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Horror rock's an easy game to lose. Disqualifications include: reminding me too much of Danzig. Reminding me too much of The Misfits. Reminding me too much of John Carpenter's soundtracks (in ten years we will talk about synthwave the way we talk about nu metal). Reminding me too much of Rob Zombie and, paradoxically, reminding me too little  of White Zombie. Players who've won include Take Over And Destroy, Bloody Hammers and... I'm racking my brain here.

Maybe we ought to include Haxxan. Though only barely on the rock side of the spectrum, the group never forgets to load their songs with stomping grooves and catchy synths, though those elements usually let a vicious black metal assault take point.

Curiously, the project's most notable member is vocalist and synth player Killjoy DeSade, who is much better known as the vocalist in one of America's very first death metal outfits, Necrophagia, who seem to be denied notoriety for the irredeemable sin of being from Ohio (this coming from an Ohioan). In fact, every member of Haxxan also plays in Necrophagia, which begs the question: why not release their debut album, Loch Ness Rising under the more well-known moniker. Maybe because it sounds nothing like Necrophagia, and that's a good thing. Liberated from the historic name, these musicians are finding hooks.

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Loch Ness Rising was released in 2016, but is receiving a wide release in other formats via Hells Headbangers on February 17. follow Haxxan on Bandcamp.

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