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“Spaghetti Western Dub Vol. 1” Review By Post Punk Monk

Chopper Franklin’s “Spaghetti Western Dub Vol. 1” Was The Album I’d Waited Over 40 Years To Hear – by post punk monk .com

Chopper Franklin’s  - Spaghetti Western Dub - Post Punk Dub
Mather Louth + Chopper Franklin © Justin Rosenberg

Let me begin the tale in the following way. It was 1981 when listening to WPRK-FM the college radio station that I kept my ear glued to in the holiest of musical years. Slipped into the playlists was a single by a band new to my ears: Theatre Of Hate. The single was the stentorian fusion of Post-Punk and Spaghetti Western ethos and most importantly, the 12″ version was the song mixed into a massive dub concoction as produced by The Clash’s Mick Jones. I’ve had that 12″ single and the “Westworld” album for over 30 years.

Then a few years passed and at the decade’s midpoint, I was enamored of the 4AD band Colourbox. I bought everything I could get my hands on. In 1986 there was a CD compilation simply called “Colourbox” and it had another tantalizing glimpse of the mesmerizing fusion of Spaghetti Western music and Dub in “Looks Like We’re Shy One Horse/Shootout.” I couldn’t help but think that the two disparate styles of music got on like a house on fire. So when was someone going to really deliver the Spaghetti Western Vs. Dub goods that made all the sense on the world to my ears? As it turned out, I had to wait another 37 years, but ex-Cramps bassist turned Gothic Gunslinger Chopper Franklin has dared to venture in the dusty arroyos of the Spaghetti Western genre and has fused it with Dub to deliver a cinematic musical vibe chock-full of wild hybrid vigor. Ladies and gentlemen; we present “Spaghetti Western Dub Vol. 1.”

Moreover, he’s dared to create mostly vocal songs in the styles we’re talking about. I was astonished because the Spaghetti Western genre was primarily an instrumental groove. I love great guitar instrumental music, so I have a few Spaghetti comps I picked up in the 90s on the heels of the resurgence of surf rock I was enjoying at the time. These songs sported narratives every bit as evocative as the films of the genre itself, with antiheroes riding to their doom in a desperate moral vacuum not unlike the one in Film Noir… only set in the lawless West.

As Mr. Franklin has been helming the Gothic Americana group The Heathen Apostles for years, he wisely enlisted his vocalist in that group, the multifaceted Mather Louth, to sink her teeth into these songs. There were also male vocals courtesy of The Phantom Of The Black Hills, a Gothic Desperado band also on Franklin’s Ratchet Blade Records label [the man is a one man industry unto himself!]. When I pressed the play button I was rewarded with an album that I had high hopes for that easily surpassed my expectations.


Chopper Franklin’s  - Spaghetti Western Dub - Post Punk Dub
Ratchet Blade Records | US | CD | 2024 | RBR 752

“Blood, Tears, And Thunder DUB” featured the intro to the song rising in the distance like a cloud of dust as synth drones and reverberating vocal snatches came into focus like a whipcrack as Ms. Louth provided the omniscient narrator role to the tale of desperation and violence over the Dub Reggae rhythms that afforded Franklin a spotlight for his powerful bass work. Power which was absolutely matched by the verve of Ms. Louth who was blissfully, surprisingly, channeling the bold, brassy delivery of Dame Shirley Bassey on these songs! It was not enough to merely mix Spaghetti Western and Dub in this cauldron, but the element X of the vocals came in at a third angle to create an absolutely spellbinding fusion of genres. Gleefully mashing up wildly disparate vibes from the sixties and the seventies. Listen here.

The first song had been a pre-release single. So too was “The Scorpion Says DUB.” The interplay between the dubbed out, skittery rim hits and the rolling bassline was an evocative foundation for which Ms. Louth added the cream of her intoxicating vocals. Damnation has never sounded so luxurious! And while I think of Spaghetti Western, and Dub, for that matter, as instrumental music, the incisive lyrics from Mr. Franklin’s pen slice right to the dark heart of the genre with such poetic examination of the ripe themes we find in the Spaghetti Western genre. “Cowards and maggots” indeed!

Then the fever peaked on “The Day The Men Died.” The dubbed out melodica added a mournful mien as subterranean bass drone painted the bleakest of pictures. The only glimpse of hope in the soundstage was the subtle mandolin that was almost trampled under hoof. Throughout it thus far, Ms. Louth had been the dispassionate narrator, but the stakes got really high on this track and she was spitting out the lyric like Grace Jones in dominatrix mode. Eventually crossing the line into seething instead of singing. Biting down with violence on the lyric. The heartless reverb of the Dub mix only salting our wounds further. And then, in a masterstroke, the second vocalist entered the song.

The Phantom Of The Black Hills sang the point of view of a condemned prisoner of the song’s title. Here he reminded me of Zodiac Mindwarp’s grizzled delivery as he sang the tale of a vicious and unrepentant man of violence as he profanely spat in the eye of propriety to his very last breath. What a song and what performances! The singers here were singing like they meant every word.

Chopper Franklin’s  - Spaghetti Western Dub - Post Punk Dub
The Phantom Of The Black Hills and band with Mather Louth © CS Fly

The next track gave the spotlight to The Phantom Of The Black Hills after his, uh, arresting star turn in the previous song. The dark energy of the last song receded somewhat as “Gold In Every Hand” proffered The Phantom singing the verses in a very lazy Lee Hazelwood fashion as a world weary narrator before roaring more defiantly on the song’s chorus. Tar pit bass and vocal samples from actual Spaghetti Westerns pulling us along for the ride.

A dialogue sample of “String him up, muchachos!” opened the instrumental Dub of “You Can’t Drown Your Sorrows In Blood.” Mournful peals of tubular bells added their desolate vibe to the melodica that took the tuneful lead here in the absence of a singer this time. This track was along the lines of what I had been expecting up front by the project, but I hadn’t know what singing we’d be in store for on the album when I first was looking into it.

Chopper Franklin’s  - Spaghetti Western Dub - Post Punk Dub
The edition of 200 CDs comes signed in a screen-printed package

The perfect point between a vocal and instrumental number was reached on the haunting “The Ghost Of A Believer DUB” where film dialogue of a woman was given counterpoint by the mournful refrain by The Phantom Of The Black Hills, barely there in the mix as indeed, a ghostly presence in the song, singing “lay me down, in fields of stone.” Crafting a hook that gets caught in my mind for hours at a time.

The final “The Return of Revenge DUB” gave the bass guitar the last word on the album for an instrumental coda before the album had two bonus tracks added to the mix. It had been a radical tactic for Franklin to offer dub mixes of vocal songs in the first place, but the methodology of the album called for each track to gradually give way to Dub dissipation by the end of the cut as the version energy took over. On the last two tracks, we got to hear what were the “straight” Spaghetti Western versions of the first two tracks in all of their defiant majesty. All strings, horns, and rolling tympani. Does it work? Absolutely! But the world has no shortage of Spaghetti Western compositions already.

