Young Goodman Brown with a leather jacket and switchblade.
That’s the best image I could come up with to describe what Kentuckian punkabilly swamp-thrashers Opossum Holler invokes. Or at least the best Hawthorne-inspired image, and since you all, I’m sure, have read the story, I trust that it will ring true.
On the off chance that you haven’t (and, um, live under a rock?), it’s a beautifully twisted romance that follows an innocent young Puritan as he is led to a midnight rendezvous where all the townspeople he once knew as good Christians now jump around the fire and praise Satan. Basically Rosemary’s Baby 130 years earlier. And since Hawthorne and Polanski are both quite good at what they do, there’s a further similarity in how that long- and well-hidden evil is buried not simply under layers of narrative, but under layers of well-executed craft. Whether it’s the ghoul-ridden forests of New England or the Neo-Gothic decadence of New York City architecture, there’s some great spectacle in these works to astonish audiences on pure artistic merit, long before they are drawn into whichever profound darkness is sure to lurk beneath it.
Of course, metal bands don’t typically have this kind of subtle development at their disposal, so Opossum Holler decides instead to create an effective first impression by flame-whipping you in the face with what I’ve already referred to as “swamp-thrash”: basically, Motorhead on (even more) speed, being held against their will and forced to play nightly at some Satanic hoedown. Their latest EP, It Comes In Threes, opens with “The White Witch of Yellow Creek”, which gallops at full fucking throttle for about a minute before dropping off into some real creepy territory, volume scaled back to 4 but the “spooky” knob fully cranked. This is when Young Goodman Brown gets to the sacrificial pyre behind all that forest, when Rosemary approaches that black cradle to look upon the most horrifying truth she can fathom. This is where the confusion and paranoia is swept away to reveal something far clearer, and far more terrifying, beneath. This is where we see how perversely Opossum Holler has hidden, beneath layers of searing metal, punk, and rockabilly, such a convincing fixation with the darkest corners of Americana, that can only come, authentically anyway, from a place like Kentucky.
The EP’s closer and title track, “It Comes in Threes”, follows a similar pattern as its opener, thrashing through a minute and a half of electric hillbilly insanity before turning everything way down for the intoxicating and sinister sequence that is also the song and album’s outro:
Just your whisper might wake the dead in here…
Pure, evil sex. Doesn’t get much better than that.