Guitarist & Bassist for the Heathen Apostles, The Cramps, Nick Curran & the Lowlifes

REVIEWS

Chopper Franklin’s “Spaghetti Western Dub No. 1” Reviewed

Chopper Franklin’s “Spaghetti Western Dub No. 1” Was The Album I’d Waited Over 40 Years To Hear – by postpunkmonk.com

Chopper Franklin’s "Spaghetti Western 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
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 Vol. 1”
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
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 Gothic Americana

Heathen Apostles in London - Giants of Gothic AmericanaAs 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 Gothic Americana, 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 Gothic Americana

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 Gothic Americana

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 Gothic Americana


Heathen Apostles Live – Good Times and Bloodgrass Music

It was the night Bloodgrass came to the dark environs of the Six Six Bar in sleepy university city, an unusually large flock of jet-black crows seen above the ever-reaching spires of Cambridge. The portents were heavy and the anticipation was high. Cutting a swathe across the country on their first U.K. tour, Los Angeles outfit Heathen Apostles were bringing their Gothic grace to the many, whispers of good times and bloodgrass music an irresistible draw.

Heathen Apostles Live - Bloodgrass Music

Heathen Apostles have been casting their own particular spell for a decade now, their own brand of blackened Americana bringing a stark and much needed contrast to the saccharine filled confection that Nashville has made its billions from. They’re an incredibly tight and powerful outfit, the only thing bloated being the rotting corpses in their songs. There’s an authenticity here that keys into the reality of the Old West, grit sprinkled with the Gothic as if Tim Burton directed TV show ‘Deadwood’ but toned down his more archly camp sensibilities. Certainly, the musicianship is dazzling and the songs themselves reveling with an intoxicating atmosphere.

Whilst the lighting in the Six Six is always frustratingly mainly from the back with little to shine onto the performers except light from the bar itself, the darkness and backlit effect worked well in this instance, the band bathed in red and somewhat shadowy. With the glorious voice of Mather Louth, tinted with a Southern burr, the Apostles have the perfect singer to tell tales of things that should be left in the twilight world between Heaven and Hell, her delivery bringing it all to life. Next to her, the foreboding tall, thin figure of Chopper Franklin exudes rock ‘n’ roll from his every move, his guitar and mandolin used with dexterous and deadly intent. Completing the quartet, the driving upright bass of Thomas Lorioux is a thunderous and relentless force, breathless in its drive and the violin playing of Luis Mascaro is the lightning to Lorioux’s thunder as it darts in and out, sometimes dancing but equally capable of bringing a deftly unsettling air.

Heathen Apostles -Bloodgrass Music

Capable of doing elegiac as well as the frantic, there’s a great dynamic at play as the heavy ‘Death’s Head’ and a galloping ‘Fools Gold’ stand shoulder to shoulder with the frisky ‘Shady Grove’ and the folk of ‘Roots Run Deep’. New material hits the spot too as ‘Black Hawk’ illustrates just what a rich seam of material they’re digging and with ‘Gravediggers’ touchingly dedicated to the late, great Mark Lanegan and the grandeur of their cover of Hank Williams ‘Ramblin’ Man’, the outfit show they’ve certainly got the style and talent to continue to work this fertile land.

Closing with the buoyant drinking song ‘Two More for the Road’ and a tremendous ‘Without a Trace’, this black-clad gang rode out of town with smiles on their faces, their job here done and their willing victims slain by glorious murder ballads. Magnificent.

Review by Paul Monkhouse


Heathen Apostles Live – Dark Western Show Review

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

Heathen Apostles Live - Dark Western Show

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 Live - Dark Western Show

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.


Album Review of Gothic Western Band Heathen Apostles

The Los Angeles-based dark roots and gothic Western band Heathen Apostles continue their (very dark) interpretation of Bluegrass, Country and Blues. They have just compiled Volumes 3 and 4 of their collection of songs together under the title Bloodgrass. 