The great leap here was not only in making Dub mixes of such material, but then putting strong and charismatic singers in the songs. Giving me three different vectors of pleasure every time I listen to it. Marveling at how my wish for a full album of Spaghetti Western in Dub has finally been granted; magnificently, by Chopper Franklin with Mather Louth and The Phantom of the Black Hills. There are 200 signed and numbered CDs of this one in the band’s Bandcamp store with rich screen-printed artwork just begging to be taken home. And there’s an international version CD that features affordable postage to Europe! They have thought of their audience! If you’ve ever thrilled to a Spaghetti Western soundtrack, or chilled to a Dub version, then brother, have they got the album for you! You know the score. DJ hit that button!

Posted on  by postpunkmonk


Heathen Apostles in London – Giants of the Gothic Americana Scene

Heathen Apostles in London - Giants of the Gothic Americana SceneAs if plucked from a surreal spaghetti western, Mather Louth and Chopper Franklin made quite the spectacle, striding down London’s Pentonville Road in full regalia. That enigmatic sight not only awakened that mysterious voice in one’s head, that in moments of aging self-doubt makes us slip back into our leather trousers and cut-off cowboy shirts, but also sparked a throwback to Lux Interior’s pre-show red wine chase at Sainsbury’s before a barnstormer at the Town and Country in Kentish Town, many, many moons ago.

The crowd erupted in jubilant cheers as the Heathen Apostles, giants of the Gothic Americana scene, took the stage. Under the sonic leadership of the completely mesmerizing Mather Louth, with her stirring vocals and rhythmic guitar, they came alive. They dominated the stage as if they were vampire outlaws in a confrontation that could only end one way. Their performance, laced with elements of the surreal and the mysterious, unraveled like a vividly illustrated Nathaniel Hawthorne poem, with each musician playing a key part. Chopper Franklin’s fiendishly intricate guitar work, Thomas Lorioux‘s firm upright bass, and Luis Mascaro’s evocative violin added a rich depth to their sound.
Heathen Apostles in London - Giants of the Gothic Americana Scene

With the first haunting notes of Paint the Stars, we were swept away on a spiritual journey deep into the heart of Gothic Americana. The set was a gripping ride through spectral ballads and propulsive rock anthems that navigated through shadowy and mystifying terrains. Mather Louth’s resonant vocals, laced with an eerie undercurrent, twined with Mascaro’s assertive fiddle, piercing the creeping fog of dry ice, and stirring images of phantom prairies and forsaken souls. Her voice flowed seamlessly with Chopper Franklin’s guitar, which spun complex webs of sound, vibrating with the soul of Gothic storytelling.

The crowd was held captive by Mather’s powerful voice during songs like Lily of the West. Simultaneously, Chopper’s feverish guitar work in Gravedigger’s Song and Long Gone Lonesome Blues created a seamless blend of Americana with Gothic allure. The musicians’ harmonious interplay, bolstered by Lorioux’s rhythmic prowess and Mascaro’s poignant violin, further captivated the audience during Two for the Road and Without a Trace.
Heathen Apostles in London - Giants of the Gothic Americana Scene

The atmosphere was dense as Get Outta Dodge and The Reckoning reverberated through the venue, making its very foundations tremble. The spectral melodies, captivating visuals, and the dark allure crafted by Heathen Apostles surrounded the audience in a world between reality and the supernatural, evoking a sense of adventure and mystery.

As the twilight fell over Islington, the echoes of the soul-stirring fusion of Gothic Americana and Country and Western continued to reverberate through The Lexington. Even as the embers died down, we were left yearning for more. The Heathen Apostles had etched themselves into our dark hearts, ensuring their spectral melodies and mystical storytelling would stay with us long after the last note had faded into the night.

Heathen Apostles in London - Giants of the Gothic Americana Scene


Gothic Americana Supergroup – Heathen Apostles Live

Gothic Americana supergroup The Heathen Apostles at The Edge of The Wedge, Southsea: ‘Americana and Bluegrass’ | Review
If you’re familiar with the gritty western TV show Deadwood, you could imagine The Heathen Apostles as the ideal inhouse band for Al Swearengen’s Gem Saloon. By Chris Broom

Heathen Apostles Review - Gothic Americana Supergroup

If not (and why not?) picture a dusty, wild west town where talk is cheap and life is cheaper still – but with a great soundtrack.
Hailing from Los Angeles, the four-piece play a gothic take on Americana and bluegrass – which they have aptly dubbed ‘bloodgrass’. And the band walk it like they talk it – no casual jeans and T-shirts here – the men are dressed in funeral-black suits while frontwoman Mather Louth cuts a striking pose with her waist-length red hair. They look as if they could have stepped off the high plains circa 1890.

Heathen Apostles Review - Gothic Americana Supergroup

Over the course of five albums and various EPs the band have carved themselves a distinctive niche.
Louth’s voice veers from the beguilingly sweet to a snarl that suggests you’d better not cross her.
The set draws on their own material as well as several well-picked covers, including a brace from the ‘hillbilly Shakespeare’, Hank Williams, Sr – Ramblin’ Man and Long Gone Lonesome Blues, the latter getting as close to pure country as this band allow. Another welcome cover is the haunting, natural fit of Mark Lanegan’s Gravedigger’s Song – another artist who was more than a little in touch with his dark side.
Guitarist/mandolin player Chopper Franklin is a veteran of the late-’70s punk scene, and at times attacks his instruments like he’s still in one of those bands. He is an imposing, impressive figure, towering over Louth.
Meanwhile the fingers of Thomas Lorioux on standup bass are frequently a blur as he anchors the others with his furious basslines.
Along the way there are murder ballads, a hefty heap of heaven’n’hell, and plenty of booze – the main set finishes with their own song, Two For The Road.
The final encore, a thundering The Reckoning, is preceded by violinist Luis Mascaro’s blistering version of Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor – a piece more typically associated with the organ. I can comfortably say I’ve never heard anything like it. If the devil came down to Southsea instead of Georgia, he would have surely lost his bet again.
This has been the band’s first, long overdue UK tour. Devil willing, they’ll be back soon for more dark and delicious fun.


London Celtic Punks Reviews Gothic Country Outfit Heathen Apostles EP

The Los Angeles-based dark roots & gothic country outfit Heathen Apostles release their third volume collection of songs at once as timely as they are timeless.

Gothic Country Outfit

Imagine bands doing to Country / Bluegrass music what the bands we all love doing to Celtic music? Add on a bit of Goth and you’ve got the Heathen Apostles. An LA based band featuring ex-members of Radio Noir (Mather Louth), The Cramps (Chopper Franklin) and Kings of Nuthin’ (Thomas Lorioux) in its ranks, they have been on these pages before but not for an in-depth review. Mather, of course, was recently on these pages as co-vocalist on the new album from fellow ‘Doom-billy’ merchants The Phantom Of The Black Hills, an album that still holds the #1 spot in my heart of all 2021 releases. Though she had recorded with the Phantom before this time, her input was a lot more than just a great voice with her assisting with writing and lyrics.

