Thursday, 24 July 2014

Exploring the Bizarre World of Gore-Hop


I have never owned an over-sized hoodie covered in cannabis leaf designs, and as such; I have never been a fan of any of the many hip-hop or "EDM" fads that have come and gone seamlessly over the past decade or more. I was only just recently introduced to a genre of electronic known as "Witch House", where the more ambient and experimental of electronic soundscapes are merged with occult themes, imagery and performance. I threw my eyes over a Wiki page for Witch House and it provided me with enough entry-level knowledge of the music so that I might feel confident were I to find myself shitting from my own mouth amid a gaggle of hipsters in the packed smoking area of a nightclub I probably shouldn't be allowed in. Sorted, Witch House, I got you. Except then I found the "House" drop box at the bottom of the page, and any hope I had of impressing girls in large beanie hats with my knowledge of ridiculously beep-specific electronic garbage fizzled away like Sunday morning Sopladeine in a glass of tap water. 

There are just too many sub-wub-wub-dub-genres out there, I can't keep up. Even Vice/Noisey/Pitchfork can't keep me in the endless loop. The only way I could ever wish to gain entry into the golden warehouse of the electronic elite would be by spending the rest of my life shuffling between London's guerilla nightclubs, trendy hairdressers, and all the while dealing ket to school children.

It's a good thing I don't particularly give too much of a fuck what my age group are listening to. I do, however, like to explore all the wackiest and most gimmicky fads that EDM and, to a lesser degree, Hip-Hop have to offer in this, the age of the Internet. An age where in order to be heard, you must stand out, and in order to stand out, you must be prepared to plunge into a whirlpool of teeth-grinding madness. Or at least look as though you have. 

Enter Gore-Hop, the inevitable offspring of murder rap, backyard wrestling and the needlessly macho poodle men that tried to hijack brutal death metal back when it was 'cool'. But it's far too easy to slip Gore-Hop into the recycle folder and it's even easier to point and laugh at some of the genre's more flamboyant and shamelessly white artists, and that's the thing about TMINI, we don't do things the easy way. In fact, on paper, Gore-Hop is what we're all about here, it employs all the same imagery as Death Metal, so lets open up our minds so that we may open up our intestines. 

Butchers Haerm - Everlasting Anal Fist Fuck

From a glance, it's fair to say that Gore-Hop owes much of itself to early 90's 'Horrorcore' or Murder Rap artists like Gravediggaz and The Insane Clown Posse, maybe even some of the more established acts of the time like NWA, artists that didn't shy away from brutal lyrics about gunning down their fellow man or raping anything with a pulse (or without, all down to preference). However, while their cues definitely come from the early lyricism and theatrics of the Murder Rappers of the 90's, some of these Gore-Hop artists take it to a whole new, stomach-churning, finger-licking level.

At the very centre of Gore-Hop, again, from a glance, is the seminal outfit Butchers Harem, an Australian group whose members consist of a number of artists, such as Cumblood, Anal Executioner, Mc Bushpig, and McSlurry. While those Murder Rap artists that came before them were somewhat more timid with regards to the ol' gut-slicing, the members of Butchers Harem, mixing rap with the spirit of Goregrind, are far more liberal with their feces and blood spatter. Originally formed under the name Suicidal Rap Orgy in 2001 and led by Mc Bushpig, Butchers Harem are known for plunging head-first into themes made famous by the Goregrind bands that came before them, with songs about fist-fucking, snuff porn, anal rape, and all set to the traditional Hip-Hop studio beats that the local "get rich or die trying" kid is programming on FL Studio. However, Butchers Harem don't seem so intent on the getting rich part as the dying part. Or rather the killing part.

Chuckklez - Keep The Head And Eat The Rest

It's impossible to talk about Gore-Hop without placing it side by side with its originators and innovators, those pesky Juggalos. There's no doubt in my mind that today's Gore-Hop artists are the product of The Insane Clown Posse and their devout following of face-painted Juggalos and Juggalettes. For some reason, the Jaggalo doesn't have a good name for himself, indeed, he is shunned by many and hated by more. Maybe it's the face-paint, maybe it's the incessant "Whoop! Whoop!"-ing, or maybe it's because the American media have picked the very worst of them from Facebook profiles and tagged them as brain dead redneck gangsters with meth-mouth. Either way, Jaggalos, and The Insane Clown Posse, have been given a hard time by the media, and as a result of this, the rest of the world as well. I've never spoken to or seen a Juggalo up close in my entire life, so I'm not going to start beating off into the same sock that everyone else on the Internet seems to be. I don't understand it, I may never understand it, but that's okay, I'm not a part of it.

The Gathering of The Jaggalos, an annual festival set up by Psychopathic Records, is currently taking place in Thornville, Ohio, and many Gore-Hop artists are taking to the stage alongside established names like Cannibal Corpse and Cypress Hill. Judging by the festival's website, the event looks completely horse shit insane, with death match wrestling and an eclectic line-up of Hip-Hop and Metal prancing hand in hand through a field of clown-faced cartoon characters full to the neck with psychedelic drugs and cheap booze. I'd be a liar if I said it didn't look like class A craic, so I won't.

Owning the GOTJ Pendulum stage are notable Gore-Hoppers like Insane Poetry, Scum, Hex Rated and Dieabolik The Monster. Whether this is their first time on the GOTJ line-up, I'm none the wiser, but if there was ever a venue for this fledgling off-shoot of Hip-Hop and Goregrind, it's the GOTJ, and god speed to them, I say.

As previously stated, it's the easiest thing in the world to poke fun at these guys, just as it's the easiest thing in the world to poke fun at any of my favourite Death Metal bands. We're living in a world where theatrics, over-the-top lyrics, and a general sense of danger have been shunned once again by the music industry in favour of neat haircuts, acoustic guitars and the ever flavourless 'cool' factor, whatever that may be at whatever time. 

Gore-Hop isn't for everyone, it isn't even for me, but it's good to know that there are still artists out there who are as colourful and demented as the likes of Butchers Harem and Hex Rated. It may come in a different package than most of us are used to, but it's oddball weird and it's unapologetic in its tastelessness, and that's good enough for me. 

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