Heathen Apostles - Gothic Western Band

Occasionally I’ll start a review along the lines of “not technically not a Celtic-Punk band” which usually means that that the band that I go on to review are not a Celtic-Punk band but are utterly brilliant and have a fiddle /accordion / banjo in them. Well welcome to the Heathen Apostles. A dark (very dark) gothic country band with their very own genre’s – ‘Doombilly’ and ‘Bloodgrass’. Heathen Apostles do to Country / Bluegrass music what the bands we all love here do to Celtic music but they also add on a dash of Goth as well. They may be based in LA but they sound like they’re from the Appalachian’s harkening back to a bygone chapter of American history while firmly keeping one foot planted in the present-day. The band features ex-members of Radio Noir (Mather Louth), The Cramps (Chopper Franklin), Kings of Nuthin’ (Thomas Lorioux), and Christian Death (Stevyn Grey) in their ranks. In fact it’s amazing the sound that only four folks can wring out. They have already started their biggest (yet!) European tour (mainly Germany) so be sure to check out the tour dates squeezed in here somewhere and move heaven and earth to get to one of their shows and then let me know how it was!

Heathen Apostles - Gothic Western Band

We have already reviewed Bloodgrass Volume 3 last September but here it comes with an extra five songs labelled as Volume 4 and in an attempt to tie in with the Euro tour we are more than happy to re-visit the whole album. The album begins with ‘Bad Patch’ and fiddle, banjo and mandolin accompany Mather’s beautiful voice as she sings of the tragedy of the 1930s Dust Bowl. Severe dust storms wreaked havoc on the mid-west prairies during the 1930’s causing untold misery to those poor unfortunates. Trying to survive through those times “by the skin of their teeth”. Great lyrics and one hell of a catchy tune with the bands dark side kept at arms length.. at least musically anyway.

The next song is much more Apostles at heart. ‘Careful What You Pray For’ tells of the danger of religious dogma and while not dissimilar to the opening track it has that much darker feel to it. Mather’s amazing voice is put to great use here. What we must beware is that people don’t replace the dogmatism and fanaticism of some religions with divisive ideologies. These days notions such as original sin, atonement, ritual and excommunication are as likely to come from secular groups as they are from religious institutions. ‘Black Hawk’ was the lead single for the EP and I’ll not pretend to have any idea what the lyrics are about except the band say it tells “of transformation by shedding the darkness in order to welcome in the light” so there.

One band we always sneak a mention in when we review the Heathen Apostles is the fantastic The Phantom Of the Black Hills. Along with sharing many similarities music wise, they also share a record label (Ratchet Blade Records), a producer, the Apostles, Chopper Franklin and a love for telling entire stories in their intricate videos. So if you like what you hear go back settle down and check on their older videos. ‘Demi Monde’ is a slow song shrouded in occult imagery paying homage to the fires of Beltane while ‘Tall Rider’ brings down the curtain down on what was Volume 3. Catchy as hell and a reminder of the possibility of healing through love. With their roots in the ‘Folk tradition’ the music mangles up several genres while all the time adding much to the final sound.

What follows are the five songs that make up Volume 4 that begins with the catchy ‘Roots Run Deep’ and not unexpectedly continues in the same vein. The best of this side of the album is ‘Into The Wild’ where moments of Mather’s primal snarl and swagger run parallel along some of her most beautiful singing on the whole album. A beast of a song that sees them at their thigh slapping foot stomping best. ‘No Peace’ was written in response to recent cases of police brutality. Despite the subject matter the song bounces along rather nicely. ‘Solitary’ speaks of following one’s own path in life, no matter how lonely the road it may seem at times. Meaningful words given even more meaning through Mather. The album closes with the amazing ‘Shadow Of The Crows’ with it’s hybrid of several genres, mixing Middle Eastern and borderline psychedelic sounds with the band’s distinctly gloomy bloodgrass. The CD which comes out at any time contains an extra song I’ve not heard yet. A cover of the late Screaming Trees frontman Mark Lanegan’s song ‘The Gravedigger’s Song’.

If anyone knows of any promoters or venues able to help get this gothic country band over to the UK please get in touch. PLEASE!

