The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets

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The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets
DarkestOfTheHillsideThickets-at-PAX-2008.jpg
The band at the 2008 Penny Arcade Expo
Background information
Also known as The Thickets
Origin Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada
Genres Punk rock, Horror punk, Powerpop
Years active 1992–present
Labels Divine Industries
Website http://thickets.net
Members Toren Atkinson
Merrick Atkinson
Warren C. Banks
Mario Nieva
Jordan Pratt
Past members Chris Woods, Devon Presseau, Chris West, Bob Fugger, Troy Zak

The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets is a rock band from Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada. Their music largely consists of often tongue-in-cheek homages to the works of H. P. Lovecraft, specifically the Cthulhu Mythos.

History[edit]

The band's name is drawn from a phrase in Lovecraft's story The Tomb: "I will tell only of the lone tomb in the darkest of the hillside thickets." The band formed in January 1992 after meeting at Fraser Valley College in Abbotsford, British Columbia.

Their live performances include various costumes, usually Cthulhu Mythos-themed. They have toured across North America a few times over their career, performing with such bands as GWAR, They Might Be Giants, Dayglo Abortions, MC Frontalot, Freezepop, Bad Brains and Nomeansno.

In 2008 as part of a Penny Arcade download pack, their song titled "Shhh...." was chosen for inclusion as a downloadable track for the video game Rock Band. [1]

The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets' song "Blackout" was nominated for the 8th Annual Independent Music Awards for Hard Rock/Metal Song of the year.

Members[edit]

The original three members of the band, at the January 1992 formation, were Toren Atkinson, Warren Banks and Quentin Rogers. Quentin, though, never appeared on any of their releases, nor played at any of their public performances. The first bass player to appear with the band at a show was Devon Presseau. The band has gone through several bassists and drummers since its inception. The discography below details band member history.

The current line-up of the band consists of vocalist and lyricist Toren Atkinson, guitarist Warren Banks, guitarist/bassist Mario Nieva, drummer Jordan Pratt (former drummer for the band Mystery Machine), and bassist/backup vocalist Merrick Atkinson.

Outside of the band, Toren Atkinson is also an artist, having illustrated books for role-playing games including Dungeons & Dragons, Call of Cthulhu (and Delta Green), as well as the Lovecraft-inspired collectible card game Mythos. Warren Banks and Toren Atkinson also co-wrote (along with contributions by John Tynes and Monte Cook) the roleplaying game Spaceship Zero, published by Green Ronin Publishing.

Costuming[edit]

A large part of The Thickets live shows involves the band members in costumes. This has gone through various iterations over the years, from plush gug and fungi from Yuggoth outfits to the red jumpsuit/astronaut motif for their Spaceship Zero concerts, to their Satyr costumes, and most recently, their early twentieth century nautical styles featuring excellent mustaches.

Discography[edit]

Gurgle! Gurgle! Gurgle! (cassette)[edit]

Recorded 1992. Three songs recorded using an 8 track recorder at an associate's studio. Using their own equipment, they made 50 cassette to cassette copies to give to friends and to sell. The original master has been lost.

Band: Toren Atkinson (lead vocals), Warren Banks (guitar), Chris Woods (guitar), Devon Presseau (bass), and Josh Pratt (drums).
Tracks: 1. Digging Up The World; 2.Cthulhu Dreams; 3. Three Hour Log

Hurts Like Hell! (cassette)[edit]

Recorded 1993. Nine songs recorded using an 8 track recorder at an associate's studio. Using a cassette reproduction company this time, 250 copies were made to sell at shows and to use as demo tapes for record companies, radio stations, and clubs.

Band: Toren Atkinson (lead vocals), Warren Banks (guitar/bass), Chris West (bass/guitar), Jordan Pratt (drums).
Tracks: 1. Tarred and Feathered; 2.My Tank; 3. Battered; 4. One-Gilled Girl; 5. Jimmy the Squid; 6. Chunk; 7. Diggin' Up the World; 8. Screams From R'lyeh; 9. Stitching Uranus

Cthulhuriffomania! (cassette)[edit]

Released 1994.

