Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Black Cat Bones - Down To The River (EP Review)

Release date: October 2016. Label: Broken Road Records LTD. Format: CD/DD

Down To The River – Tracklisting

Seen Better Days
Give You The World
Devil You Know
The River

Band Members

Jonnie Hodson - Lead Vocals / Harmonica
Alan Rimmer - Lead Guitar / Rhythm Guitar
Adam Kerbache - Rhythm Guitar / Lead Guitar / Backing Vocals
Ash Janes - Drums / Backing Vocals
Jamie Hayward - Bass / Backing Vocals


UK Blues/Sleaze/Hard Rockers – Black Cat Bones – debut EP – Down To The River is a change of pace from the usual stuff we review here at the blog. This is a sleazy/hard rock kind of sound. The 5 track EP is packed full of grooves and will appeal to fans of the classic 80's Hard Rock scene.

Opening track – Seen Better Days – has a soulful groove that The Answer would be proud to call their own with a huge dash of “HAIR METAL” riffage. Lead vocalist Jonnie has a blues rock orientated sound but he's backed up by almost the full band on backing vocals. The riffs come thick and fast with Black Cat Bones impressing from the start.

Second track – Lust – is a dirty blues rock number with some the lyrics taking a more sleazy turn compared to the opening track. This is perhaps the standout track on the EP. Heavy based guitars spliced with the classic Sunset Strip sound which comes at you with expert delivery.

Third track – Give You The World – was a major surprise as the band have written a track with a political and social message. Dennis Skinner (best do some research on the internet folks. UK Politician) soundclip open the song with the soon returning to heavier hard rock riffs. It's a different change of pace even though the music sounds the same as the opening two tracks. Top marks for the band doing something different with their music.

The final two tracks – Devil You Know and The River – sees the band return to their Sleaze/Hard Rock dirty riff ways. The Blues Rock aspect of the band comes out the most with Devil You Know but you can't keep a good band down from playing the heavier destructive sounds.

Down To The River is masterful and highly confident EP from Black Cat Bones. It shows a band with a lot of promise. The Classic/Blues/Hard Rock world have a bright hope with these guys.

Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Words by Steve Howe


An Interview with BORRACHO

Borracho have made quite the name for themselves since they released their debut album – Splitting Sky – back in 2011. Since then the guys have released two more albums with 2013's Oculus and their latest fantastic album – Atacama.

Atacama is an album I rated very highly and made it one of my albums of 2016. As it's an action packed and socially aware album. If you dig classic Stoner Metal merged with heavy psychedelic sounds then you need to listen to Borracho now.

I've been a fan of these guys ever since my The Sludgelord days. They never disappoint and Atacama is their best album to date. I wanted to find more about the band and they've kindly agreed to this interview.

Hi guys. Thanks for doing the interview. How’s life treating you today.

Hey Steve, thanks for having us. All is good.

For people not in the know, can you provide a brief history of how the band came together and where it is today.

The three of us played together in other bands along with our old singer and buddy Noah. We decided to get together, trade off instruments, and jam on some riffs. It was a while coming together, from late 2007 - 2010 we were really cultivating our sound, writing and demoing material, and playing some shows with bands we knew already, and meetings some new friends along the way. In 2011, after meeting our studio wizard Frank Marchand, we finally got a proper studio session together to record our debut Splitting Sky.

People seemed to dig that one a lot when it came out, and we got a lot more attention than we expected from it. In 2012 Noah told us he was moving abroad, and we decided to keep on as a trio, rather than looking for a new singer. Steve took over vocal duties from there. We released a few 7”s of material we had recorded with Noah before recording and releasing our 2nd record Oculus, which was our first with Steve singing. We’ve since put out a couple more split 7”s and were on Ripple Music’s first volume of The Second Coming of Heavy series. We’re stoked to have released our new record Atacama with Kozmik Artifactz, and are getting ready for the vinyl release in the next couple months.

Why did you call your band Borracho

We like to drink. It fit the aesthetic of what we wanted to put out there. It’s not what might be expected.

How would you describe your music for first-time listeners.