The music here is exemplary throughout. Catchy as hell and heading there very happily! The various elements are once again handled expertly through the excellent production of master producer Chopper Franklin. With their roots in the ‘Folk tradition’ they mangle up several genres while adding much to the final sound and as you can imagine a band with their own genre it is virtually impossible to compare them to anyone else! The excellent artwork was done by their good friend Stephanie Inagaki, who also did the cover art for the previous Bloodgrass Vol. 1 & 2 album and EPs.


London Celtic Punks Reviews Gothic Country Band Heathen Apostles

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

Gothic Country Band

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.

dark roots & gothic country

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.

dark roots & gothic country 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 New Bloodgrass Volume 3 EP

new Bloodgrass Vol. 3 EPThe following is a reprint of ViolaNoir.com Review of  the new 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.


“Prayers Before The Plague” – Gothic Americana EP Review

Heathen Apostles - Gothic Americana EP ReviewGothic Americana EP ReviewGothic Western 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 Americana 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 – Gothic Western Live EP (Review)

Gothic Western Live EPHeathen Apostles – Prayers Before The Plague – Gothic Western 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

In Russian:

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 – Gothic Americana Blues EP Review

Heathen Apostles - Gothic Americana 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 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 - Gothic Americana BluesLabel 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.


Heathen Apostles – “Born By Lightning” Dark Blues Review

Dark Blues musicWith the new Heathen Apostles EP Born By Lightning the gothic americana pendulum has swung towards the blues. The new release is inspired with melancholy and macabra – two foundational themes for the authentic form of dark blues music. That echoes the style of the Heathen Apostles themselves.

The track list begins with the moderate tempoed blues track Death Bell Blues, which still focuses on dark country and southern gothic. Chosen One is much darker and scarier, it’s more to a post punk legacy that resonates well with blues themes. Born By Lightning has a thick, dense sound, interesting solutions in terms of the vocal line, and in general terms, this track is closer to the earlier tracks of the band. Devil Comes For All Of Us with the Heathen Apostles’  otherworldly conjuring and spells increase the horror in this story. Born By Lightning ends in a good way, with the driving and wild Scarecrow Blues.

The release turned out to be unified, integral in mood and sound at the same time. It is also impressive that Heathen Apostles undertook to investigate and dissect the gothic americana in each of its subgenre branches.

Review by Viola Noir  for violanoir.com 8/10


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

dark roots musicGothic Americanagothic countrySouthern Gothic or dark roots 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 black 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.

dark 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


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

Goth AmericanaChris Latta of Indy Metal Review had a great take (and an ‘A’ rating!) on the Goth 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.

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


Americana Noir Music – Review of Dust To Dust By Rootsville.com

Americana Noir Music With the Heathen Apostles we entered into the dark side of the music; we are at the Americana Noir 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.

The 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 


Review of Heathen Apostles in Herselt, Belgium By Rootsville Magazine

HeathenApostles.com has posted a nice review from Rootsville Magazine of the Pallieter Café show in Herselt, Belgium, here it is:

Heathen Apostles (US) 
Roots – Americana Noir 
Pallieter Café Herselt (08-07-2019)
reporter & photo credits: Freddie – Rootsville

 

Just back from the successful edition of Hookrock Festival and we are already back on track as they say. This time for four “Gothic Outlaws” from the “City of Angels” as a contradiction to it. These bringers of “Bloodgrass”, as they call it, go by the name Heathen Apostles, and consist of Mather Louth, Chopper Franklin, Thomas Lorioux and Luis Mascaro.

Rootsville MagazineWith this “Gothic Four” we end up in the past of American music history, but not exactly the traditional “American songbook”. Punk rock veteran Chopper Franklin has already played in groups such as “The Cramps” and “Nick Curran & The Lowlifes” and these are immediately names that stand out. Getting together with femme fatale Mather Louth, their mutual admiration for murder ballads, Americana Noir and Memento Mori came into the picture and soon Heathen Apostles was created. The band was completed by the addition of Thomas Lorioux and Luis Mascaro.