Band: Toren Atkinson (lead vocals), Warren Banks (guitar), Bob Fugger (bass), Jordan Pratt (drums).
Tracks: 1. Colour Me Green; 2. Space Ghosts; 3. A Thousand Fists; 4. Big Robot Dinosaur; 5. Rocket Science; 6. Flee!; 7. Everyone Calls Me Ted; 8. Mustard Gas; 9. Diggin' Up the World (Acoustic); 10. Yog-Sothoth

Fraser Valley Champions (CD compilation)[edit]

1994 Compilation uses tracks "A Thousand Fists" and "Big Robot Dinosaur"

iMpact Music Volume 3 (CD compilation)[edit]

Compilation used track "Colour Me Green"

Closet Collections and Conceptions for the Critically Confused (CD compilation)[edit]

1994 Compilation by Closet Rock Entertainment used track "Space Ghosts"

Raw M.E.A.T. Vol 4 (CD compilation)[edit]

Compilation uses track "A Thousand Fists"

Cthulhu Strikes Back (CD album)[edit]

Released 1995. Reissued 2003 as a Special Edition with two extra tracks.

Band: Toren Atkinson (lead vocals), Warren Banks (guitar), Bob Fugger (bass), Jordan Pratt (drums).
Tracks: 1. Goin' Down To Dunwich; 2.Ogdru Jahad; 3. Shoggoths Away; 4.Unstoppable; 5.Yig Snake Daddy; 6. Hookworm; 7. Wrath; 8. Rock Lords; 9. Protein; 10. HVW; 11. Burrow Your Way To My Heart; 12. Sloth; 13. Worship Me Like A God; 14. Cthulhu Dreams; 15. Gluttony; 16. Slave Ship (Special Edition reissue only); 17. House of Clocks (Special Edition reissue only)

Great Old Ones (CD album)[edit]

Released 1996, rerelease of material from Hurts Like Hell and Cthulhuriffomania, with a few additional tracks.

Band: as per release on which material first appeared; new material by Toren Atkinson (lead vocals), Warren Banks (guitar), Bob Fugger (bass), Jordan Pratt (drums).
Tracks: 1. Tarred and Feathered; 2. My Tank; 3. Battered; 4. One Gilled Girl; 5. Jimmy The Squid; 6. Chunk; 7. Diggin' Up The World; 8. Colour Me Green; 9. Space Ghosts; 10. A Thousand Fists; 11. Big Robot Dinosaur; 12. Rocket Science; 13. Flee!; 14. Mustard Gas; 15. Everyone Calls Me Ted; 16. Diggin' Up The World (Acoustic); 17. Yog-Sothoth; 18. Hookworm (Live); 19. Burrow Your Way To My Heart (Live); 20. Please God No!; 21. Walking On The Moon; 22. Six-Gun Gorgon Dynamo

Fight Prime Time (CD compilation)[edit]

1996 Compilation from Kathode Ray Music used track "Burrow Your Way to My Heart"

Tombstone Park (CD compilation)[edit]

1998 Compilation from Reanimator Records uses tracks "Ogdru Jahad" and "Goin' Down to Dunwich"

For Lucio Fulci: A Symphony of Fear (CD compilation)[edit]

1999 Compilation from Graveside Entertainment uses track "House of Clocks"

Spaceship Zero: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (CD album)[edit]

Released 2001. For more information on the marketing of the CD, see Spaceship Zero CD section for more information.

Band: Toren Atkinson (lead vocals), Warren Banks (guitar), Bob Fugger (bass), Jordan Pratt (drums), Merrick Atkinson (background vocals/bass), Thomas Falk (electronica).
Tracks:

1. Theme to Spaceship Zero 2. 20 Minutes of Oxygen 3. The Innsmouth Look 4. Power Up 5. BTL Drive 6. Frogstar 7. The Math Song 8. Dies ist Unverschämtheit 9. Oblivion 10. The Chosen One 11. Slave Ship 12. Requiem for a Clone Hunter 13. KABLAM! 14. Sounds of Tindalos 15. End Credits

Weird Fiction Horror Comp (CD compilation)[edit]

Valiant Death Records (date unknown) uses tracks "The Innsmouth Look" and "1000 Fists"

Let Sleeping Gods Lie (Special issue CD compilation)[edit]

Released 2002, featuring tracks from previous albums. An all-Mythos themed CD produced in association with Wizards of the Coast to promote their new d20 edition of the Call of Cthulhu role-playing game. If the CD is played during a roleplaying session, there are rules for die roll modifiers depending on what song is currently playing.