Riff-oriented heavy rock.

We are here to talk about the new album. Atacama. What can people expect from the album.

Atacama is probably the most ambitious record we’ve made, especially from a production standpoint. We have a lot of influences and like a lot of different kinds of music, and in writing this record, we didn’t want to limit ourselves creatively. So what you hear is pretty diverse, from straight forward rockers, to epic, complex, heavy psychedelic jams, to mellower, more introspective and orchestrated stuff. Our intention was to take listeners on a journey, like our favorite classic records. It’s not a concept album per se, but our process was definitely driven with that idea in mind.

What is the overall concept of the album.

The record is a body of work, with interconnected songs that we intentionally sequenced and produced to envelop the listener continuously, and make it obvious that there’s not a good place to stop. You have to let it ride. Lyrically there’s not a common thread throughout, but we leave some of that up to interpretation.

I would say the overall concept is the album experience. We wanted to get away from releasing just a collection of songs, we wanted to get back to when listening to an album was something you could really immerse yourself in. There is an underlying concept that we used for writing purposes and cohesion but it is really up to the listener to interpret.

The album is quite political with certain aspects of the lyrics. Especially compared against your other albums. Was that the intention to make something more political and topical in some respects.

The reality is that the record was written during a very tumultuous time in America, politically. It’s hard not to be affected by that, and some of the inspiration for the themes that appear are a reflection of the emotions we were going through while writing for the record. They also fit with one of the overarching themes of the record. I think our intention was to write about what makes people tick, or more importantly what pushes people over the edge. But It's hard to not be inspired by the over the top stupidity being played out on the world stage.

Was it an easy or hard album to write and record for.

We wrote a lot of the music for the record by jamming. We kind of got our process together a bit more across the writing for the Second Coming tunes and the Atacama music that followed. Our process has always been very organic, but Steve and Tim really collaborated well in the lyric writing, to keep things cohesive. Recording was a lot of fun, but also a lot of work. Steve had a vision for expressing the music collectively, and working with Frank, and trying a lot of different things, we were able to realize that vision in what we think is our best, most creatively mature record. When you are truly passionate about something, hard doesn't really come into the equation - tedious at times yes, but never hard and always enjoyable.

What influenced you when recording and writing this album.

The 2016 US elections, environmental destruction, impending space travel, isolation, anger, frustration. Puppies and kittens.

Have you been surprised by the reviews the albums received. Especially from the Stoner Metal community. It’s made a lasting impression with a wide range of people.

Writing records, you’re in a bubble. You have all this time with your music before anyone hears it. While writing, while recording, while mixing, mastering, and waiting for the release to happen. That’s a lot of time to get comfortable with what you’ve created, but it’s also all in isolation, with only the feedback of your most trusted confidants. So whenever we get such positive reviews we’re humbled, and flattered. For us, making ourselves happy is priority #1. We’re not selling 100,000 copies of our records, so we really aim to please ourselves, and enjoy what we create. When others pick up on that, and we can touch them and bring joy to them, it’s the ultimate reward. We’ve been super fortunate to have had great support from the community since that first record came out.

What is the song-writing dynamic in the band. Is it down to one individual or a group collective.

Steve is the riffmeister, but our process is very organic, and jam driven. We all bring ideas, and drive the development of our music over time. We have a chemistry, and there are only three of us, so we have built this connection over time. We share the philosophy that we have no limits, and we write what we want, which is very liberating, creatively.

Will you be performing gigs this year. A more in-depth tour to promote the album. Are there plans to perform overseas such as Europe.

We’re stoked to play the Maryland Doom Fest pre-party in June, and we’re working on some more shows during that time. At the moment we don’t have any plans for heading to Europe, although we’d love the opportunity to do so. We are interested in tapping into the young and emerging South American scene, and possible exploring opportunities to play there. But as of the moment there’s no major touring planned in the first half of the year.

Thanks for doing this interview. Do you have anything to say to your fans before you go.

Thanks for the cool questions Steve, hope your readers got a good glimpse into the Borracho world. We would like to express our gratitude to our fans for all the support over the years. We’re looking forward to seeing people out at some shows, and let us know how you’re digging Atacama! Cheers!

