‘SEND MORE PARAMEDICS’
Without music all movies, not just horror, would be seriously lacking in atmosphere and ambience. We are all familiar with some of the great horror movie scores and soundtracks created by incredibly talented composers. What I would like to talk about is the bands that have been influenced by horror movies and have made some truly great music despite often being pigeon holed as a one trick pony. The band I want to champion this time around is Send More Paramedics!!
Formed in Leeds in 2001 by members of Indie/Emo band And None Of Them Knew They Were Robots and Hardcore band The Nothing, to name a couple, Send More Paramedics who took their name from a line said by a zombie in Return Of The Living Dead, formed their own genre known as Zombiecore, combining 80’s style Thrash Metal with a Hardcore edge and featuring lyrics of zombie plagues and apocalyptic situations. They draw their movie influences and personas from the zombie movies of the 80’s. Lead Singer- B’Hellmouth, Bassist- X Undead ,
Guitarist- Medico and Drummer- El Diablo all dress up as members of the undead, all pasty white and green, covered in fake blood with the exception of El Diablo who wears a Mexican wrestling mask as homage to the character of the same name in Brian Clements Meat Market Movies. Signed to Nottingham based record label In At The Deep End Records they have released 3 full length albums and 2 split EP’s. Quite a lot for a band that just sings about zombies huh? They don’t just sing about being members of the undead, they look at every aspect of the genre, from the start of the infection to being infected, trying to control it and surviving. To being responsible for the epidemic, loosing loved ones, recklessness and death. From serious to more light hearted anthemic songs. Also containing everything from shuffling zombies to viral and voodoo, every type of zombie is accounted for. They took samples from some of the best zombie flicks to use on their albums and whilst some songs relate directly to certain movies they are not all the same. The line up has stayed the same throughout their career and they are all incredibly accomplished musicians combining ballsy screamy vocals with very technical, fast guitar and bass with ridiculously frantic drums.
Their first full length album is A Feast For The Fallen released in 2002. This is the one that pulls the most from the movies. The first track “The Horde”, features the iconic line from Dawn Of The Dead “When there’s no more room in hell, the dead will walk the Earth” as its chorus. The other nod to Romero’s classics on that album is the opening screaming sample at the start of “Cannibal” taken from Day Of The Dead. Track 2 “The Pain Of Being Dead” features a sample of the scene from Return Of The Living Dead of Ernie questioning a disemboweled zombie corpse as to why they crave brains. It is also a brilliantly written story from the undeads point of view including lyrically genius lines like “I cant endure the pain of being dead, unless I eat your fucking head”, and of course the fantastic chant of “Only the taste of brains can ease the pain” at the end. The brilliant but short track 9 “The Night Has A Thousand Eyes” is a cover of the theme from Return Of The Living Dead, and track 4 “Brains” is a marvellous 11 second ditty devoted to their favourite snack and borrows the line “They want brains? We’ll give ‘em brains!” from Return Of The Living Dead 2. Track 10 “Zombie Sweetheart” is a love song giving us hope that even when we’re undead we can still find love! A truly brilliant, predominantly Thrash, stand out first album with an eerie 20 minute secret track.
Released in 2004 their second full length album “The Hallowed And The Heathen” is probably the one that drew a larger fan base. Musically it’s incredibly fast and relentless with Slayer references in abundance. It features an 80’s horror esque synth intro and outro, then crashes head first into track 1 “Bokor” a tale of a voodoo slave master. The next couple of tracks delve into complete despair and pain with fucking amazing guitar riffs!! Track 5 “Zombie Crew” is their anthem, “Back from the dead, going to the show, I can’t feel my pulse but I’m still gonna go!” makes for good times and a great song to mosh too, one of their most well known tracks. Track 9 “Burning The Body” is a manic and humorous track with a line directly referring to the bridge scene in Zombie Flesh Eaters 2 where, during the filming they were unable to close the bridge and unsuspecting people were alarmed by the zombies shuffling through the traffic!! Track 11 “The Time Before I Turn”, is actually quite an emotional tale of a brother who, on being bitten, makes a heart felt declaration of love and forgiveness to his sister before he turns. Track 12 “Cranial Blowout” is a song about secret testing of viral diseases and their unfortunate results! I could go on and on but in summary another fantastic offering that gained in momentum rather than lost, proof that they still weren’t short of zombie based material.
2005 saw Send More Paramedics release 2 split EP’s. The first being “North Of England, South Of Heaven” with The Nothing (former band of El Diablo) released by 30 Days Of Night Records. Only 4 tracks so 2 by each band. The Nothing also drew on horror movies to influence their tracks featuring samples from The Omen. Send More Paramedics offerings were 2 stonking tracks “Heavy Metal Cowboy” a more Full Metal Jacket war type song and the brilliant “245 Trioxin”. Trioxin being the substance responsible for the revival of the dead in the Return Of The Living Dead movies. The second split EP is “Tales Told By Dead Men” released on Hell Bent Records and sees Send More Paramedics with, I suppose, their American contemporaries, Zombie Apocalypse. An 11 track album with 5 tracks from each band. A very good album showcasing both bands really well. Best tracks from Zombie Apocalypse being their first track “Just Meat” and track 5 “Tale Told By A Dead Man”. Send More Paramedics best tracks being “Zombie Versus Shark” an ode to the greatest scene from Zombie Flesh Eaters where a zombie does indeed take on a shark. “Funeral”, a tale of burying your loved one only to find they don’t stay dead. ” You were like this when you were alive, you never let it lie, even from beyond the grave, you drain my life away”.