Gothic Country Outfit

Sadly, this review is going to be published after their tour of mainland Europe comes to an end, so any new fans who may have had the chance will have missed them. Their tour of Europe was cancelled twice before as the music industry ground to a stop because of the Covid pandemic, but it did mean the Heathen Apostles were gifted time. Time that they were not expecting due to their busy schedules and while some bands were happy to rest upon their laurels, they channeled the turbulent year’s events and its complex emotions into their music. It was only last month that they released a 3-track EP as featured in Lorin Morgan-Richards Western animated series The Goodbye Family, about a fictional family of undertakers based on a comic book. The show is available on You Tube and features the Heathens music throughout.

Gothic Country Outfit The third volume of Bloodgrass follows on from one and two released in 2017 and 2018 respectively, and Bloodgrass #3 is a worthy follow up to the two previous volumes, both available on the bands Bandcamp (click HERE).

So Volume three arrives and begins with ‘Bad Patch’ and continues their dark interpretation of Bluegrass, Country and Blues. Fiddle, banjo and mandolin accompany Mather’s beautiful voice as she sings of the tragedy of the 1930’s Dust Bowl, a series of severe dust storms that greatly damaged the ecology of mid-west American prairies during the 1930’s. Besides the great lyrics the song is musically a bit more ‘radio friendly’ Heathen Apostles, while ‘Careful What You Pray For’ is more of the dark Gothic Americana they are known for. The song tells of the danger of religious dogma and cements Mather as having one of the best voices in alternative music… or just music. ‘Black Hawk’ was the lead single for the EP and I’ll not pretend to have any idea what the lyrics are about except it’s a a tale of transformation by shedding the darkness in order to welcome in the light.

Yeah, that is from the press release as if you didn’t know, but be sure to check out the video as along with their label-mates The Phantom Of the Black Hills, their videos tell entire stories and are as far from our usual fare as you can get. Despite being closely linked in many ways to the Phantom, the Heathen Apostles have a very definite and original sound. There is no one else who resembles them, making it hard to review them as it’s so original. Rooted in the definition of ‘Folk’ they mangle up several genres while adding much to the final sound. ‘Demi Monde’ is a slow song dominated by all the usual elements and shrouded in occult imagery paying homage to the fires of Beltane. ‘Tall Rider’ brings down the curtain on the EP on a positive note. I mean even the Sisters of Mercy were sometimes upbeat (ish!). Catchy as hell and a reminder of the possibility to heal through love. Great fiddle throughout that does lead a lot of the time, but without dominating thanks in no small part to the excellent production of master producer Chopper Franklin.

This dark roots & gothic country EP may only be five songs long, but it’s length, at almost twenty minutes, is almost as much as some albums we hear. Their recent tour took in mainly Germany (the Germans are good at spotting American bands), but I can’t see how this band with a bit of luck and the right promotion it won’t be long before their a name on everybody’s lips and they’ll be back touring in your country too.

Review by London Celtic Punks, read the full review HERE.


ViolaNoir.com Review of Bloodgrass Volume 3 EP

Bloodgrass Vol. 3 EPThe following is a reprint of ViolaNoir.com Review of  the Bloodgrass Volume 3 EP :

The next part of the Bloodgrass series from Heathen Apostles can be attributed to the Covid 19 pandemic, because its creation was provoked by a protracted lockdown, and the thematic content reflects the general depressed state of the scene with a timid glimmer of hope.

The opening track Bad Patch, where the 30s and modern times is so successfully intertwined, is permeated with pure melancholy, which is extremely unusual for the latest releases of Heathen Apostles. Careful What You Pray For bets on the mystical component and wins. The ballad Black Hawk is filled to the brim with the authenticity of the Gothic Americana genre in its current state. The lulling Demi Monde is also something new to the familiar sound of the project. Tall Rider as a typical dark country parable.

This release fully respects the good tradition of Bloodgrass – as in the two previous numbered releases, it contains all the most colorful both in terms of genre and in terms of creativity by Heathen Apostles. The only thing that distinguishes the third part is a slight melancholy, sadness and thoughtfulness – but those are the times we are in.

Viola Noir

You can listen to the Bloodgrass Volume 3 EP HERE.


Phantom of the Black Hills – Gothic Bluegrass Album Review

gothic BluegrassFrom the London Celtic Punks website: “One of the best bands to wield a banjo IN THE WORLD Phantom Of The Black Hills soak in influences as varied as Country, Punk, Goth, Folk and gothic Bluegrass with distorted vocals and mysterious mystique and a dark, very dark ethos.

That Witch is their 6th studio album and they are accompanied by Mather Louth from renowned ‘Gothic Americana’ band Heathen Apostles.

To put it simply Phantom Of The Black Hills are fantastic!!

When I saw that their was a new Phantom Of The Black Hills album on the way I can admit to being pretty bloody excited. Even though I love music we receive so much here at London Celtic Punks Towers that it is hard sometimes to rally up enthusiasm for new releases but for That Witch I was even willing to pay (those that know me will know how incredible that is!). Luckily for my Scots /Yorkshire sensibilities I was incredibly lucky to receive a free download from Ratchet Blade Records and it’s not left my lugholes ever since!

gothic Bluegrass

The Phantom and Mather Louth

That Witch had originally been planned for release in 2020 but with all the shit going on was delayed almost a year. For those wishing to pigeonhole the label’s most bandied about for the Phantom Of The Black Hills are ‘hellbilly’, ‘frontier-core’ or ‘doom country’ and all capture them pretty fairly squarely and imaginatively. Taking elements of Country, Folk, Punk, Psychobilly and gothic Bluegrass music, while mixing traditional instruments like mandolin, banjo and fiddle but combining them with fiercely dark and angry polemic, crunching guitars, snarling distorted vocals, intense sound effects and cleverly used movie dialog this is one ‘country’ band you won’t see at the Grand Ole Opry! Shrouded in secrecy hiding themselves away from the glare of publicity the bandana’s they wear in their videos and photos are very careful not to give away any clue as to their identities so it’s kind of hard to tell you anymore about the band themselves! That Witch is their sixth album, the last being Scalped in 2017. That album was to first to feature guest vocals from the lovely Mather Louth on ‘Wild Witch Of The West’ (be sure to check out the brilliant video). She also doubles up as the lead singer of excellent fellow ‘Gothic Americana’ band Heathen Apostles and she guest vocals on pretty much the whole of That Witch giving the album that little extra special range.

Phantom of the Black Hills

That Witch begins in superb form with ‘Rising Son’ and The Phantom snarling his way through a song that takes the point of view of Native American’s and their resistance to the early settlers who sought to steal their land and force them onto special reservations.

“This ain’t Oklahoma
And I was here long before ya
Mistress Darkness has come
And when the night is done
I’m the rising son”

The song is a slow burner. A dark foreboding of what is to come building to a climax in the lyrics rather than the tune. Excellent fiddle throughout from El Gato is matched by Popeye on guitar, banjo and bass and Deacon on drums.