Words by Steve Howe and Borracho

Monday, 16 January 2017

Outlaws Nation Joint Interview: An Interview with CHILD

It's been a while since Matthew over at Taste Nation LLC and myself participated with a joint interview. We decided to interview rising Aussie Hard Rock/Blues/Stoner Rock Trio – CHILD.

CHILD first burst onto the scene in 2014 with their celebrated and acclaimed self titled debut album. It won a wide range of praise from fans and critics alike. CHILD have just released their incredible new album – Blueside – which has seen their reputation enhanced further.

CHILD play a soulful kind of Blues/Stoner Rock with a lot of room for heavy riffs amongst the tender moments. CHILD have kindly agreed to doing this interview. So lets get started.

OOTS – Outlaws Of The Sun
TN – Taste Nation

OOTS – Hi guys. Thanks for doing this joint interview with myself and Matthew from Taste Nation. How things with you all today.

Very well! Looking forward to talking with you

TN – There seems have been a lot of albums released this past year (2016) that are rock albums with various levels of blues mixed in. On the contrary, you fine gents have produced a stellar BLUES ROCK album!! That said, where/who are your sources of influence?

In our case influence comes from anywhere that turns us on. Apart from the obvious, we draw a lot of good feelings from late 60’s early 70’s Australian Music. Acts Like Billy Thorpe and The Aztecs, Masters Apprentices, Coloured Balls and Chain to name a few.

OOTS – Congrats on your excellent new album. What can people expect from the album.

We tried to be as honest as we could with this record. We hope it gets listened to and felt as opposed to just being heard.

TN – The progression from your debut to "Blueside" is pretty significant. Was your approach to this album different?

For this record we took more time to utilise pre production and played the songs live as much as we could before recording them. 

OOTS – It seems you guys have came out of nowhere over the last few years and created quite an impact within the Stoner Rock community Has it surprised you the way people have enjoyed your music and the Stoner Rock community in general.

We are really happy people are enjoying what we do. We like the idea of appealing to whoever feels it. Can’t thank all the supporters enough.

TN – What comes first, lyrics or music?

Whichever feels right at the time.

OOTS – What is the songwriting dynamic within the band. Is it a group collective or is it down to one individual.

Some songs come from preconceived and others come from jams. No song is completed without the whole input of each member of Child. It has always worked out best for us when we play and write as a unit.

TN – "Blueside" is garnering quite a bit of positive praise among the Independent / Underground community. Has this bled into any commercial attention like radio airplay?

There has been a great show of affection for ‘Blueside’ so far but no commercial attention that we know of as yet.

OOTS – Has touring Australia on a regular basis helped you prepare physically and mentally to do a more gruelling tour abroad. And will you be touring Europe anytime soon.

It definitely has because Australia and Indonesia aren’t the easiest places tour. By the time we got Europe at the end of 2015. We had developed a good enough work ethic to tour at length without too much problem. We are looking to get back to Europe in mid 2017.

OOTS – The album is being released on Kozmik Artifactz again. How did you hook up with them. Did you have any other offers to release your album.

Kozmik Artifactz produce top notch releases and we had no reservations working with them again.

TN – Why did you call the album “Blueside”. Any specific meaning to you as a group.

It’s a combination of words that we used to describe the mood of the record.

OOTS/TN – Well guys thanks for doing this interview. Much appreciated. All the best with your new album and future endeavours Hopefully we will see you both in concert if your ever near our respective home–towns in the United States and United Kingdom. Do you have anything else you wanted to say to your fans.

Thanks to all of you for the support. Cant wait to get back to Europe and over to the states to play for you.

Words by Steve Howe, Matthew Thomas and CHILD

Thanks to CHILD for doing this interview. Blueside is available to buy now on CD/DD/Vinyl from Kozmik Artifactznow.

