The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets

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The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets
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, power pop
Years active 1992–present
Labels Divine Industries
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.


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.


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. Thomas R. Falk has toured and played with the band as a second guitarist. 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 Scott Tynes and Monte Cook) the roleplaying game Spaceship Zero, published by Green Ronin Publishing.


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 mustaches.


  • Gurgle! Gurgle! Gurgle! (cassette), 1992.
  • Hurts Like Hell! (cassette), 1993.
  • Cthulhuriffomania! (cassette), 1994.
  • Fraser Valley Champions (CD compilation), 1994.
  • iMpact Music Volume 3 (CD compilation)
  • Collections and Conceptions for the Critically Confused, CD compilation, Closet Rock Entertainment, 1994.
  • Raw M.E.A.T. Vol 4 (CD compilation)
  • Cthulhu Strikes Back (CD album), 1995. Reissued 2003 as a Special Edition with two extra tracks.
  • Great Old Ones (CD album),1996 (rerelease of material from Hurts Like Hell and Cthulhuriffomania, with a few additional tracks)
  • Fight Prime Time (CD compilation), Kathode Ray Music, 1996.
  • Tombstone Park (CD compilation), Reanimator Records, 1998.
  • For Lucio Fulci: A Symphony of Fear (CD compilation), 1999.
  • Spaceship Zero: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (CD album), 2001.
  • Weird Fiction Horror Comp (CD compilation), Valiant Death Records (date unknown).
  • Let Sleeping Gods Lie (Special issue CD compilation),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.
  • The Shadow Out of Tim (CD Album), 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]
  • Child's Play CD 2008 (CD compilation), Penny Arcade Merchandise, 2008.
  • Hymns From the House of Horror, Vol. II.
Rue Morgue (2011) uses track "Shhh..."[3]
  • The Dukes of Alhazred (digital download & CD album), 2017.


  • 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)

Further details and credits[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-hosted popular science/comedy podcast Caustic Soda, found at
  • 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.
  • "Shhh.... was supposed to be on 'The Shadow Out Of Tim' but it wasn't released until 'The Dukes Of Alhazred'
  • 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.


  1. ^ ""The Shadow Out of Tim" Album Street Date is the Summer Solstice!". May 2007. Archived from the original on July 22, 2011. Retrieved 2007-06-01. 
  2. ^ "Absolute Underground asks Toren about new album". December 2006. Archived from the original on July 22, 2011. Retrieved 2007-06-01. 
  3. ^ "Hymns From the House of Horror Vol. II". June 2011. Archived from the original on 2011-06-23. Retrieved 2011-06-21. 

External links[edit]