Review: Dee Calhoun ‘Old Scratch Comes To Appalachia’

There’s no doubt about Screaming Mad Dee Calhoun having creativity, and that he has what it takes mentally to produce a good rock work ethic. Not only was he the frontman of the band Iron Man but he’s capable of flying solo, along with publishing audiobooks on his upcoming album(s). Calhoun evolved from the same underground Washington DC scene that the one and only Al Morris III (his late band member) came from. If Al is the black Tony Iommi, Dee Calhoun would be the Bruce Dickinson of black magic and doom rock; A dark folk lord of poetic goth infusion surrounded in a dense fog and unfiltered lore. 

Dee Calhoun 'Old Scratch Comes To Appalachia' Artwork
Dee Calhoun ‘Old Scratch Comes To Appalachia’ Artwork

What most likely is for immediate release when it comes to Calhoun’s solo projects is some bareback, stripped-to-the bone, raw-infused acoustic doom that will rattle any can of worms open. He has an encrypted way of enchanting the masses through his lyrics and the explicit ritualistic folk-doom guitar presence, but maybe a little too encrypted before you can consider ‘found’ by this album.

Old Scratch Comes To Appalachia starts out husky as Calhoun is accompanied by Louis Strachan, who was also a member of Iron Man on bass. In a past life, Dee Calhoun was probably a storyteller of some sort with monolithic tales he passed down to his grandchildren near a campfire, set underground in a druid mound burial. He isn’t the godfather of doom but could certainly pass as the fairy godfather with his new album. By the time 2018s Go To The Devil appears, he is re-incarnated into the same mythical madman who chomps and stomps story songs one by one.

stripped-to-the bone, raw-infused acoustic doom that will rattle any can of worms open…

From Rise Above Records to Argonauta Records, Calhoun, who has come a long way on a voyage from his first band, Land Of Doom, also took in a pilgrimage with Spiral Grave and from all retrospect, he could have planned and plotted to illuminate the soundtrack for his latest audiobook that he recorded along with this ten-song track list making up the double CD release.

Old Scratch Comes To Appalachia is muggy, and Cajun-cooked in some southern-fried corners, and far from disgusting fodder. So much wall petal is coming from the track Self-Inflicted you can feel the distortion bleeding out of your ears and nostrils. You will come up out of this album’s storyline like a coonhound with bloodshot eyes, but whether it leaves you thirsty for more Dee Calhoun in the next life depends on your own depravity. And although Pulse is only deprived of a few bpm’s, if not percussions, it levels itself back out when you play this entire recording backwards after you have a demonic blood transfusion with The Charlie Daniels Band. 

Label: Argonauta Records
Band Links: Official | Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram

Scribed by: Spring ‘The Strutter’ Chase