In 2006 they released their third full length album “The Awakening” on In At The Deep End Records. The most polished and well produced album of the 3 but still hasn’t lost any of their edge, if anything, it enhances it. Slightly less full on but still very Thrashy. It is in fact 2 Cds, the second disc is an 80’s horror movie synth/orchestral instrumental concept album in the vain of legendary composer John Carpenter. It definitely adds to the appeal of the album. The first disc is the main attraction though and features guest appearances from Jeff Walker and Ken Owen from Carcass. Again, so many amazing songs but will focus on my favourites. The opening track “Everything Is Not Under Control” sets a futuristic feel as the first line is “Now its 2025, the dead arise to claim your life” continues an on going story, detailed in the middle of the CD inlay cover, of the endless struggle with the undead, the collapse of society and the Government, the start of martial law and survival. The stand out track for me being track 4 “Blood Fever”, musically similar to “Zombie Crew” as in it’s another anthem, but tells the tale of the horror, shock and pain from a zombie bite to the time of death and subsequent transformation. Track 7 “This Crowd Is Crushing Me” details the panic of an epidemic in full swing. Track 12 “Anthropophagi” is a cleverly written track of being feasted upon by hellish creatures. My least favourite Send More Paramedics track does appear on this album, but I can honestly say this is their only track I dislike, track 10 “Scapegoat” is quite noisy and lack lustre in my opinion but it has to be listened to as it has the greatest most seamless transition into the next track, the epic and incredible “The Unclean” which is just brilliant. The final track on the album “Transmission” leaves me with the same feeling I had when watching the end credits of the 2005 Dawn Of The Dead remake. The realisation that the epidemic is global and there is no hope for us. I do love an unhappy ending!!
In 2007, Send More Paramedics did what all of us had feared and called an end to the band, posting a statement on MySpace saying “It’s been 6 years but our zombie corpses are finally rotting to the point at which we can continue no more”. They had a very varied tour experience and played hundreds of shows from small venues to playing Download Festival in 2005 and Reading and Leeds Festival in 2006. They also supported Avenged Sevenfold and The Offspring on their UK tours. On discovering Send More Paramedics I have seen them in loads of places from a tiny pub in Cambridge to the mentioned festivals. After they had announced their split they said they were putting on one final farewell gig. This was to be at Josephs Well pub in Leeds on 27th October 2007. Obviously I got tickets and we travelled up to Leeds from Norfolk to see them one last time. I think pretty much all of us there had decided to zombie up, I went all out and dressed up as a zombie paramedic complete with severed hand handcuffed to me, I scared the crap out of the taxi driver that took us to the venue! The atmosphere was buzzing, I remember it like it was yesterday…..on opening, the band appeared minus B’Hellmouth and started playing the opening track from A Feast For The Fallen “The Horde”. Whilst this was going on a door at the back opened and a coffin was carried through the crowd and on reaching the stage B’Hellmouth appeared from said coffin. A great start to a mental night, I remember little else apart from the fact that I did not leave the pit for the whole set, it was amazing!! At the end of the night we were all given a cassette tape of their first ever demo which features tracks that made it onto their albums and some that didn’t. Some titles include “Bra(i)nde(a)d”, “Dawn Of The Dead” and a track they always play live simply called “Send More Paramedics”. It is a cassette I will always treasure.
So, you may think to yourself, that’s that then, done and dusted….well, you’d be wrong. 7 years later it was announced that Send More Paramedics would return for one more reunion gig. Again, I was not going to pass this up so it was back up to Leeds to a venue called Vox on the 12th April 2014 to attend the 30 Days Of Night 10 year anniversary all day festival headlined by Send More Paramedics. It was a fantastic gig, no grand entrance by the band just a balls out blast of our favourite Zombiecore classics from their albums. This was where I actually met B’Hellmouth properly and gave him a massive hug! I still have his zombie make up on the sleeve of my leather jacket which I will never wash off!! After the tickets had been sold out for their one off reunion gig there was uproar down south so they then decided they would come to London and play The Barfly in Camden. So on the 10th May 2014 off I went to see them again. I moshed like I would never mosh again and that, this time, was it, I have not seen them since.
In At The Deep End Records did release a 12” coloured vinyl EP entitled “Unearthed- Possessed” which features some of the tracks from the cassette:- “Zombified” (which made it onto A Feast For The Fallen), “100 Fighting Dogs”, “Revenants”, “Send More Paramedics” and “245 Trioxin”. It also featured covers of “Blood Fever” and “Sever” by label mates Feed The Rhino and Wounds. Not only did they leave us with these amazing albums but they also made videos for “Zombie Crew”, “Nothing Tastes Like This” and “Blood Fever”. The video for the latter was directed by Adam Powell and apparently loosely inspired by “Night Of The Demons” complete with dodgy acting!
As you may have guessed I am quite a fan of this band. They combine 2 of my favourite things, zombies and Metal. Not only do I have all their albums but 50% of my band t shirts are Send More Paramedics shirts and I even have some of their album artwork inked on my skin. I don’t hold out much hope of anymore reunion gigs as I think their last Facebook post did state that they were “Dead and buried” but I will always hold onto the thought that a zombie is never truly dead until the brain is destroyed!
Article written by Sarah Budd
You can find them on Youtube here where you can find and listen to videos of the band. If you like them why not support them and go buy their albums.