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Music / The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets

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The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets is a rock band from Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada. Their music largely consists of often tongue-in-cheek homages to the works of H. P. Lovecraft, specifically the Cthulhu Mythos, with the band's name itself being drawn from a phrase in Lovecraft's story "The Tomb": "I will tell only of the lone tomb in the darkest of the hillside thickets."

Their live performances include various costumes, usually Cthulhu Mythos-themed. They have toured across North America a few times over their career, performing with such bands as GWAR, They Might Be Giants, Dayglo Abortions, MC Frontalot, Freezepop, Bad Brains and Nomeansno.

In 2008 as part of a Penny Arcade download pack, their song titled "Shhh...." was chosen for inclusion as a downloadable track for Rock Band.

The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets' song "Blackout" was nominated for the 8th Annual Independent Music Awards for Hard Rock/Metal Song of the year.

The original three members of the band, at the January 1992 formation, were Toren Atkinson, Warren Banks and Quentin Rogers. Quentin, though, never appeared on any of their releases, nor played at any of their public performances. The first bass player to appear with the band at a show was Devon Presseau. The band has gone through several bassists and drummers since its inception. The discography below details band member history.

The current line-up of the band consists of vocalist and lyricist Toren Atkinson, guitarist Warren Banks, guitarist/bassist Mario Nieva, drummer Jordan Pratt (former drummer for the band Mystery Machine), and bassist/backup vocalist Merrick Atkinson.

Outside of the band, Toren Atkinson is also an artist, having illustrated books for role-playing games including Dungeons & Dragons, Call of Cthulhu (and Delta Green), as well as the Lovecraft-inspired collectible card game Mythos. Warren Banks and Toren Atkinson also co-wrote (along with contributions by John Tynes and Monte Cook) the Tabletop RPG Spaceship Zero, published by Green Ronin Publishing.


  • Based on a Great Big Lie: Spaceship Zero claims to be a soundtrack, for a film that doesn't exist, that's an adaptation of a German TV series that doesn't exist, that's a remake of a 50s radio serial that doesn't exist. It was marketed as such to tie-in with their roleplaying game of the same name, which lists a huge history of media that inspired it, all fictional.
  • Body Horror: Frequently played for laughs, most notably in the appropriately-titled Burrow Your Way to my Heart, Hookworm (Oh, God, Hookworm), and The Innsmouth Look.
  • Dark Reprise: Happens within a song called Operation: Get the Hell Out of Here, and the chorus goes "Take your time, take your toll, everything's under control/Execute Operation: Get the Hell Out of Here" until after the last verse of the song, where the protagonists accidentally unleash an Eldritch Abomination, it's changed to "Take your life, take your soul, everything's out of control/Execute Operation: Get the Hell Out of Here".
  • Death by Woman Scorned: Possibly subverted in Jimmy the Squid. Jimmy is accused of killing his mate for sleeping with another squid. He says he's innocent.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The vast majority of their songs feature them one way or another.
  • Eye Scream: Tarred and Feathered is about a torturer talking about his favorite activities (or perhaps receiving advice from monsters, it's kinda vague) and includes the lines "Here's some silver fishhook/To slip in their eyes" and "Here's some metal cubes and jacks/Force them in their sockets".
  • Madness Mantra: The song Flee! gives us "Pain! Death! Insanity! Death!" Shows up in several songs on The Shadow Out of Tim, most notably No Way ("My life is shattered, that doesn't matter, nobody cares that I'm all better now") and Operation: Get the Hell Out of Here ("It's gonna be all right, it's gonna be all right, it's gonna be all right, it's gonna be all right...")
  • Man on Fire: The lyrics to The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets' Kill the Chupacabra:
    I'm on fire.
    I'm on fire.
    I am, quite literally...
    ON FIRE!
  • May the Farce Be with You: The album Cthulhu Strikes Back parodies Star Wars in its title and its front and back cover art.
  • Murder Ballad: Shhh... The killer apologises to his wife and bids her keep silent, while he goes to cover up the murder. It looks like she didn't agree...
  • Overly Long Gag: The outro to Yig Snake Daddy
  • Pest Controller: The narrator of "Arachnotopia" is a madman preparing to unleash an army of spiders on the world, although it's unclear whether he expects to survive himself
  • These Are Things Man Was Not Meant to Know: Some Things Man Was Not Meant to Know. Or not; the lyrics are actually about avoiding these kinds of things.