Scranton metal band Traverse the Abyss does the ‘Frankenshuffle’ in fun Halloween video
With Halloween lurking right around the corner, Traverse the Abyss let their spooky personas take over for another fun music video.
In February, the Scranton band premiered their biggest music video yet, “Faucet Mouth,” on NEPA Scene, parodying rap, country, and even their own genre of metal with hilarious costumes and hijinks.
Today, they returned with the seasonally appropriate “Frankenshuffle,” a “lyrically cocky rap/metal song” that comes from a funny band story.
“At the Darkenheavy festival, a fan was on the band bus after having a few drinks. We have people everywhere we go sign the bus when we visit, so after she signed and was about to head out, she darts forward as Miranda, my wifey, says, “Hey, watch your head!” and this girl smashed her head on this low-hanging shelf we had,” vocalist Eric Ross, who goes by Eric Abyss in the band, told NEPA Scene.
“Being in the stairwell, I’m like, ‘Oh fuck, I gotta see if she’s all right,’ and when I turned around, she was groaning, holding her head groggy walking down the steps – hence the dance in the video where everyone is holding their heads. I saw many people hit their heads on that, but she takes the cake!”
The public reception to “Faucet Mouth” was so positive that they knew they wanted to do a follow-up later this year, and what better time than All Hallows’ Eve.
“In the beginning talks of ‘Faucet Mouth,’ we mentioned doing something wacky for Halloween because we all love that time of year and it would be easy to do something ridiculous for,” Ross explained.
“Everyone got a good kick out of the last video and now expect us to be in full tracksuits wherever we go.”
With their friend Jes O’Reilly of Trish or Trash and Familiar Curiosities Studio helping them with detailed makeup, Ross, guitarists “Iron” Mike White and Jamie Macheska, bassist/backing vocalist Mike “Bnoc” Bieniecki, and drummer David Wilczweski transformed into colorful characters that may be “a small reflection of us,” he mentioned with a laugh.
“We wanted to do like blatant knockoffs of known characters with some twist to it, like Dripula for Dracula. The zombie tourist that Iron Mike played was a character he played years ago at [Scranton haunted attraction] Reaper’s Revenge, so that was a fun throwback for anyone who has been around the band for a long time.”
Ross said most of the members were on board for the arduous makeup and costuming process, through “some aren’t too keen on it until it is in motion. Then it’s fun.” Both “Faucet Mouth” and “Frankenshuffle” depict some wild parties, and that’s exactly what it was like filming with Novro Studios, who also recorded the music in their Shavertown studio.
“They were a blast to film! Both were like mini parties with all the randomness going on. The end of ‘Frankenshuffle,’ definitely,” he recalled. “We reached out to our friends to be part of the madness.”
Traverse the Abyss does work hard as well as play hard, though, writing and recording new material throughout the year that they plan to release on an EP in early 2022, including the recent singles “Trainwreck” and “Only Human.”
For those who only knew them for their sense of humor, the latter song and accompanying video surprised many by tackling heavy subject matter like the unexpected death of friends and family.
“‘Only Human’ was a nice way of breaking up the silliness since we planned on ‘Frankenshuffle’ being another wild video. Since a lot of our lyrics come from raw emotions on loss or inner struggles, we wanted to portray that alongside the funny videos so we aren’t directly typecasted into only funny videos and show that we can be more serious as well,” Ross noted.
This will surely make the setlist of their last planned show for 2021. To celebrate the fifth anniversary of their debut album “The Gamble of Life,” they’ll play a special Black Friday show at Finnegan’s Irish Rock Club (514 Ash St., Scranton) on Nov. 26. And even as he works on getting a new band bus (hopefully a safer vehicle with better shelf placement) and adding new merch to their website, Ross still finds time to stream on Twitch and build a different kind of following there.
“Twitch has been awesome. I love growing and interacting with my community. I feel that live interaction-based entertainment is paving the way for the future of how we consume entertainment. I can play games, podcast topics, or whatever I want while the fans can directly communicate. Come hang in a stream sometime!”
by Rich Howells
Rich is an award-winning journalist, longtime blogger, photographer, and podcast host. He is the founder and editor of NEPA Scene.