Taste Nation LLC - A Music Consortium – Links

Official | Facebook | Twitter

NASDAQ / Mothertrucker - A Bulletin From The Department For Transport and Finance (Split Album Review)

Release date: February 01st 2017. Label: Field Records, SuperFi Records & DG Records. Format: DD/Vinyl

A Bulletin From The Department For Transport and Finance – Tracklisting


NASDAQ - Band Members

Edward Troup - Bass Guitar
Dan Bridgwood Hill - Electric Guitar
Liam Stewart - Drum Kit

Mothertrucker – Band Members

Charles Butler - guitar
Chris Scrivens - guitar
Tom Moffat - bass
Bruce Goodenough - drums


I didn't know what to expect from a split album called A Bulletin From The Department For Transport and Finance. This is a split EP by two supremely heavy as hell Doom/Stoner Rock Bands from the UK. NASDAQ and Mothertrucker.

NASDAQ haven't released anything in six years so hearing some new material since their 2011 release - AGM​/​Fourth Quarter Slump. They have teamed up with Doom/Stoner Collective – Mothertrucker who have been playing together since 2004. How these guys aren't more well known especially after releasing a few well received albums over the years.

Anyway back to - A Bulletin From The Department For Transport and Finance. So what do you expect. Well NASDAQ and Mothertrucker create a heavy instrumental and moody world with the 3 tracks on offer here. NASDAQ are primarily Post-Rock/Doom/Ambient with one eye firmly on jam-based rock. Their solitary track Collateral (Damaged) is a heavy and very cold affair with the band playing riffs reminiscent of early-Russian Circles with a twinge of Earthless Psychedelic Rock.

NASDAQ have a much more purpose and soulful delivery compared to Mothertrucker. A glorious 15 minute track that I wish was on longer as the band draw you in with precise drumming and bombastic riffs.

Mothertrucker are you more familiar kind of Doom/Stoner Metal band with shades of Black Sabbath and Kyuss influencing the band a great deal. You can hear moments of classic Post-Rock sounds in the background. Mothertrucker's two tracks will appeal most to the traditional Doom/Stoner Metal fan.

The band still impress with their 18 minutes in the spotlight especially with Saved By The Belgian. A raucous and trippy affair with perhaps some of the loudest moments that Mothertrucker have created to date. Mothertrucker experiment with their sound by adding moments of dronish post-rock when merged with the heavier doom based moments.

A Bulletin From The Department For Transport and Finance is an surreal audio experience that allows two great bands to show the Doom/Stoner Metal world they can create intelligent and haunting progressive riffs that linger on in the memory. If you want to hear something different and possibly challenging from the Instrumental Rock world. Look no further as NASDAQ and Mothertrucker have created an unmissable record. Plain and Simple.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Charlie from Mothertrucker for the promo. A Bulletin From The Department For Transport and Finance will be available to buy on DD/Vinyl via Field Records, SuperFi Records & DG Records from February 1st 2017.

NASDAQ - Links:

Mothertrucker - Links:

Saturday, 14 January 2017

An Interview with IRON HEARSE

Iron Hearse have been in business since 2001. This South West England-based doom power-trio rocks and rumbles heavily bringing dynamic and charged doom-based stuff without compromises and sentiments. They have three full-length albums in their discography and a handful of smaller releases; they’re known because of their powerful live gigs and vivid studio records. Iron Hearse has a pretty stable line-up: Grant Powell (guitars, vocals) and Liam Khan (bass) are in the band since its founding. As drummer Kev came later in 2012 from Grant’s punk band Raging T.

The band released digital demo “Tomb Metal” on October 2016. Is it harbinger of their new full-length? Let’s ask Grant about it!

Hi Grant! How are you? What is Iron Hearse current status?

Hi Aleks, I’m very well. Thanks for sending me your questions. Iron Hearse played a few shows in 2016 and we're now on a break. We hope to come back soon with some brand new material.

The band is active for about 16 years, how does it feel to drive Iron Hearse for such period?

I'm proud of what the band has achieved - we've put out three albums, a couple of EPs, released our music on vinyl and played gigs all over the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Vienna, Budapest and Malta so we've been very lucky considering we are not a big or famous band. We've met some great people over the years and played some amazing shows. I would love to visit the U.S. as well as Finland and also a return trip to Germany for some more shows there, so we'll see what the future brings.

What's most inspiring feedback you got consider Iron Hearse?

We have always been totally blown away by all of the great positive feedback we've received. From the early demos right up to the last proper album, 2014's 'Deal with it', we haven't really received any criticism, and continue to be surprised by how much people enjoy what we do.

Well, true to say, I read some responses that with the second album “Get in the Hearse” you didn’t move further and just stayed there you were with “Iron Hearse” debut. I would argue with that but what do you think about necessity of professional growth? Is it OK to do things you did before or is it really needful to develop some aspects of a band?

I think it depends on the style of music and what you’re trying to achieve as a band. Some bands go on a journey where they feel that they have to develop the style and push themselves more and more. We have always just been happy to produce more of the same type of sounds, as long as people keep enjoying in and we enjoy it too. I have always liked the way that, with bands like Motorhead, Iron Maiden, or even Pentagram or Fu Manchu – you know what you’re going to get with each album. It’s not exactly the same, but we’re not going to deviate too much from our chosen musical path!

Grant, you also play in Raging T. How much of punk rock aesthetic you bring in Iron Hearse?

Well, there were quite a few punk moments on the last album, 'Deal with it', perhaps a little too much. Ha ha.

Kev (drums) and I needed an outlet for writing some simple hard rock/metal music with more punk incorporated too, so we created Raging T and had great fun recording our debut EP. Kev plays drums and does some backing shouts and I play everything else.

Iron Hearse – Lunar Funeral

What are your favorite topics when writing lyrics? What do you prefer to sing about in Iron Hearse?

It's kind of a cliche but it's really just HP Lovecraft stories, sci-fi, horror, and other crazy ideas; same as a lot of other metal bands - ha ha.

Can you name some concrete movies on which you base your songs on?

Yeah. Vessel of Astaroth from ‘Get in the Hearse’ is based on the Hammer Horror film, ‘To the devil a daughter’. ‘They beckon from below’ from the ‘Deal with it’ album is based on the film ‘Dagon’ and the HP Lovecraft stories ‘Dagon’ and ‘The shadow over Innsmouth’. I’m sure there are others but these are the ones that immediately come to mind.

Grant, I need to tell you that band’s name is bloody good! You don’t have anything else to show that the band is about. And same with albums’ titles (especially debut self-titled and “Get in the Hearse”). How did you figure out this very idea?

I used to work in an office with our original drummer, Ian. We decided that the band needed a very Heavy Metal name, and were talking about it at our desks at work. We thought, well, Iron is a really heavy metal so why not use that. Next we thought that it needed something in the name to do with death… how about a hearse?, a funeral car!! “Iron Hearse”.

We laughed about it and then thought – ‘Yes, that would make a great band name!’

With what kind of feeling did you record debut “Iron Hearse”? What did you want to express through it?

I think we really just wanted to improve and build on what we started with our original demos. Chris Young had joined the band on drums at that time, and we had already recorded our 'Peddle the metal' EP which featured material that was slightly more technical than what we had done before. The debut album mixed the feel of the EP with the style of the original demos and people seemed to really enjoy the result.

There's 7 years long break between “Iron Hearse” and “Get in the Hearse” albums. What did slow down the band back then?

I think it was mainly a change of drummers. Chris left the band in 2009 and Stu joined. We recorded our 'Lunar Funeral EP' and went on a European tour with Leather Nun America in 2010. After this we again went through another line-up change, and were lucky enough to get Kev ex-Battlewitch on drums for our Get in the hearse and Deal with it albums, which we self released after the closing of Psychedoomelic Records, our previous label home.

Was it really a problem to find a label after Psychedoomelic shutdown? I suppose that making things in DIY way could be a real pain in the ass, or do some labels provide worst pain in the ass than DIY way does?

To be honest we did not really try very hard to find a new label. Kev joined the band on drums for our ‘Get in the Hearse’ album and decided to release it on his Snake Mountain records label. We did the same with ‘Deal with it’.