Rootsville MagazineUnder the guise of their new album Dust to Dust they are now touring across Europe. On this Monday evening they are not at the gates of the Titty Twister in the Mexican hinterland, but simply at the Pallieter Café in Herselt , and we are grateful  to Kurt from the Rootstown agency for that.

There is a saying of “every bird sings as it is called”, but we still have to make some exception with the Heathen Apostles. This foursome has the dress code “Gothic Black” and this together with the skulls and tattoos may seem somewhat impressive but are all in all friendliness itself, even though there is suddenly an impressive Chopper Franklin for you to get acquainted with. The regular bass player Thomas Lorioux was not able to play the entire tour, so the Belgian Jens DeWaele, who we also know from the Ghent “Fifty Foot Combo” and “The Grave Brothers”, was hired as a replacement.

Since it was my first introduction to this “Bloodgrass” I didn’t know what to expect but these Heathen Apostles immediately caught my eye with songs like “Fool’s Gold” and “Death’s Head”. Mather Louth is a murder girl who can really sing and immediately catches your attention. In another outfit she could even be a “star” in any of the roots and / or Americana bands. The support of Chopper on the guitar, Jens on the double bass and the phenomenal Luis Mascaro on the fiddle make their “Bloodgrass” more than digestible, even more so you’ll immediately love it.

Rootsville MagazineDark? Perhaps in the lyrics that are also about murder and destruction, but the music would almost encourage you to dance. The prominent presence of the fiddle also runs as a common thread throughout their performance. It becomes unreal when they perform a piece of Gershwin. “Summertime” was actually written by DuBose Heyward but due to commercial considerations only Gershwin was added. The Heathen Apostles version of this classic almost made me fall off my chair, and my compadre Vic immediately grabbed his smartphone to make a recording of it. It is simply a fine example of their abilities, as if Mather Louth has some DNA from diva Fitzgerald.

Of course we also get a lot of songs from their album Dust To Dust, such as an unbelievably strong version of the traditional “In The Pines”, a song that we also know in the versions of Lead Belly and Nirvana. This song has an exclaiming violin and fits perfectly in the picture of the Heathen Apostles. Respect!

Voilà, and so we are immediately in the mood to head towards the 44th edition of Sjockfest, all this next weekend at the Poeylehei in Gierle where we have a second meeting with these Heathen Apostles on the high mass of the “Rock” n Roll Highlight of the Year “.

Rootsville Magazine


Heathen Apostles “Dust To Dust” Review at Doom Folk Site Rock N’ Folk

Dust To Dust - Doom FolkThe new Heathen Apostles album Dust To Dust received a great review on the Doom Folk site Folk N’ Rock. It was written by Jeff Goble, here it is in its entirety, you can also check it out on the site HERE.

“With their iconic blend of Gothic aesthetics and Americana influences, Heathen Apostles set out to create a sound that’s easy to describe as one-of-a-kind. The group’s music is as charismatic as the band’s lush dark aesthetics, bringing a cinematic edge to their sound.

Although Goth and Americana might seem like two odd bedfellows, the mix actually works really well. If you stop and think about it, most Americana songs are rooted in darker stories and mysterious characters. This is definitely a strong connection with the dark and eerie aesthetics of Goth music and art. Heathen Apostles managed to find the right balance when blending these two cultures, making for something really special.

Recently, they set out to release their new studio album, “Dust To Dust.” This release is a musical journey through various moods, and it dives deeper into other genres, ranging from alternative rock to outlaw country. The record kicks off with “Burn It To The Ground.” As the title might suggest, this is a beginning with a bang, showcasing a relentless storm that brings a darker edge to a traditional Americana rhythm.

One of the most exciting aspects of this release is undoubtedly the group’s storytelling. On songs such as “Home Sweet Holmes,” the group dives deeper into the story of serial murderer H.H. Holmes, making for a vivid narrative twist. They also explore different tonal ideals and influences on tracks such as “Two For The Road.”

There is also room for a classic, with a cover of the timeless folk song, “In The Pines.” This track was popularized by artists as diverse as Leadbelly and Nirvana, to mention but a few.