‘That Witch’ sees The Phantom and Mather dueling it out on vocals and it’s another dark slower song and I think it’s fair to say that while their albums have progressively darker the sound has mellowed somewhat though the heaviness of the music does mitigate that. You often think you’re listening to a much faster song than you actually are. We get a fast one next with the album’s lead single ‘Buck Knife’ and the tragic tale of a veteran of the Civil War suffering from PTSD. On returning to his home town he is shunned and the story climaxes in a orgy of deadly violence before ending with the kind of twist to make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck.

Heathen Apostles are one hell of a band in their own right and it is absolute genius to team her up with the Phantom Of the Black Hills. The perfect foil to The Phantom’s vocals her beautiful voice on ‘Lady Judas’ belies the story while we do see a lot less of the electric guitar like on next track ‘Moon Killer’ with vocals now dominating but it works a treat and the distorted vocals are still clear enough to understand every word and the various tales of  violence, drunkenness, debauchery and revenge.

“Time to take a vow and consecrate
Using skin and motion as my bait
The cauldron is a-bubblin’
Got to go and show him sin
Lucifer just don’t want to wait…”

‘Hunger’ is co-written by Mather Louth and the band and she leads here her voice soaring above the bands train-like rumble and that majestic fiddle.  The Phantom takes the rein back for ‘Road To Bleeding’. This is the kind of song that previously they would have slung hard and heavy electric guitar all over but now they treat more gently. ‘Sin & Sanctify’ is as close (still not that close really) as they come to a traditional Country song while the album continues to its violent conclusion with two of the album’s best songs ‘Wicked Storm’ and the storming ‘Attack’.

Phantom of the Black Hills - gothic Bluegrass

That Witch was released July 2nd on Ratchet Blade Records. The Los Angeles based label home to the Heathen Apostles, Doghouse Lords, the Mau Maus, Charley Horse, Berlin Brats and many more. Ratchet Blade Records describes itself, correctly, as “the best in dark roots music”. Once again it features the amazingly talented former The Cramps bassist, and current Heathen Apostles one, Chopper Franklin on production duties. To be honest I’m kinda upset this ain’t a Celtic-Punk album as it would definitely be up there in our end of year Best Of awards. Looks like I’m going to have to make up a special new category just for them!
Dark Western Music

The Phantom Of The Black Hills have come a long way since Ghosts and while their sound may not be quite as raucous as then they still are as powerful and heavy and perform even more gothic Bluegrass music than ever before. The teaming up with the beautiful Mather Louth adds a whole new dimension to the sound. It’s a dark world out there and the imagery The Phantom Of The Black Hills conjure up in the mind may not be a pleasant one but it’s an imaginative one filled with the ghosts of the wronged, deserted mines and villages, dust and dirt and the people who lived there and also the  best music the ‘old’ west can produce.”


“Prayers Before The Plague” – Gothic Country EP Review

Heathen Apostles - Gothic Country EP reviewGothic Country EP Review by Luminous Dash zine – Featuring ex-members from Radio Noir (Mather Louth, vocals), The Cramps, Mau Maus and Nick Curran & The Lowlifes (Chopper Franklin on guitar, mandolin, banjo, keyboards, drums), Kings of Nuthin’ (Thomas Lorioux, bass) and top violinist Luis Mascaro, Heathen Apostles was formed in Los Angeles and born of the voices of past lives and baptized in the dust bowl dirt. They settle into a sound that merges the contrasts between goth and Americana in a darkly rooted bohemian country atmosphere.

The Heathen Apostles is band that never seems to rest on its laurels, as you can see from their many energetic live performances and a whole series of albums, EPs and singles in their discography. This year they had a string of canceled and postponed concerts, but it gave them the opportunity to record their new EP Prayers Before The Plague. They played, and filmed, a live set at the headquarters / home of the band ‘The Devil’s Doghouse’ in Echo Park (California), included the six tracks that ended up on Prayers Before The Plague. And although nothing can match playing in front of a live audience, on the EP we find the hard driven emotions of passionate musicians on every track. “It is the band’s gift to a world that has almost no live music for most of this year. It’s also a reminder of the importance of music itself, be it bad or good times. Music and art must continue and survive ”, they say.

Heathen Apostles - Gothic Country EP Review

“Without A Trace” is immediately a strong opener, showing the authentic sound of the foursome. Excitingly lively, the violin immediately takes us on a tour along southern dry roads, where the warm dark timbre of the dark diva Mather Louth works out for a devilish side, as well as for sweet playful indulgence.

“Death’s Head” sounds a lot darker. With a raw bass line and light grit on the microphone, this track sets the perfect soundtrack for a night in which you look death, the devil and your demons straight in the eye and continue to travel your own way with those country boots with determination.

“The song seems fitting for these troubled times, but it seems like there might be a light at the end of the tunnel,” the band explains about Drowned In Trouble . An up tempo track full of rhythm, where the vocals are loaded with melancholy while the strings keep flirting along.

“Two For The Road” sounds defiantly brutal , while “The Reckoning” sounds theatrically brutal, just because the instrumental is so rich and heavy and the roughness here brings a certain mystique to the song. “Paint The Stars” ends in a bluegrass atmosphere in embracing softness.

An EP that bathes in a country and gypsy atmosphere, but with a dark, almost bloody edge. Although we lack the experience, Prayers Before The Plague may look a bit like a night with Nick Cave and Johnny Cash. A musical threesome between overheated, dark sheets filled with melancholy and spunk, which may end in a murder ballad …

The EP Prayers Before The Plague has been released digitally on the Ratchet Blade Records label.


Prayers Before The Plague – Southern Gothic Live EP (Review)

Southern Gothic Live EPHeathen Apostles – Prayers Before The Plague – Southern Gothic Live EP – By ViolaNoir.com

Live releases are probably experiencing their rebirth. Which is understandable and completely expected. However, even before the covid, Heathen Apostles pleased the audience with this. They are masters of live performances, and don’t forget about their spectacular and memorable clips. So studio work is only 2/3 of Heathen Apostles. To understand their concept, their southern rage and dark roots angst, you need to hear them live. But since such an opportunity will not be presented soon, this EP given to help us.

Without A Trace from the second LP and the undisputed hit Death’s Head create a powerful, authentic introduction, Drowned In Trouble absolute is successfully replaced by the intense history of Two For The Road. There was also a place in this set for the mystical The Reckoning from the first releases of Heathen Apostles (with a surprise intro) and the bluegrass theme of Paint The Stars.

Releases like this – an escapism session with immersive effect – will ultimately save both the genre and the scene. 8/10

Live-релизы переживают, наверное, свое второе рождение. Что понятно и совершенно ожидаемо. Впрочем, и до ковида Heathen Apostles радовали в этом плане. Они — мастера живых выступлений, перфомансов, и не стоит забывать про их зрелищные и запоминающиеся клипы. Так что студийная работа – это лишь 2/3 Heathen Apostles. Чтобы понять их концепт, их southern ярость и dark roots тоску, нужно услышать их вживую. Но поскольку такая возможность представится нескоро, нам в помощь данный Ep.

Without A Trace со второго лонгплея и безусловный хит Death’s Head создают мощное, аутентичное, колоритное вступление, абсолют southern Drowned In Trouble удачно сменяется яркой историей Two For The Road. Нашлось в этом сете место и мистическому The Reckoning с первых релизов Heathen Apostles (причем с неожиданным интро) и bluegrass теме Paint The Stars.

