- 19 Oct 21
The latest single by Rory Moore and Strength N.I.A. is an extraordinary piece about the legendary Wolfman of Allariz in Spain. Eamonn McCann listens closely, while the Hot Press crew pick the ten songs on the theme of werewolf-ery that you really have to hear...
The story has it that long before history was launched, the god Zeus felt angered when Lycaon served him up the offal of a roasted child. So he transformed Lycaon and his two sons into wolves. This is the source of belief in werewolves.
Wolfing down children is nowadays seen as de trop. But with their latest tune, Rory Moore and Strength N.I.A. speak up for the werewolf community. Or at least at last give werewolves a voice.
'Wolfman of Allariz' tells the tale of Manuel Blanco Romasanta, a travelling salesman from Allaria in northern Spain, who was charged with 14 murders in 1853. Blanco admitted five of the killings but pleaded innocent to the others on the ground that he’d been a wolf at the time.
After a seven-month trial which transfixed all Spain, he was acquitted of a number of the killings – forensics having shown that these had been inflicted by real wolves – but convicted of the others and sentenced to death. Queen Isabella II, who took a close interest in these things, then intervened to order that garrotting be deferred so that doctors could further investigate the possibility of lycanthropy as a factor.
In a statement to the court, Blanco said: “In the mountains of Couso. I came across two ferocious-looking wolves. I suddenly fell to the ground and began to feel convulsions. I rolled over three times, and a few seconds later I was a wolf. I went out marauding with the other two wolves. They were from Valencia. One was called Antonio and the other Don Genaro. We attacked and ate a number of people because we were hungry."
Basically, that’s the song. “In the mountains of Couso in the north-west of Spain/ I met two wolves on a mountain pass/ Rolled over three times and then I did find/ That I was werewolf and not a travelling salesman no more/ In the court of Allariz the Spanish werewolf was tried/ Identity crisis started when he was five…”
The video shows Rory/Blanco gnawing off and chomping up chunks of raw meat in gooey blood that dribbles and oozes down his face, slurping gobbets of flesh across his lips and into his mouth.
Blanco was returned to prison, where, in 1863, he died of stomach cancer.
There are beats and bass and expanses of space, scary organ spiralling high, a snatch of operatic grand guignol, ending as abrupt as a guillotine.
They don’t do songs like this anymore. In fact, before Strength, they didn’t do songs like this at all, imbued by the orphic spirit of the region where werewolves prowl.
Bo Peep makes a guest appearance, played by Rory’s partner Adrianne. She doesn’t find her sheep.
Brendan “The Bass” Sally puts in a stint as a dapper Werewolf 2.
As Freshman Billy Browne once said: “Never seen anything like it in my life.”
This is a song that howls out a phantasmagorical authenticity. You have to look and listen with care and close attention, lest it tear your throat out.
(Turn it up to) 11 Songs About Werewolves You Really Have To Hear (Or suffer the consequences)
Werewolves of London – Warren Zevon
I’m a Werewolf Baby – Tragically Hip
Werewolf – Fiona Apple
She Wolf – Shakira
Wolf at the Door – Radiohead
The Wolf – Heart
Werewolf – Five Man Electric Band
I Was a Teenage Werewolf – The Cramps
Hungry Like the Wolf – Duran Duran
Raised By Wolves – U2
Someone’s In the Wolf – Queens of the Stone Age