Reviews Archives

“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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Review of Heathen Apostles’ “Fool’s Gold” Single

Fool's Gold cover FINAL smThe Gothic magazine Viola Noir has reviewed the Fool’s Gold single and video, it received 9 of 10 stars:

The Heathen Apostles, leaders of the genre Gothic Americana, recently presented a new single and video called Fool’s Gold. This track is in the best traditions of Heathen Apostles — the sounds of guitars, violin, banjo, bass and the soaring, sad, but at the same time strong and furious vocals of Mather Louth. The Fool’s Gold single has melancholy, irony and, of course, the whole flavor of Gothic Americana.

The Fool’s Gold music video is excellent, although the Heathen Apostles have never disappointed me with the visual component of their work. The clip is stylized as silent cinema with it’s title cards, body language and the facial expressions of the actors. A remarkable storyline of action — a most authentic esoteric salon with all the accompanying attributes. Periodically the shots of the main storyline are accented by by sweet pastoral pictures, somewhere in the fields and meadows with Tarot cards flying on the wind. In the Fool’s Gold video a lot of attention is given to detail.

As for the plot — this time Heathen Apostles have told the story, full of the occult, gang fights, shots, blood, Tarot and fools. Also there is a love story with a curse, and accordingly, a sad outcome. 9 of 10

You can preview and order the Fool’s Gold single HERE.

Heathen Apostles Article In love/hate Magazine

Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Radar: Heathen Apostles
Out of the City of Angels comes a devilish band with a dark twist on classic American country, bluegrass and murder balladry. The Heathen Apostles offer a sound that combines gothic and punk overtones with edgy lyrics of murderous love, outlaw crime and damnation. These heathens have been making a stir around Southern California during the past 2 years and just recently appeared at the annual Ink N Iron Festival at the Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA.

Now, when you first gets a glimpse of the Heathen Apostles, it is hard not to do a double take. This band casts a dark shadow over the crowd as they enter and appear more closely visually to funeral entertainment for a 19th century downed gunslinger versus an LA club night with twenty-something hipsters in the crowd pecking away at iPhones. However, with head-to-toe blackness, vintage Victorian-era attire, stern countenance and a wide array of instrumentation, the shear visuals of the band can be both alluring and overwhelming. The final blow comes from the diva front woman, Mather Louth (Radio Noir) who normally takes the stage with full funeral head veil, jet black lipstick and pale white skin. Mather out front of this group mystifies the crowd with haunting gazes and enigmatic poses throughout the performances, which transmits both beckoning and threatening signals at the same time.

Heathen Apostles may have roots in many genres, but their combined sound is altogether their own. The band touts familiar names such as Chopper Franklin (The Cramps) on guitar and Stevyn Grey (Christian Death, 45 Grave) on drums, but other band members round out this musically tight and original arrangement including Thomas Lorious (The Kings of Nuthin’) on an upright bass, Viktor Phoenix (Dessau) on both banjo/mandolin and the talents of Luis Mascaro on fiddle.

The songs of Heathen Apostles range all tempos and emotions. From the fast-paced, boot-clicking tunes of ‘Without A Trace’ and ‘Forget Me Not’ down to the somber murder ballads of ‘Before You Go’ and ‘Dark Was The Night’, the listener is not stuck in a monotonous or monochromatic musical experience.

Heathen Apostles has a tight musical delivery, an innovative dark approach and an unforgettable stage performance that stays with you long after the performance is over. The Heathen Apostles are not your typical night out on the town and definitely should not missed, as we might be seeing an ushering in of a new genre with possible copycat bands soon to follow.

Heathen Apostles will be playing various shows in and around Southern California including Hippy Killer Hoedown 2015 in Perris, CA. Please visit the band’s website or follow them on Facebook for more info.

Full length album, Boot Hill Hymnal and 3-song EP, Without A Trace, now available at www.heathenapostles.com.

Read the article online HERE.

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