Такие релизы — сеанс эскапизма с эффектом присутствия — в конце концов, спасут и жанр, и сцену в общем плане. 8/10


Heathen Apostles – Dark Blues EP Review

Heathen Apostles - dark blues “So far here we have reviewed a Folk album, a Punk album and a sort of Bluesy compilation album so none of our usual uptake and that doesn’t change with this review of the latest dark blues EP from Heathen Apostles. They play a sort of Gothic Americana Blues crossed with alternative alternative country. Born By Lightning comes hot on the heels of their recently released album Dust To Dust, their fifth to date, and five new songs of what one reviewer described as “the bluegrass of Bill Monroe put into the woodshed with the Gothic tendencies of Siouxsie And The Banshees”.

Born By Lightning - dark blues Label mates to of one of my all time favourite bands Phantom Of The Black Hills, they tread much the same path but definitely in a more accessible way to yer average Joe. Fiddle and banjo aplenty here while Mather Louth’s beautiful yet powerful voice shines above all else.

Starting off with the slow Country styled Gothic ballad ‘Death Bell Blues’ a tribute to the legendary Howlin’ Wolf before leading into the dark ‘Chosen One’ which shows the Apostles at that catchiest best. The title track ‘Born By Lightning’ sees them back in darker country again with an intense ballad that builds on Mather’s voice with the rest of the band restrained before here. A million miles away from the Grand Ole Opry! The last two songs have a much harder edge, ‘Devil Comes For All Of Us’ is self explanatory while ‘Scarecrow Blues’ take us far away from traditional Country and into the realm of the ‘murder ballad’ with its tale of a social misfit  being burned out of his house only for the vigilantes to burn down the entire town while it slinks and slithers to the beat of the blues!

A Country-Bluesy-Punky affair (the band have long wanted to do a Blues style release) and with Born By Lightning they have managed to stay close to their roots and something that would also appeal to more traditional music fans too. Signed to Ratchet Blade Records which specialises in ‘Dark Roots Music’ where you can find out all you need to about this glorious genre.”

You can read the article at London Celtic Punks HERE.


Phantom of the Black Hills – Heavy Western Tribute

Here’s a great run down of the 5 Phantom of the Black Hills albums by London Celtic Punks. Their website states: “The London Celtic Punks are a group of people living in or with connections to London. We are dedicated to the promotion of Celtic-Punk music. That’s the traditional folk music of the Celtic nations (Ireland/Eire, Isle Of Man/Mannin, Scotland/Alba, Wales/Cymru, Cornwall/Kernow, Brittany/Breizh, Galicia/Galiza and Astures) mixed with rock’n’punk.” They really get heavy western music, here’s the introduction they wrote for the piece, you can check out the full article HERE.POTBH - heavy western music

Phantom of the Black Hills are one of the most innovative bands you will ever hear that has a banjo! This isn’t the Country music of Nashville or the Grand Ole Opry instead its angry polemic over bluegrass banjo, mandolin and upright bass mashed together with raucous punk guitar, blistering drums and dirty, snarling distorted vocals with extreme sound effects and movie dialogue samples. They are one of my favourite bands so I thought I’d attempt to convert a few of you lot too.

The Black Hills are a mountain range in South Dakota famous for the Mount Rushmore memorial of the four presidential heads of Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln carved into the granite. It’s also an area where large populations of Scots and Scots-Irish settled which may explain the areas fondness for moonshine. Production of illegal alcohol that is still widespread today. Another possible by-product of the Celtic on the local population is widespread mistrust of all government. Many see themselves as outlaws and in the Black Hills you are unlikely to find a Vegan coffee shop or demand for stricter gun control laws. Phantom Of The Black Hills are a band that shy away from publicity. From the bandana’s that hide their faces in their videos and photos to their Web-Site and Facebook page that are very careful not to give away any clue as to their identities. 


Dark Entries Magazine – Gothic Roots “Dust To Dust” Album Review

dark roots musicGothic rootsgothic countrySouthern Gothic or dark Americana are terms used to describe the music of Heathen Apostles. The band operates from Los Angeles, California and their first album dates from 2013. So basically it is traditional American country and folk, bluegrass or ‘hillbilly’ music with a black edge and akin to genres such as cowpunk, gothabilly or hellbilly (think of Ghoultown , Gravetown or DAD ) but also alt-country (bands like Whiskeytown , 16 Horsepower or Woven Hand ) or the murder ballads of Nick Cave for example .

Several musicians from Heathen Apostles also have a past in similar bands. One musician is punk rock veteran Chopper Franklin (guitar, banjo, mandolin, keyboards, drums and also responsible for the production) and he has a history in The Cramps , Nick Curran & The Lowlifes and Mau Maus . Singer Mather Louth previously sang with Radio Noir. Thomas Lorioux (standing bass) was in The Kings Of Nuthin’ and former drummer Stevyn Grey had a history with Christian Death and 45 Grave. The current line-up also includes  violinist Luis Mascaro .

“Dust To Dust” (13 tracks, 53 minutes playing time), the fifth album from Heathen Apostles, appearing again on Ratchet Blade Records , a label specialized in such bands. The three men in the band look like black suited cowboys in nineteenth-century outfits and the singer from the company like a Victorian lady from the same period and also with a black hat just like her male colleagues.

My criticism of the previous release, “Bloodgrass Vol. 1 “ EP, was that it was very good, but that it could be a bit darker and musically more gothic or punk, because it was more pure Americana than a real crossover into the gothic roots genre. It seems whether this criticism was completely taken to heart because this is fully true on “Dust To Dust”. Just listen to the magnificent opening song “Burn It To The Ground” with cello, rocking electric guitar and some sort of panting whisper, followed by the uplifting up-tempo folky (sounding like a horse hopping over the prairie) song  “Rise”. “The Bride”, with whisper singing in the stanzas and catchy melancholic wailing violin playing, is also one of the toppers. We are also served dark roots murder ballads such as “Home Sweet Holmes”, drinking songs such as “Two For The Road” in addition to quite a few more compelling songs.

gothic roots musicI can imagine most songs in an interpretation of Inkubus Sukkubus . Inkubus Sukkubus fans who like a more ‘country’ or ‘bluegrass’ version of their beloved goth rock / folk band should definitely check out these Heathen Apostles. The same goes for goths who like Johnny Cash , by the way!

