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“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 NoirThomas 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

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