(Copyright © 2023 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of Use )
Grave House (2019), 6/10
Rainbow Bridge (2019), 6/10
Rainbow Bridge 2 (2020), 5/10
Hundred Acre Wrist Hosted by DJ Sorrow (2020), 6.5/10
Rainbow Bridge 3 (2021), 7/10
Screaming Forest (2021), 5/10
Butcher House (2023), 6/10

Sematary, the demonic post-rap project of Sacramento's post-rapper Zane Steckler, aka DJ Sorrow, collaborated with Ghost Mountain (Wren Kosinski) on the singles New Rocks and Fury Road and on the mixtape Grave House (2019) of emo-trap music with overtones of witch-house that sampled black-metal bands plus Xiu Xiu and Smashing Pumpkins, a quite unorthodox combination. This humble mixtape launched the Haunted Mound collective, a subgenre in the subgenre of horrorcore rap that descends from Gravediggaz and Insane Clown Posse.

He then crafted the trilogy that started with Rainbow Bridge (2019), in which monotonous droning singing/rapping spits creepy lyrics over Chicago's drill beats. Slaughter House and Arson officiate the unlikely marriage of black metal and rap. The anthemic cadence of Reverence is complemented by the massive trap song Toolbox, another collaboration with Ghost Mountain with an autotuned verse by Reuven Ender-Arnold (aka Gods Wisdom of the Manic Pixies). Sematary displays true beat creativity in some places, notably Cemetery. Rainbow Bridge 2 (2020) continued where the first act left off and inevitably sounded emptier. Some psychedelic litanies (Forever Intro and Toothtaker) provide some variety. Decent hooks surface in Funeral, Chandelier and especially in the hyper-distorted Duster Huffer. The six-song EP Warboy (2020) sounds like leftovers. Rainbow Bridge 3 (2021), containing 16 brief songs, upped the ante with bombastic and anarchic drill and noise littered with more demented samples. It opens with the most extreme (and blasphemous) demonstration of this approach, God's Light Burns upon my Flesh (Red Crayola for the age of drill music) and it closes with Crucifixion, an even more brutal manifestation of the same sonic evil, almost digital hardcore. A song like Murder Ride is a raid into greatly damaged and decomposed forms of hip-hop. Sematary can also be emotional and intimate (Creepin thru da Woods) but at the other end of the spectrum Necromanser is a cross between gospel music, Jimi Hendrix and an atomic bomb. The satanic pow-wow dances I'm a Sinner and Witching Hour compound the desecration and defilement.

In between the second and third acts of the trilogy, he also recorded Hundred Acre Wrist Hosted by DJ Sorrow (2020) with Ghost Mountain (a better rapper), a mixtape that sounds like a professional version of their Grave House. It contains some of Sematary's most convoluted productions, like Heffalumps and Tourniquet, and some imposing melodic-beat combinations like Nazgul (the peak of their unhinged vocal harmonies) and the distorted digital maelstrom Deer God. The overall atmosphere is greatly enhanced by psychedelic synth effects and original guitar riffs. Ghost Mountain even indulges in a cover of Goodbye Horses, a song on the soundtracks of Jonathan Demme's films "Married to the Mob" (1988) and "The Silence of the Lambs" (1991), originally sung by Q Lazzarus (Diane Luckey).

Sematary opted for a simple sound on Screaming Forest (2021), possibly Sematary's weakest album yet, despite Kamakrazee and Scarecraw. The album was followed by a much better single, Bleed a River (2022).

For sheer aggression, Butcher House (2023) is still a powerful statement, thanks to explosive songs like Hallowed Be My Wrist and Haunted Mound Reapers , but too much feels redundant.

(Copyright © 2023 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )