Continuing the stream of rock releases coming out either just in time for or tailored to Halloween, today we look at the recent Release of Zak Bagans & Praga Khan. Yes, that Zak Bagans…
Zak Bagans, host of “Ghost Adventures” and “Paranormal Challenge” on the Travel Channel, has an entirely new venture out in time for Halloween. The television star has teamed up with Praga Khan from Lords of Acid to commit to tape a fascinating album, NecroFusion. What may be considered “shock rock” (at worst) or an artsy departure from the norm (at best) in the hands of your typical rock artist turns into an eerie observatory piece in the correct hands.
NecroFusion starts with “In My Dungeon,” a hard-charging anthem of electronics and sound bites from Bagans. Much of the album is in this vein, save for the music. Khan takes great care in structuring the soundscapes around the tales and recordings supplied by Bagans. “Poor Pearl” takes on a deadly country feel (thanks to help from Bobby Mackey) with Bagans telling the tale of a satanic sacrifice. “Sing For Me” features Bagans getting a spirit to actually sing, and Khan is wise enough in his years with Lords of Acid to slow the tempo and bring a darkly hopeful feel to the proceedings.
The only mis-steps, musically, are the dubstep flourishes thrown into the choruses of a handful of tracks, such as “Demonator.” It’s not so much that it doesn’t fit the mood of the song, but the feeling that it overpowers rather than enhances the mood. It comes off as a device used to seem relevant in today’s music scene, when this sort of project doesn’t any tricks that stand out rather blatantly because the nature of the project itself is more than enough to justify any sense of needed relevance..
This is the kind of project that would have to be completely manufactured by an artist if they were to attempt this. Bagans is wise enough not to think himself a sudden pop master; he’s not hiring the hot producer du jour and trying to cut a record, thinking it’ll be an instant hit like a Kim Kardashian. Bagans comes armed with recordings already taken during his communications with spirits as seen on his shows rather than any type of singing. Bagans wanted the most fascinating and harrowing of these recordings documented with music and chose the perfect foil in Praga Khan. Therein lies the key that makes all of this work – the vocals, stories, and soundbites from Bagans are all based on real events. This isn’t a concept record trying to be scary (be it intentional or not); these are actual events that were rather scary.
Bagans and Khan have done an excellent crafting a record of mood in time for the perfect season to enjoy it in. Even after Halloween has come and gone, NecroFusion is a beguiling affidavit of what’s in store on the other side.