Band: as per release on which material first appeared.
Tracks: 1. A Thousand Fists; 2. Colour Me Green; 3. Goin' Down to Dunwich; 4. Shoggoths Away!; 5. Yig Snake Daddy; 6. Please God No; 7. Six-Gun Gorgon Dynamo; 8. The Innsmouth Look; 9. Sounds of Tindalos; 10. The Chosen One; 11. Yog-Sothoth; 12. Cthulhu Dreams

The Shadow Out of Tim (CD Album)[edit]

Released Summer Solstice (June 21) 2007.[1] Their second theme album (after Spaceship Zero). The title is a play on words from the H.P Lovecraft short story The Shadow Out of Time and a rock opera based on said story.[2]

Band: Toren Atkinson (lead vocals), Warren Banks (guitar), Mario Nieva (guitar/bass), Jordan Pratt (drums), Merrick Atkinson (background vocals/bass).
Tracks: 1. Prologue: Theme to an Earthquake; 2. Chapter I: A Marine Biologist; 3. Chapter II: Blackout; 4. Chapter III: No Way; 5. Chapter IV: Strange; 6. Chapter V: Return to Melanesia; 7. Chapter VI: Cultists on Board; 8. Chapter VII: A Need-To-Know Basis; 9. Chapter VIII: Operation: Get the Hell Out Of Here; 10. Chapter IX: Ride the Flying Polyp; 11. Epilogue: Some Things Man Was Not Meant To Know; 12. Footnote: Downtown (In the Cenozoic); 13. Footnote: Sleestak & Yeti; 14. Appendix: Nyarlathotep

Child's Play CD 2008 (CD compilation)[edit]

Penny Arcade Merchandise (2008) uses track "(We're Gonna) Kill the Chupacabra (Tonight)"

Hymns From the House of Horror Vol. II (mp3 compilation)[edit]

Rue Morgue (2011) uses track "Shhh..."[3]

Videography[edit]

The band also has several music videos:

  • Diggin' Up the World (Director: Bob Fugger)
  • Worship Me Like A God (Director: Bob Fugger)
  • Colour Me Green (Director: Bob Fugger)
  • Walking on the Moon (Director: Bob Fugger)
  • Sounds of Tindalos (Director: Scott Winlaw)
  • 20 Minutes of Oxygen (Director: Mike Jackson)

Trivia[edit]

  • "Some Things Man Was Not Meant To Know" appears in the credits of the video game Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness: Episode 2
  • An instrumental version of "Ride the Flying Polyp" appears in the PC video game Fort Zombie, for which lead singer Toren Atkinson also supplied voice acting.
  • Among the songs recorded during The Shadow Out of Tim sessions were "Shhh...." and "(We're Gonna) Kill the Chupacabra (Tonight)." They were not included on the album as the subject matter was unrelated to the album narrative.
  • "The Sounds of Tindalos" and "Slave Ship" appear in the trailers for the video game Sword of the Stars, for which Toren Atkinson also supplied voices.
  • "Slave Ship" appears in the SciFi Channel original movie "Bloodsuckers" AKA "Vampire Wars"
  • Chapter ten of Gary Hill's "The Strange Sound of Cthulhu: Music Inspired by the Writings of H.P. Lovecraft" is titled "The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets: Lovecraftian Humor Set To Music". [2]
  • According to the introduction of My Tank Is Fight!, author Zack Parsons says he took the title from a song by The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets (a verse of the song "My Tank").
  • American independent rock band Jessica's Crime have announced that their next record, PROJECT : GHOLA, will feature a cover of 'The Innsmouth Look' by The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets.
  • Lead singer Toren Atkinson co-hosts popular science/comedy podcast Caustic Soda. www.causticsodapodcast.com
  • Drummer Jordan Pratt, former bassist/video director Bob Fugger, and former guitarist Chris Woods formed and co-hosted comedy podcast Speedway Squad. Upon Fugger's departure, Pratt and Woods were joined by Thickets guitarist Warren Banks to create a new podcast, Horsetrack Hooligans [3].
  • "Shhh.... is featured as downloadable content in the Rock Band series.
  • The lyrics to "The Math Song" appear in calculations on a chalk board in an episode of the cartoon series Rocket Monkeys.
  • The Laundry RPG contains a scenario called "Going Down To Dunwich", quoting the two first verses of the song of the same name in its introduction.

References[edit]

  1. ^ ""The Shadow Out of Tim" Album Street Date is the Summer Solstice!". thickets.net. May 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-01. [dead link]
  2. ^ "Absolute Underground asks Toren about new album". thickets.net. December 2006. Retrieved 2007-06-01. [dead link]
  3. ^ "Hymns From the House of Horror Vol. II". rue-morgue.com. June 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-21. 

External links[edit]