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Horror business

Punk's not dead, but Atlanta ghoul-rockers Knife and the Stabs have cannibalized its traditions, bringing an '80s feel to a modern stage. Driven by the same youthful abandon as classic American punk acts Black Flag, Minor Threat and the Misfits, the Stabs give nostalgia a bloody makeover without a hint of irony.

Formed in the winter of 2001, the group's back-to-basics punk anthems lashed out at the city's waning punk community. Vocalist David West Evens (aka Knife), drummer Sherman Byrd and guitarist Josh Martin cut their teeth attending shows at the now-defunct punk bastion, the 513 Club. When 513 closed its doors in 2000, it left a void in the local scene that gave them no choice but to take action. "We formed this group because no one was playing this kind of music," says Knife. "Loud, fast, three-chord punk rock just wasn't happening." The group christened itself the unofficial house band at local "D.I.Y. spot/all ages hangout" the Neutron Bomb, and a bloodbath ensued.

Fancying the title "murder punk," the group wields an arsenal of thrashing energy and lyrics written straight from the heart of a lovelorn killer. Songs pay homage to the group's musical predecessors while deriving murderous inspiration from the silver screen.

"Most of our songs are love songs that turn vicious," says Knife. "I love horror movies — and it all comes through in the music."

Knife and the Stabs play the Neutron Bomb Fri., Dec. 12. $5.