The Pews of Perdition
If music is the road and musicians are the houses, stores and rest stops along the way, then the towns and cities that populate this world would have to be the genres of modern music. You would know those names well…the big cities at least! Wandering this road ya meet a hitchhiker with one eye missing who tells you a creepy story of darkness and musical macabre. Cannibals, cruelty, vengeance and possession are just some of the horrors he speaks! Only a ghost story but you take the time to follow the directions the hitcher gave. The path you take is just the same as the one-eye told in his spook tale. Driving your truck through the metropolis of Country and to the outskirts of its suburb called Bluegrass…you find an over grown road that stretches for miles of loneliness and desolation only to dead end at a dilapidated old protestant church and adjacent, forgotten cemetery. When you venture inside and sit at the rotten pews you find two hymnals. One is titled “The Kingdom Is On Fire” and the other is ominously called “Psalms For The Spiritually Dead”. What kind of church is this? You have found your way to a doomed place this time!
Sons Of Perdition is a band that is walking the dark side streets of the old time/bluegrass music scene. SOP’s newest album is called “Psalms For The Spiritually Dead” and it is a dark and slow moving train of song that is sure to please the most twisted music fan or bluegrass explorer. The “Spiritually Dead” album is considerably slower in pace then the first offering with a funereal dirge aspect that will delight your twisted soul. The mind behind SOP is Zebulon Whatley (a moniker that may be a loosely veiled reference to the stories of horror writer H.P. Lovecraft.) Ol’ Zeb has titled each of these new songs as a psalm to display his fanatically religious nature. Incredible artwork graces the cover to this dammed tome of song by German folk artist Christoph Muller whom is known for his gritty artwork depicting characters from the outlaw country music world of the American south. Muller’s work is a perfect fit for Sons Of Perdition!
Start to finish this album is a hellish ride of dark musical fun! Misfit gangs of murderous thugs roam through these songs like in the tune “Psalm of Warmth”. Then we have one of my favorite’s on this album…”Psalm of Retribution” about the dark horror that may lurk in the cellar . Zeb has his own take on the classics like in “Psalm of Nod” as he sings “the sea is blood and the moon is bone, I walk this highway all alone…God is gona trouble that water….ohhh wade in the water children”. This album also includes a track called “Psalm of Solitude” that seems to have a bit of Cormac McCarthy’s “Child of God” conjured in it. Deep, driving bass lines run through this album, that along with percussive stomping and clapping (as in “Psalm of Eulogy”) give the “Spiritually Dead” record the feel of a cursed gospel choir as echoed electric guitars add a tense, sometimes psychedelic ambiance to these well layered songs. If one negative can be said for the new album in comparison to his first record would be there is no real barn-burner or ironically pleasant song featured on the album to change the pace, wherein that was the very strength of “The Kingdom Is On Fire” and the lacking of this aspect can make for a very slow listen….but a good one !
Things look good for the future of Sons Of Perdition as Zeb has scored a short film called “The Backwater Gospel” that features him as a un-believer and outsider captured in wonderful animated splendor. SOP has quietly given bluegrass and old time music a dark gift of southern gothic with “Psalms for the Spiritually Dead” now only time will tell if the pious souls of those musical genre’s will open the wickedly fun package that is Sons Of Perdition! Say your prayers.
For more information on Sons Of Perdition go to….
Also hear a rare live performance from Sons Of Perdition at the famous “Hole In The Wall” bar in Austin, Texas