What are you most bright or maybe even extreme memories about touring with Leather Nun America? Did you ever play for money? Did you sleep in the field in winter? Did you fight with wolves for piece of meat on your way home? Did you sink in Grimpen Mire?!

Ha ha, it was all pretty civilized really. Lots of drinking and eating pizza. I think we spent a lot of time asleep in between shows. We were all surprised how tiring it really was. We covered quite a big distance, sometimes 10 hour drives in a day, so we just spent a lot of time on the road in the van. It was great getting to spend some time sightseeing in Vienna, Budapest, and we even stopped for lunch in Prague although we were not actually playing there. It was great fun.

The band is based in South West England, how does your surrounding reflect in your songs? How much of Swindon in Iron Hearse?

Well, Swindon is in Wiltshire, the home of crop circles, Stonehenge and Avebury, so I'm sure some west country mysticism and magic have influenced our metal.

Did you ever dance naked in Stonehenge?!

Ha ha, no. Although people might think it is just like it was in the 1970’s and that you can wander around freely, building fires and dancing naked, in reality it has high fences, security, car parks, tourists everywhere and you have to pay to get in!

I actually prefer Avebury – a much smaller stone circle in a village, with a pub nearby.

Iron Hearse - live

Which factors did form Iron Hearse's sound? Can you tell that you reach the optimal balance on your latest record “Deal With It”?

Liam (bass) and I came from a death and thrash metal background, played a bit of black metal too, and finally decided to go for a much more stripped down 'rock' sound, with clean vocals rather than growling and screaming. I had been listening to a lot of Electric Wizard, Acrimony, Sleep, The Obsessed and Saint Vitus around the time we formed the band, and just wanted to play that kind of music.

I think actually, comparing the Iron Hearse albums, Get in the hearse was a slightly stronger record than Deal with it, but Deal with it has a far better production. Next time we hope to create something which is more focused and a mix between the Iron Hearse and Get in the hearse albums, with strong songs and a great production again.

What did drive you to release “Tomb Metal” demo digitally? Why don't you want to release it in physical format?

While we are not currently working on anything new, I thought fans of the band might like to hear these old recordings that I had just lying around. The recordings are unreleased tracks recorded at rehearsals by the Lunar Funeral line-up. It's a shame we didn't record proper studio versions, but I love the raw edge of these recordings. We won't release in physical format because these are only rehearsals taken straight from a CD-R. They are very low quality and have not been mixed or mastered; just issued through BandCamp as something extra for the people that enjoy the band.

How would you resume the Iron Hearse message?

I would like to thank all of the people that have bought our music, been to a show and supported the band over the years - we really appreciate it. Iron Hearse have always tried to write the kind of music that we all enjoy listening to, and to just get out and have fun playing it. Hopefully we'll see some of you out on the road soon!

Words by Aleks Evdokimov and Grant Powell


Science Fiction Or Fantasy - An Interview with BOOK OF WYRMS

Mysterious and obscure Book of Wyrms was revealed in Richmond, Virginia by dedicated scholars of doom. They are Jay Lindsey (bass), Sarah Moore-Lindsey (vocals), Chris DeHaven (drums), Kyle Lewis (guitars) and Ben Coudriet (guitars). First result of their research was their demo-record in 2015 which lead the band to debut their big work “Sci-fi / Fantasy” released by Twin Earth Records.

Having this information you already can conclude that Book of Wyrms is about lady-fronted doom with lyrics about space, dragons and probably about dragons in space as well… I’m not sure about the last thing so I mailed the band decision to clarify this as soon as possible.

Hi there! Twin Earth Records just released Book of Wyrms debut “Sci-fi / Fantasy”, what are you going to do now with the finished release on your hands?

Jay: Writing some more songs, booking a few little tours, reading fantasy books, listening to Mercyful Fate.

Sarah: We are trying to play as many shows and festivals as we can the rest of the year, and we hope to do a lot more songwriting.

The band was born in around 2015, and I see that you started with one guitarist Kelsey Miller on the nameless 3 songs long demo. But then second guitarist Ben Coudriet joined Book of Wyrms, and together you recorded the first full-length. How soon did you get the effectiveness of twin guitars approach?

