By Sarah Bennett
By Adam Lovinus
By Jena Ardell
By Nate Jackson
By Gustavo Arellano
By Nick Keppler
By Nate Jackson
By Alex Distefano
A Haunted, Horror-ific Happy Medium
Horror-themed rock covers a pretty wide spectrum. There’s the playful fun of groups such as the Groovie Ghoulies, who are about as threatening as your average Scooby-Doo villain; and then there are those who take it a bit more seriously, like, say, Norwegian black-metal musician Varg Vikernes, who murdered rival Øystein Aarseth in 1993 by stabbing him 23 times.
Female-fronted Goth/punk Orange County/LA foursome Chapel of Thieves land (thankfully) somewhere in the middle. While they’re not simply winking at dark subject matter—lyrics such as “In this swamp is your new home, you’re buried here all alone” in “Swamp” are delivered with no discernible irony—they’re having fun with it, too: Their MySpace profile sports blinking jack-o’-lanterns and an ad for coffin-shaped guitar cases.
They released their album Haunted Hearts back in the summer of 2007, but we’re just getting around to it now (since it’s still their most current release, that’s probably okay, right?). The eight songs are largely grim—not meant as a slag, since that’s what they’re going for and all. Opener “Buried Wings” starts with 40 seconds of keyboard designed to sound like an organ at a funeral procession, but it’s soon taken to a much more upbeat place musically (if not thematically) thanks to powerful drumming behind the moody vocals of lead singer Elysia Moon. Much of the album sounds like more traditional punk, from the anthemic chorus in “Minus You” to the cover of Bad Religion’s “Yesterday” (with guitarist Ry Quinn Hemond providing lead vocals).
Chapel of Thieves strike a nice balance on Haunted Hearts; embracing the scary without becoming overwrought, having fun without being tiresome. They seem to know it, too: There is a song on here called “Angst,” but it’s one of the fastest, most danceable songs on the album.
Chapel of Thieves play with Vultures United, She Rides and Punk as a Doornail at Alex’s Bar, 2913 E. Anaheim St., (562) 434-8292; www.alexsbar.com. Sun., 9 p.m. $3. Visit Chapel of Thieves online at www.myspace.com/chapelofthieves.