It took a lot reinvention to finish up at SpiritWorld’s superb destruction. DEATHWESTERN, the Las Vegas metallic hardcore band’s preposterously superior new album, presents a totally shaped aesthetic — a complete fleshed-out universe of pulpy sonic violence impressed by Westerns, horror, outlaw nation, the occult, and the heavy metallic classics of the late twentieth century. The guitars whinny like steeds and lock into galloping thrash riffs. Band mastermind Stu Folsom blurs the road between guttural warfare cries and anguished howls, portraying a doomed desert lowlife who finds new function as an instrument of bloody divine vengeance. The world-building expands past the music into exceptionally gnarly music movies, a companion brief story assortment by Folsom additionally dropping Friday, and reside reveals that see the band donning Western fits and cowboy hats.
This obscenely enjoyable and interesting challenge didn’t come out of nowhere. It’s extra just like the grand end result of a artistic imaginative and prescient that has been evolving for years. When Justin “Stu” Brundy began the metalcore act Folsom twenty years in the past, the band identify betrayed his curiosity in nation music. In 2017, Brundy — who was by then going by Stu Folsom — launched SpiritWorld to indulge his love of cowpunk, name-checking X, Dwight Yoakam, and Lucero in interviews and even releasing a tune referred to as “Zevon Endlessly.” (He printed up SpiritWorld hoodies emblazoned with the identical phrase.) These early SpiritWorld recordings have been an unusually potent model of the overdone punk-goes-country pivot, matching twangy Telecasters with blunt-force barking to invigorating impact. It was a sound Folsom would quickly discard, nevertheless it was a crucial transitional part.
When debut album Pagan Rhythms emerged final yr, SpiritWorld had undergone a wild metamorphosis. The Outdated West roots remained, however the cowpunk factor was over. This was now a full-fledged metallic band, punishingly heavy and giddily dedicated to its storyline about Devil coming to Earth to destroy humanity. (Key title: “Armageddon Honkytonk & Saloon.”) Every monitor barreled forward like a Fury Highway truck stuffed with burly demonic cowboys kicking up clouds of mud on their technique to demolish the following city over. Folsom’s orc-like bellows and rallying cries have been vivid of their depiction of a cursed world overrun by hell. It was a holy-shit triumph of a file, each an announcement of function and proof of idea. And with their second album, SpiritWorld have topped it.
DEATHWESTERN begins, naturally, with Ennio Morricone-style Spaghetti Western scene-setting. One sampled voice asks, “Are you anti-Christ, or are you for Christ? These are your solely choices.” One other exclaims, “Nicely, what are we ready for? Let’s discover a saloon!” With that, we’re whisked away into the pummeling, screaming brutality of the title monitor. Over chugging riffage Folsom describes as “100% intentional White Zombie worship” — it jogs my memory extra of Pantera due to all these pinch harmonics — Folsom howls, “I heard the preacher say/ Our savior died to absolve our sins/ However a wretch like me don’t want a cross, simply the tip of a rope!” Additional character improvement follows on “Relic Of Damnation,” which toggles between “For Whom The Bell Tolls” homage and relentless rapid-fire chug: “I may have swore I noticed the Satan on a sawdust flooring/ In a honky tonk in North Texas/ However possibly it was simply the booze/ Or possibly all of the Mescaline!”
As a author, Folsom is brilliantly dedicated to his shtick. As heard on “The Heretic Butcher,” his character sketches are concise and evocative: “I by no means felt alive/ ‘Til the day I discovered/ My fingers across the throat/ Of a heretic rejecting the sunshine!” However earlier than you may grasp his conceptual genius, what’s sure to seize you first is the music itself. Like a lot of the metallic they’re channeling right here, SpiritWorld are monumentally heavy but far too agile and dynamic to get caught within the muck. Simply as crucially, Folsom understands how yelling can operate as a hook. That is doubly obvious on the quickie deep minimize “Crucified Heathen Scum,” which inserts in a number of chorus-worthy segments regardless of operating lower than two minutes. “His eternal gentle shines down on me!” Folsom hollers midway by means of, extending the phrase “gentle” till you are feeling it burn. Ultimately, he lets the phrase “crucified” grasp within the air the identical means till his bandmates puncture the strain with a gang-chanted “heathen scum!”
Like Pagan Rhythms earlier than it, DEATHWESTERN is an idea album, with each musical and thematic continuity throughout its tracklist. Typically it feels just like the file isn’t constructed from particular person songs a lot as actions inside a gory symphony that owes as a lot to Slayer as Cormac McCarthy. Lots of people had a hand in its creation — longtime producer Sam Pura, whose identify finds its means into “Purafied In Violence”; a crew of bandmates together with Folsom’s brother Nick Brundy; visitor shredding from a forged of guitarists for acts starting from Black Dahlia Homicide to Kim Petras(!); even an look by Dwid Hellion of kindred spirits Integrity on a tune referred to as “Moonlit Torture & Genital Mutilation”(!!) — but its strengths and quirks all stream from Folsom’s enraptured experience. This man spent one thing like 20 years in search of the truest manifestation of his passions. He’s discovered it. With DEATHWESTERN, we now get to step inside Folsom’s thoughts and behold his singular twisted imaginative and prescient. We simply may not depart with all our limbs.
DEATHWESTERN is out 11/25 on Century Media.
Different albums of observe out this week:
• Fievel Is Glauque’s Flaming Swords
• Stormzy’s This Is What I Imply
• Rabit’s What Goals Could Come
• Elder’s Innate Passage
• Nightshift’s Made Of The Earth
• Waajeed’s Memoirs Of Hello-Tech Jazz
• Marcus Paquin’s Our Love
• Excessive Command’s Eclipse Of The Twin Moons
• Stargaze’s ONE
• Tchornobog and Abyssal’s cut up LP
• Daniel Vangarde’s The Vaults Of Zagora Data Mastermind (1971-1984), a comp of Daft Punk member Thomas Bangalter’s father’s music
• David Bowie’s DAVID BOWIE DIVINE SYMMETRY field set
• The Remedy’s Want thirtieth Anniversary Deluxe Version
• The Flaming Lips’ Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots: twentieth Anniversary Deluxe Version
• Celtic Frost’s Danse Macabre field set
• Tom Petty’s Reside At The Fillmore
• David Crosby’s David Crosby & The Lighthouse Band Reside At The Capitol Theatre
• Elvis Costello’s The Boy Named If (Alive At Memphis Magnetic)
• Trey Anastasio’s The Beacon Jams
• Journey frontman Andy Bell’s Untitled Movie Stills covers EP
• Devo member Gerald V. Casale’s The Invisible Man EP