Jay: Actually, Kelsey left completely after helping us record the demo. Ben came on and brought Kyle with him. We all love Tony Iommi and the way he’d put a different lead on each channel so that was a technique we were into from the beginning. Ben and Kyle are really good about working together on that so the rest of the band just gets to sit back and enjoy.

I saw that only Jay played metal before Book of Wyrms, what is the musical background of others?

Jay: Chris (drums) has always played metal.

Sarah: Ben and Kyle have been in a variety of projects, mostly rock and psychedelic bands. I was in chorus in high school and hung out with my first band. We tried to cover “White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane. Then I’ve done a lot of solo stuff accompanying myself on bass, ukulele, and banjo.

Besides two guitars I would hear very atmospheric vintage-styled keyboards you accurately use in your songs. Who’s in charge for effects in the band?

Sarah: I use a little touchpad called a mini Kaossilator, and it creates some pretty cool sounds. Jay usually comes up with some cool ideas and I implement them with my own twist. We just added another small synth to my arsenal, so I’m excited to try out some new sounds live.

How do you share duties in the band? Do you have main song-writer there?

Sarah: Jay has come up with most of the initial riffs, and then we begin song building from there. “Transcendental Migraine” was mostly Ben’s initial composition. Jay or I come up with a compelling song title and I usually write the lyrics about what the song title invokes in my mind. I let the guys know what the working titles are, so they know, for instance, that one of our newer songs is called “Dust Toad.” They craft their parts accordingly haha.

Jay: Everyone gets in each other’s business a little bit – Sarah probably writes like 95% of the lyrics but someone might have a small idea or concept to add; jay will ask the others to pick between two bass ideas he wrote, Sarah will ask the guitarists to support her at a certain part. So everyone’s mostly on their own but we all try to coordinate.

Book of Wyrms – Leatherwing Bat

There were 3 songs in the demo – “Nightbong”, “Sourwolf” and “King Mildew”, 2 of them are in the debut but you didn’t include there the last one. Why didn’t you save it for the full-length?

Jay: King Mildew was just different enough from the others that we ended up not playing it live and it sort of fell out of favor. If we hadn’t managed to write so many other songs we might have still used it on there, but something had to give if we wanted to fit everything.

Sci-fi / Fantasy” is pretty long album - 7 songs, 53 minutes. And I wouldn’t say that you focused only on repeating riffs, you have more complex songs’ structure than one could expect from doom band. What is a range of your influences?

Jay: modern doom is largely based on the genius of Black Sabbath, but it’s a caricature of what Sabbath really sounded like. The idea that every Sabbath song was slow and low is just not true. what makes them such a special band was their versatility – quiet, loud, fast, slow, major, minor, they did it all in a very dynamic way. To answer the question, though, we like a lot of different shit. Hawkwind, NWOBHM, Iron Maiden, the Melvins, OM, but a lot of things that aren’t heavy at all, too.

Sarah: We all like heavy music. But Beth from Portishead was a major influence on me. Here is this bad-ass woman who sings with loud, sometimes uncomfortable instrumentation surrounding her, and she’s still the most potent thing about the sound. Sharon Jones, Grace Slick, Ella Fitzgerald, and Thom Yorke all were and are huge influences.

Speaking about album’s name – what’s it about? Is it combination of sci-fi and fantasy topics or is it fight of one against another?

Jay: It’s how a lot of little old used book stores abbreviate the sign for the Science Fiction/ Fantasy section of the store. For me, it’s the coolest section, where you just feel like a kid about to discover a new world – hopefully through some ragged trashy used books with crazy cover art! And of course those used books are always from the 70’s and 80’s, so the vibe is just a very particular set of feelings and memories that the album title hints at.

Nightbong” is one of the most remarkable songs on the album – groovy main theme, melodic vocals, that creepy amazing keyboards’ tune… What’s the story behind this track?

Sarah: Well, we love to exaggerate and joke around, so we came up with the song title one night and I was intrigued. That name was just too cool to not do anything with. I envisioned a fantasy where there was this mystical bong that is always full of weed and transports your mind and body to all kinds of places. But it’s also kind of funny because it’s like a typical stoner concept just really embellished and so serious.

What are your other songs about?

Sarah: Well I learned from Steely Dan that it's a good idea to keep things ambiguous so that people can form their own meanings of the songs and then it becomes that much more personal to the listener. But there are some, for instance, "Infinite Walrus" which refers to a King of the Hill episode of the same title. Cosmic Filth is our comment on man's detrimental impact on his surroundings.

By the way, Book of Wyrm reminds about “Mysteries of Wyrm” (or something like that) – a fictional grimoire from Lovecraftian writings. Do these books connected between each other?

Sarah: I did not know about the connections with the Lovecraftian writings, so that's pretty cool. My uncle just sent me pictures of old books called Wyrms by Orson Scott Card. We just love dragons haha.

Where did you take speech samples for “All Hallows’ Eve” song? And by the way, what does this celebration mean for you? Do you take part into it?

Jay: I was on a trip through Tennessee, and they had taped sermons for free at the truck stops so that truckers can listen on their long rides and, I guess, find salvation. So I saw this one that said “The Truth About Halloween,” and I grabbed it and brought it home. This old dude and his wife are just ranting for 90 minutes – mispronouncing terms, making insane generalizations, and freaking out about the sinister motive behind little kids dressing up and having fun. It’s a little eerie because of their accents and how serious they are, but it’s hilarious as well - like the Venom philosophy of “if you are dumb enough to believe in Satan, you deserve to be frightened.”

Sarah: Halloween can be really cool, and I love the magic and sense of foreboding that the night has. Some of my best memories are from Halloween shows or parties.

Jay: Halloween to me is another bullshit holiday to sell crap to people who don’t need any more crap. Whatever meaning it had was subverted long ago, first into Christendom and then into the marketplace. I support the exploration of evil and darkness, and of prechristian celebrations based on the seasons, but I think it would be cool to find one that hasn’t been made into a child-safe shopping spree. Roodmas, for example, is promising.

I bet that you recorded the album on your own, how is this process expensive? And do you plan to return some funds with gigs and merch? Everyone knows that you will no gain money with doom stuff, but you need some incoming to pay costs.

Jay: I’ve seen LP’s with $15,000 budgets but we paid our engineer out of pocket. Thankfully he charged way less than he’s worth and thankfully our label helped with the manufacturing end. We have no idea what to expect money-wise but it’s important to just play a lot of different places and have a variety of merch so the people who do like you can help you continue.

Sarah: We will hopefully be getting embroidered patches soon, and we are working on small batches of t shirts. We are looking forward to releasing the album on vinyl in a few months and will hopefully recoup some of our costs with those and gigging as much as possible.

How far do you already go to playing gigs? Is Richmond good enough to play there periodically?

Sarah: We have gone as far as Tulsa from Richmond, and we are playing Philadelphia and Brooklyn this weekend. So we are trying to get out more and see the country. Richmond is a cool place to play but we try not to over-saturate the market because there's a big metal scene here.

Doom scene is overcrowded with bands who use old school approach and who have ladies on vocals. Don’t you think about competition within genre, about obstacles new band like Book of Wyrm meets on its way to listeners?

Sarah: I honestly try to focus on my own music and material and not think about what other people are doing. You can drive your self crazy if you focus on that at all. I agree that the genre has sort of exploded and there seem to be a lot of bands in the stoner/doom category. But I don't feel like having a female vocalist is a "gimmick" or a type of music. I think it's a general acceptance of heavy music becoming a little more mainstream. Also, when your instrumentation is so low, you have to be able to fill in the gaps with higher notes at times. It worked for King Diamond, but he's a beast.

Okay, that’s all for today! Thanks for your time and I wish you all the best on promoting Book of Wyrm music. How would you like to sum up our conversation?

Sarah: Thank you so much for taking the time to ask us these questions. We are looking forward to what's next.

Words by Aleks Evdokimov, Sarah Moore-Lindsey and Jay Lindsey

Sci-Fi/Fantasy is available to buy from Twin Earth Records now.