All songs on this album were written by the Louth / Franklin duo with one exception: the traditional “In The Pines”. “In The Pines” is a powerful song that I already knew in a different version and about which I hurt my brain for days, from where I knew this song. The song was often attributed to Leadbelly but is actually older and not composed by Leadbelly himself. The composer disappeared in the darkness of time – as is usually the case with traditionals and that is what traditionals are for. So the song is often attributed to the legendary folk and blues singer Leadbelly (Huddie William Ledbetter , 1880-1949) because he recorded one of the first versions under the name “Black Girl”and I also have this on CD but it was not this version that haunted me. No, that turned out to be Nirvana ‘s. They release this song on the album “MTV Unplugged In New York” (1994) under the title “Where Did You Sleep Last Night” . The song is also attributed to Leadbelly on the Nirvana album, which is in fact incorrect. In any case, the version that Heathen Apostles brings here is enchantingly beautiful, dramatic and sensitive sung and accompanied by banjo and violin with the sound of the wind at the end and certainly not inferior to that of Leadbelly nor that of Kurt Cobain and co. Top album! Rating: 9 of 10 stars


Hard Americana Album Review of Dust to Dust By Indy Metal Review

Hard Americana Chris Latta of Indy Metal Review had a great take (and an ‘A’ rating!) on the Gothic, Hard Americana flavor of the new Heathen Apostles album Dust To Dust (which is actually the band’s fifth album)…

While Heathen Apostles’ third album is their first proper full-length since 2015’s Fire to the Fuse, it fits right in with the EPs that were released in between. The two Bloodgrass volumes set up a foreboding direction for the gothic country group’s already dark sound that Dust to Dust is happy to develop even further. There’s a sense of buildup as tempos are decidedly slower and one can detect tension in the air throughout.

This tension is especially potent during the album’s first half. “Burn it to the Ground” makes for a scorching call to arms right off the bat, riding an ominous verse complete with a chorus whose vocals manage to alternate between whispers and Disturbed-esque pants without sounding too silly. “One True Belief” and “The Bride” make for additional highlights thanks to their exotic yet sinister rhythms. “Home Sweet Holmes” is easily the most stirring of the lot, an inevitability when you pair up an electrifying twang with a narrative about The Devil in the White City…

Of course, there are plenty of lower key moments to be found as well. “Paradise Lost” features a subtler structure compared to the album’s more in your face moments, but its slow burn is tastefully executed. “Where the Waters Meet” follows it up with more abstract rhythms and “In the Pines” is a gorgeous update of a folk ballad classic. There’s also something to be said for the upbeat simplicity on “Two for the Road” and “The Fall.”

Through it all, the musicianship is exceptional. The alto vocals exhibit a variety of husky croons, esoteric whispers, and sneered spoken word that work to see through the stories they tell. The foundations are carried by a sturdy of guitar, banjo, and mandolin that avoid getting too cluttered and the occasional violin makes for gorgeous texturing. The drums also deserve props for playing the right amount, providing energy during the most intense sequences without getting too overbearing.

Hard Americana

Despite a four-year gap between full-lengths, Heathen Apostles’ third album sustains their momentum quite nicely. Dust to Dust doesn’t stray too far from the gothic country sound set up by its predecessors, but a thematic symbiosis of dark barn burners and more subtle ventures results in what may be the band’s most powerful effort to date. This isn’t the most revolutionary album by any means, but fans of more macabre persuasions are encouraged to check it out.

Highlights:
“Burn it to the Ground”
“One True Belief”
“The Bride”
“Paradise Lost”
“Home Sweet Holmes”

Editor Grade A


Dark Country Music – Review of Dust To Dust By Rootsville.com

Dark Country With the Heathen Apostles we entered into the dark side of the music; we are at the dark country music of “Bloodgrass” as they have come to call it. The Heathen Apostles consist of Mather Louth, Chopper Franklin, Thomas Lorioux and Luis Mascaro and are from the “City of Angels” aka Los Angeles, California. Punk rock veteran Chopper Franklin has played in groups such as The Cramps and Nick Curran & The Lowlifes, and those are definitely names that stand out. And with femme fatale Mather Louth the mutual admiration for murder ballads, Americana Noir and Memento Mori came into the picture and soon the Heathen Apostles was created.

Dust To Dust is their 5th album and brings them to Europe for the promotion of their new album. On the album we find 13 songs from which almost all songs are a creation of Mather Louth and Chopper Franklin; only the traditional In The Pines is the exception to the rule. The opener on the album is Burn In To The Ground where they immediately showcase the characteristics of their music. A mix of Gothic and Americana is how they come to create their own sound; it’s a sound where the lyrics are usually darker than the melodies.

Dark Country musicThe common thread throughout the album, in addition to the powerful and clear vocals of Mather Louth, is the penetrating violin playing by Luis Mascaro, and it is all enhanced by multi-instrumentalist Chopper Franklin and double bass player Thomas Lorioux. This mix of two contradictory directions in the contemporary music scene seems to work wonderfully with the Heathen Apostles. From threatening songs like Two For The Road, to morbid-feeling ballads like The Bride, they know how to create an atmosphere that is at one with their way of playing and living. Bringing together an absolute connection of dark and sometimes eerie-looking aesthetics with Gothic music and art, the Heathen Apostles has succeeded without too much trouble, and in a perfect balance.

Jumping out of the box or not at all, the traditional In The Pines is a song that carries a veil of dark mysticism throughout its existence. Also very morbid to the touch is Easeful Death, but then everything seems to clear up again by bringing the catchy  tune The Fall. The closing of Dust To Dust is Out Of The Ground and with that we had a more than appreciated introduction to these Gothic Outlaws.

tracks:

01 Burn In To The Ground 
02 Rise 
03 Two For The Road 
04 One True Belief 
05 The Bride 
06 Paradise Lost 
07 Where The Waters Meet 
08 Home Sweet Holmes 
09 In The Pines 
10 Easeful Death 
11 Through The Forest, Through The Trees 
12 The Fall 
13 Out Of The Ground 

musicians:

Mather Louth: vocals 
Chopper Franklin: guitar, banjo, mandolin, keys, drums 
Thomas Lorioux: upright bass 
Luis Mascaro: violin 


Heathen Apostles Cowboy Goth CD “Dust To Dust” Reviewed on Viola Noir

The Russian Gothic website Viola Noir has posted a review of the new Heathen Apostles album Dust To Dust, it really connects with the Americana and cowboy goth vision of the band. Here is the English translation:

Heathen Apostles cowboy goth CD "Dust To Dust"The new Heathen Apostles album Dust To Dust is a return to where they began. After experimenting with bluegrass, covers and collaborations, while revamping country music, the Heathen Apostles use the doctrine of the darkness, terror and horror with accompaniment of the banjo once again.

Burn It To The Ground begins as smooth dark country, leaving both ritual and dark roots in place. Bluesy symphonic tragedy and western-swiftness appear with the track Rise. Two For The Road mixes the narrative with emotionality, and generally changes the mood. On to One True Belief, where the listener is already warmed up and ready to listen to another scary tale with a bad end. The Bride develops the mystic-theme and brings us to a true tragedy on Paradise Lost. After – Where The Waters Meet as an unusual track for Heathen Apostles – lyrical with hypnotizing elements from old school, post punk music. Home Sweet Holmes – a gothic americana slasher with a dense narrative and an injection of sinister atmosphere. Spooky Southern Gothic, dirge-like reinvention of the classic In The Pines follows- as the soundtrack to sorrow and sadness, a kind of farewell song. Meditative, contemplative Easeful Death gives a short pause before the intense final part of the album. The final you could already hear when EP The Fall came out. Exactly in the same sequence of tracks, so we will not be repeated.

cowboy goth

A successful appeal to their roots, without self-plagiarism, with the development of new themes, with a more fresh sound, where there are still characteristic handwriting and recognizable powerful vocals. Moreover, the Heathen Apostles never disappoint.

