-sounding solos, but they aren't actually very complicated, for reasons elucidated during the song "Drink The Fuck Up." "I wrote all these riffs while sitting around jamming with the guys and drinking a few beers, so it's pretty standard," he says. "If I were playing something really hard, I would probably hold back on the drinking, but I've got a solo or two I play with one finger. I grew up on old-school thrash and metal, so it's what my hands wanna play anyway. It's foolproof."
Koktopus plays the Riot Room on Friday the 13th, a date of special significance to horror buff Big Dave, who caught the Friday The 13th franchise reboot last month. "I own all the Friday The 13th films," he says. "It's hard to pick a favorite, but if I were cornered, I'd have to say (1984's) The Final Chapter is my pick. Oh yeah, the new one is killer too! The good thing about the remakes is that the blood and gore can be so much better."
The Kansas City Horror Club, which champions blood and gore in all forms - regional metal as well as slasher flicks - co-promotes Friday night's show. "It's all about that growl," says KCHC president Mia Porterfield, a fan of area acts such as Troglodyte and the recently reunited Vena Amori. "It's really important to support what's happening locally, and there are a lot of bands as well as filmmakers that need and deserve it," adds vice president Curtis Smith. "The metal bands fit so well into the horror genre."
Koktopus inhabits a classic horror character, the good-timing dude who tries desperately to convince his drinking buddies that they're in grave danger. "Yeah, right," they'd say dismissively. "A leviathan from the abyss, rising to unleash horrid terror and annihilate the masses. How many beers have you had?" Heed his warning: The Koktopus is real.
Further Listening: In addition to the all-local Riot Room bill, which also features ghoulish punks The Corpses and hard-rock outfits Warlike-Earth, Malikai and The Family Band Massacre, Friday's entertainment options include the remake of 1972's profoundly disturbing The Last House on the Left, opening in area theaters. It's hard to imagine a modern theatrical release recreating the original's graphic castration-by-teeth scene or excruciating knife-carving rape, but the trailer promises head-in-microwave mischief. The Albuquerque-based band Last House on the Left isn't as punishing to endure, but it plays blackened death metal with lyrics drawn from horror films and Lord of the Flies.
Alice Cooper's electro-pop number "Man Behind The Mask," from the Friday The 13th Part VI: Jason Lives soundtrack, might not sound especially savage, but it boasts more metal credibility than Kane Hodder, the laughable emo band named for the actor who donned hockey headgear as the latter-day Jason Voorhees. Also, the video's amazing.
Finally, (hair) metal and horror met memorably in the 1988 movie Black Roses, previewed below: