Helter Skelter

Richard Gein (real name withheld for what should soon be obvious reasons) says one of his first San Antonio gigs was an opening slot at an Eminem and D-12 show. He’s sketchy about the details (he was performing under another alias he’d rather not mention, and can’t recall for sure the date and venue. ) I can’t find evidence of this anywhere, but I believe him. Gein’s got some legitimate skill, and his style and artistic approach, though not identical, seem to at least philosophically sync with Marshall Mathers.

Gein’s third release, Zombie Vomit —watch for a full-album review next week at sacurrent.com — is available now at myspace.com/richardgein94 , and titles such as “Buried in the Woods,” “Machete,” and “Cunt Sucking Cannibal” fill the tracklist. “Buried” — on which Gein compares himself to Taxi Driver’s Travis Bickle, vows to “leave all you motherfuckers buried in the woods” in a hook that recalls Eminem’s unhinged screaming on “Kim,” and confesses that he “gets more aroused when a body has rigor mortis” — is probably the closest of the three to what you’d call radio friendly. The sick humor and blatant effort to shock recall Em, but the song’s Cannibal Corpse namedrop is apt, too. Like horrorcore pioneers Gravediggaz, Gein spits death-metal mentality over hip-hop beats, and the result is somehow much more disturbing. Maybe it’s hip-hop’s traditionally confessional nature or the fact that rappers are talking instead of vamping, but the brutality is more jarring when it’s coming from an MC instead of a wan Scandinavian in a bone girdle.

But Gein says he’s not really a metal student.

“I respect Cannibal Corpse, and the way they do their thing,” Gein says, “but I’m really more of a Beatles kind of head.”

In fact, “Hello You Die,” a track from Gein’s sophomore release, Creatures of the Night,
leans heavily on a there’s-no-way-in-hell-it-was-officially-licensed sample of the Fab Four’s “Hello Goodbye.”

Unexpected samples are something Gein, who also handles most of the production work on Zombie Vomit, prides himself on. Another track, “Bludgeon You to Death,” features repurposed bits from Sonic Youth and the Talking Heads.

“We like to dig for our samples,” Gein says. “You won’t hear us snatching James Brown loops and shit like that.”

Another aspect of “Hello You Die” that’s common throughout Gein’s discography: graphic depictions of violence toward women. “Dumb bitch, if you fuck with me I’ll slit your throat ,” Gein sings to the tune of the classic Beatles chorus, amid lyrics describing romantic rejection and cuckold’s complaints. “What’s inside a girl?” Gein asks on “Machete,” then cheerfully answers, “Let’s find out.”

Gein’s misogynist psychopath act sets up camp further outside the comfort level of polite (or sane or decent) society than Eminem, Gravediggaz, or Insane Clown Posse (an act Gein says he doesn’t dig), relying on his work’s creative merit to bridge the ridiculous gap. It’s up to you whether you can make the leap. Unlike Mathers, Gein doesn’t use the “just shooting off at the mouth” defense to allow you the luxury of separating the music from the man himself. If he’s joking, he never breaks character enough to let you in on it.

Gein admits that “obviously I don’t go around killing people,” but he insists cryptically “I live this shit.” Asked about the hatred of women apparent in his lyrics, Gein agrees, calling it one of the “true missions” of his music.

“If somebody bashes their girlfriend over this shit,” he continues, “I’ll be satisfied. I guess I’ll be Charles Manson, telling other people to kill.”

At what point do transgressive lyrics take on real-world weight? For all the talk about authenticity in hip-hop, no one wants that from horrorcore artists, right? Especially considering the number of men who “bash” their girlfriends everyday, no encouragement needed. But a listen to Gein’s music (if you can stomach it) reveals he’s got too much unique talent (take “Buried in the Woods” for a joke, though maybe you shouldn’t, and it’s a damn respectable cut) to be outright written off by music critics (women of the world, however, write-off away) and Gein contends his hateful attitude relates to listeners.

“I’m just on some slut-slashing shit right now,” he says. “It seems like people really identify with that.”

Unbelievably, the Vultures’ Ruler Why, who produced two of the album’s tracks, claims to’ve convinced Gein to show some restraint in the studio.

“You have to go into it a little more open-minded,” Ruler says of working with Gein. “I just let him do his thing mostly, and sometimes something he does will grow on me. But sometimes he does something that I’ll say, ‘Whoa, Richard, that’s too crazy, man.”

Makes you wonder what got left on the cutting-room floor.

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