The release of the album Dust To Dust will be on June 7 from Ratchet Blade Records. Presale has already started, in addition, they have published dates for a European tour in support of this album. 8/10

tags: cowboy goth, Gothic Americana


Bloodgrass Vol. II Review on Viola Noir

Heathen Apostles Bloodgrass Vol. II ReviewBloodgrass Vol. II Review on Viola Noir:

Heathen Apostles continue the series of thematic EPs Bloodgrass. While previous release was focused on redefining bluegrass, the new one shapes the main features of reinvented genre.

The opening Deadly Nightshade seems to be the darkest variation of Southern Gothic ever known. It’s full of bluesy yearning, dark folk depression and pagan mysticism. Paint the Stars sounds more familiar with what the band makes nowadays. The song is swiftly, brief, but at the same time it contains some elements of intricate dark roots/bloodgrass ornament.

In addition, it is accompanied by stylish and atmospheric video. It was directed by Jorge Jaramillo, whose portfolio consists of macabre and technically complex visual projects with recognizable style. It is not surprising, therefore, that his collaboration with Heathen Apostles turned out to be so efficient.

Ramblin’ Man sounds a little surprising. It has bluesy mood, but not the one we have heard before. It is more contemplative, sensual, halftone. D.O.A is instead melodic and lyrical, it deeply roots in the memory. Shady Grove inherits gothic country and bloodgrass stylistics, while the final chapter Fever Jane is a smooth and calm ballad, adorned with Mather’s voice, which has no borders and limits in singing talent.

In general, the new EP proves to be great comeback of Bloodgrass theme – without any crisis of ideas or clichés.

You can listen to Bloodgrass Vol. II HERE.


Great Review of Heathen Apostles Bloodgrass Vol. I in Ox fanzine

A 9 of 10 stars review of the Heathen Apostles Bloodgrass Vol. I EP will be in the next issue of Germany’s Ox fanzine, there will also be an upcoming feature on the band to coincide with their August 2018 tour of Europe. The English translation is below for those who don’t read German:

HEATHEN APOSTLES
Bloodgrass Vol. I
Ratchet Blade • ratchetbladerecords.com • 21:01 • 9 of 10 stars

Blood, horror and passion in the happy the southern heat of America: HEATHEN APOSTLES call their Dark Alternative Gothic Americana Doom Bluegrass sound simply Bloodgrass. On the new EP of the band from Los Angeles, that features former members of THE CRAMPS and THE KINGS OF NUTHIN ‘, there are two cover songs and three brand new ones Original compositions. The dark-hypnotic Bluegrass version of the Gershwin classic “Summertime” opens up the dance, and the soulful reinterpretation of Darrell Scott’s “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive” closes it. In between are three of the Heathen Apostles own Gothic Americana songs: The Nick Cave -inspired “Death Came a Ridin’ “, the jazzy “Dark Days” and the driving bluegrass piece “Lady in Gold”. Reviewed by Karin Hoog

Preview the Bloodgrass Vol. I EP HERE.

Heathen Apostles Bloodgrass "Heathen


“Scalped” Review in Uber Rock (UK)

Phantom Of The Black Hills – ‘Scalped’ (Ratchet Blade Records/Cockroach Media) 
By Mark Ashby
Phantom Of The Black Hills Scalped

As a sub-genre, “hellbilly” seems to lie somewhere between bluegrass, country, NOLA-style doom and traditional rock ‘n’ roll. Most popularly brought to global attention by artists such as Hank Williams III, it is a musical style which can, at first, be difficult to understand and then digest. Take, for example, the reaction of her good self when she walked into the UR studio and first heard this particular opus blasting from our tower block sized speaker system: “what the fuck is that shit?” she demanded to know as I turned the mixer up another notch…

“That shit”, as herself so eloquently put it, is the fifth album from POTBH, a band who don’t believe in giving much away, from the bandanas across their faces in all their publicity photos to the paucity of information on both the press release which accompanied the CD and on their Facebook page: it doesn’t even say where they’re from – although the reference to “Black Hills” in their name should be a huge pointer… but, you never know and should never take anything for granted. For all we know, they are either a bunch of hicks from Nowhereville in North Dakota, or a bunch of rich college grads from Hollywood playing at being the former – although, I must admit, I sincerely doubt it!

Whatever the case, POTBH have produced an album that veers from out and country to the lunatic fringe industrialism of Ministry: this is probably understandable, as the only piece of information the band proffer about themselves is that their music would be the result of “Glenn Danzig and Al Jourgensen stayed up all night listening to old Porter Wagoner and Hank Sr. records and drinking homemade corn liquor”. Maybe a bit OTT – but, hey, what band doesn’t overhype themselves – but you get the picture…

My problem with ‘Scalped’ is that there are two songs which absolutely kick ass heavier than a size 11 New Rock to your tailbone. The first is opener ‘Wild Witch Of The West’, which pumps and thumps like a moonshine-fuelled culchie; driven by a snarly snare and characterized by a punked-up banjo, and featuring a lascivious guest vocal from Mather Louth, it sets a mood that almost immediately dissipates. Yes, ‘Raised On Fire’ is a suitable slice of fiddle-fuelled arson, ‘Dr Dealer’ is a leather-clad metallic monster, and ‘Torchy’ is cute in its amalgamation of metal and country grooves – but the album then, from the loud but unfulfilling abrasiveness of ‘Blow It Up’ onwards, slowly peters out until the bonus track of ‘The Reckoning’ drags it kicking and screaming back to life, with its Nick Cave-like Gothicism, hard-ass thrashy guitar riff, snarly snare-led percussive drive and spoken vocal.

Read the full review HERE.


Heathen Apostles’ “Albatross” Single Review on Gothic.com

The Heathen Apostles latest single Albatross has been reviewed by Viola Noir on Gothic.com, the English translation is below, click HERE for the original review:

The new single from Heathen Apostles – a tale of treachery, betrayal and, of course, revenge. According to tradition, the single is accompanied by a video. This time, in seascapes, but with indispensable mysticism and blood. In reality, all of the video creativity of  the Heathen Apostles can be brought under a common denominator – “what would happen if the witch is hurt.” It is understandable that it is not good, but Mather Louth and Chopper Franklin illustrate in detail a “not good” with a grotesque and clever sense of humor.
 
As for the track –  it is the absolute spirit of Heathen Apostles. Gothic Americana in all its glory – guitar, violin, upright bass and Mather`s strong voice has a melancholic flair here. How else to talk about betrayal? Only with anguish, and with the ice of December sea. In general, Heathen Apostles are not losing their standing, and it is pleasing. 
Viola Noir

Albatross cover

 


Heathen Apostles “Albatross” Single Review in Chain DLK

The Albatross single and video have been reviewed in alternative magazine Chain DLK, you can read the entire review HERE, and preview and order the single HERE.

The Heathen Apostles take a central core of faithful Americana and murder ballad arrangements and give things a slightly stylish, faintly gothic twist. “Albatross” is a one-track single and while their discography has several remixes and electronica elements in it, this is a straight-up three-minute 3 / 4 song featuring slightly Chrissie Hynde-like vocals over a folksy arrangement of violins and mandolins that would appeal to staunch Levellers fans.

albatross-cover


Review of Heathen Apostles’ “Fire to the Fuse” on Midnight Calling

A new review of the latest Heathen Apostles studio album Fire to the Fuse has been posted, read the teaser below then click on the link to read the entire review.

Following up their excellent debut album Boot Hill Hymnal, Heathen Apostles draw their musical six guns, and stalk once more through haunted graveyards, dangerous streets, and debauchery-filled saloons. Fire to the Fuse continues the epic Western Gothic journey, and demonstrates that Heathen Apostles are musical desperadoes to be reckoned with.

Click HERE to read the review. Click HERE to preview and purchase Fire to the Fuse.

Heathen Apostles Gold Text FTTF 1.indd


Heathen Apostles’ “Misery and Gin” EP Reviewed By Midnight Calling

Here’s a great review of the upcoming Heathen Apostles’ Misery and Gin EP by Aiden of Midnight Calling, the EP will be out this Friday July 22nd, and be sure and check out the new video for the title track HERE. Click HERE to read the review.

Misery and Gin cover 72 1200


Phantom of the Black Hills “Moonshine Bright” Reviewed On No Depression

Review of Moonshine Bright on No Depression, read it online HERE:

Moonshine_cover_final_sm“Phantom of the Black Hills, one of the outlaw music scene’s favorite bands of renegade pickers, stummers, pluckers and bangers, is back with a new album on Ratchet Blade Records, Moonshine Bright. Continuing to terrorize the musical wagon trail of the current roots revival with their sound of doom country, frontier-core, and hellbilly punk, Phantom of the Black Hills’ most recent collection of songs is as powerful and violent as the fiery blast of an old blunderbuss, with each deadly projectile hitting a different mark.

Throughout Moonshine Bright, Phantom of the Black Hills lays down some mean distorted chords, plenty of pickin’ and strummin’, hillbilly fiddin’, strong drums, and gritty outlaw vocals. The opening song, which is also the title track, is as dirty and intoxicating and homegrown as the contents of the musical barrel in which it was distilled. “Hellbetties Risin’,” the first single from Moonshine Brightand a raw cowpunk offering with male and female vocals, is as sharp as the edge of a boot knife. “In Hell” is a lawbreaker anthem which rides like hell for the horizon, loot in hand, putting some distance between oneself and the hangman’s noose, yet knowing full well that, when the time comes, hell will be one’s ultimate destination. “The Storm is my Shelter” is about as close to traditional country music as this band gets, but it is still pretty far removed from the purist idea of the genre, which is decidedly a good thing. The closer, “A Life for an Eye,” is a little different from the rest of the album in that it is garagey roots rock and dark country punk hybrid.

Moonshine Bright by Phantom of the Black Hills is available from the Ratchet Blade Records webstore here.”


Great Heathen Apostles Review on Alternate Root

Heathen Apostles Gold Text FTTF 1.indd Heathen Apostles Fire to the Fuse – The Roots of Heathen Apostles has a dark current that roars through dense gothic tales surround by mountain music, back alley Jazz, murderous Americana, and bone-chilling Folk. The latest release from Heathen Apostles, Fire to the Fuse, lights the primeval blackness of the tales as it slowly ticks out for a Measure of Time, battles rattling whirls to spew words and sound on Death’s Head, and hangs on to the rapid rhythms of Lily of the West. Vengeance, greed, and lust are riding shotgun in the love tales strewn over Fire to the Fuse as fractured chords strum and stutter out the title track and propel Yveline through hushed whisper and frenetic fiddles while Without a Trace thunders a musical force and Evil Spirits scatter on percussive rhythms.
Heathen Apostles profess their faith for Americana by taking the Roots from their long Los Angeles history of blending Goth and Rock, with lineage in bands such as The Cramps, Christian Death, Radio Noir, Nick Curran and the Lowlifes, and 45 Grave. Fire to the Fuse makes use of mountain music backing to stomp out a skeleton-shake on glimmering strings and gypsy rhythms for a version of Cher’s “Bang Bang”. Desert wind blow western dust on the horse-hoof patter of Fool’s Gold as Looks are Deceiving sets the barn dance on fire and Heathen Apostles use the chaotic strum of strings to scratch their way to the surface for a breath in Drowned in Trouble.
Listen and buy the music of Heathen Apostles from AMAZON or iTunes
Read the review HERE


Heathen Apostles’ “Fire to the Fuse” Reviewed On Viola Noir

Heathen Apostles Gold Text FTTF 1.indd The second full-length release of Heathen Apostles is the hope for all gothic americana, dark country and southern rock music. The bulk of it could be already well known to their audience by the singles and videos, but this fact didn’t make Fire to the Fuse less surprising.

Opening the release is the mystical tragedy Fool’s Gold, their familiar summer single. It’s a good beginning, because this track is probably one of the most colorful and characteristic in the discography of Heathen Apostles. Drowned in Trouble and Yveline join in this atmosphere, which is carefully woven from sounds of authentic instruments from the South — guitars, violin, banjo, upright bass and powerful voiced Mather Louth. In her voice we hear all — sorrow, anger, love, hate, melancholy and drive. In addition, Yveline has an invisible, but perceptible skin wildly-proto-goth-rock origin. Fist City somewhat reduces the tempo, this track can be attributed to the contemplative, romantic-tragic side of the Heathen Apostles concept . There’s an exciting video for this track — it’s fully in line with the recognizable Heathen Apostles style: fairly bloody, mystical, and presents to us an eternal antagonism between light and dark forces. All this against the backdrop of Southern landscapes and the accompanying paraphernalia. The dark theme continues with a track featuring Jyrki 69, Evil Spirits, familiar from the eponymous EP. Looks Are Deceiving suddenly sounds quite positive and relieves the tension before the blues-track Fire to the Fuse, and then Death’s Head is perceived as epic denouement. Also, a cover of the immortal Nancy Sinatra hit Bang Bang surprised and pleased me. First of all, the fact that Mather wasn’t attempting an exact copied intonation of Nancy, unlike previous versions, but introduced her interpretation of the song. It turned out pretty original and recognizable. Measure of Time — hypnotic ballad with a very heartfelt vocal line slightly expands framework of existing genre Heathen Apostles. The familiar Without a Trace comes with mood of fury , then thelyrical Before You Go and finally with Lily of the West the dark-cabaret veil once again passes through with core emotions, and leaves a pleasant aftertaste. So good, that makes this release coveted for re-listen.

The release is universal in the sense that those, who follow the works of Heathen Apostles, will have the opportunity to listen to the familiar tracks. By one session of the Gothic Americana’s atmosphere. Those who begin acquaintance with the project Fire to the Fuse, immediately get a feel characteristic sound of Heathen Apostles. 8/10