Throughout the span of 13 tracks, this album feels like a sound roller-coaster, as the group takes you through such a wide array of tones and influences. In addition to the kaleidoscopic creative twist of the band’s musicianship, the production of the album is also quite inspiring. It feels warm and organic yet crisp and compelling. There is a pleasant liveliness to this release, which highlights the band’s chemistry, and their ability to create music that feels very cohesive, rather than just patching things up with the help of recording studio trickery and post-production wizardry.

This album is a labor of love and the sound of a band with a powerful vision. They know where they want to take their art, and as a result, they were able to deliver an exciting and meaningful album to the audience.

Ultimately, this release makes for a rewarding listening experience – a set list filled with highlights and diverse sonic characteristics. If you are a fan of artists such as Nick Cave, Howlin’ Wolf, The Pogues, or Devil Makes Three, you are going to enjoy this particular project!

Final Score  8.7  Great

Dust to Dust is a winning combination of different musical worlds, clashing into something fresh and original.


Heathen Apostles Americana 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 Goth vision of the band. Here is the English translation:

Heathen Apostles Americana 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.

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

 


Heathen Apostles – The Fall Reviewed – Dark Roots Music

Heathen Apostles - Dark Roots MusicReview from RocknFolk.com: Hailing from Los Angeles, Heathen Apostles took their blend of dark roots music to new heights on their most recent studio release, The Fall.

The new release was published just in time for Halloween, matching the dark theme and vibes of the holiday. On this compact, yet richly detailed EP, the group confirmed its sonic aesthetics. The EP is almost like a continuation of the same conversation initiated on the band’s ambitious LP. The project, released earlier in the summer, is titled Bloodgrass Vol. I & II. On this follow-up EP, the group stays true to its roots. Yet, they explore their sonic aesthetics from a slightly different perspective. The songs on “The Fall” EP are generally more bare, going deeper into the band’s gothic/noir tendencies.

The ominous textures and eerie soundscapes of the band’s music is yet again a salient trait of this project. The Fall is a season when things die off and decay. The flora loses its warmth and bright color. The whole landscape acquires greyscale tints, as the winter approaches with no forgiveness. The sound of this EP holds the melancholia of the seasonal changes, while also capturing the band’s ability to create visceral, cinematic tones.

The group, which was started by Mather Louth (Radio Noir) and Chopper Franklin (The Cramps, Nick Curran & the Lowlifes), has developed a really strong chemistry throughout the years.

With every new release, they are willing to take more chances. Their vision is all about testing the boundaries of their formula, going for a diverse, intuitive and forward-thinking tone. Creativity comes easy for these talented musicians, who understand the power of storytelling. Their songs are like forgotten folk tales, murder ballads and dark stories, with a sinister twist.

Ultimately, The Fall EP is a very organic, consistent work. It really makes for a very immersive listening experience, pleasing old and new fans. The textures are absolutely impeccable. In particular, I really enjoy diving deeper into the otherworldly sonic landscapes. This approach makes for a dark, haunting tone, with a mood that suits the lyrics. These tracks display an inner sense of melancholia. Yet, this is far from being sad and depressive music. On the contrary, this release will keep you engaged from the moment you hit the play button! 8.5 of 10, review by Jeff.

Read the article at Rock n Folk HERE. You can listen to and purchase the dark roots music of The Fall EP HERE.


Heathen Apostles’ Southern Gothic “The Fall” EP Reviewed

Heathen Apostles southern gothicPrivate heroes of violanoir’s blog and wonderful extraordinary musicians Heathen Apostles present the new EP “The Fall”, which after the releases of Bloodgrass Vol. I & II is designed to return all the gothic and southern gothic to the sound of this band.

In “Through the Forest, Through the Trees” opens the otherworldly reality of the dark country’s melancholy and  tales, penetrating the soul, silent spells… “The Fall” continues the theme more intensely and passionately, like the first releases of Heathen Apostles – “Boot Hill Hymnal”, “Without A Trace” and “Death’s Head”. The romantic track “Out of the Ground” revives the early Heathen Apostles with all the mystical / heathen (pardon for tautology) fatality.

Nice coincidence – Heathen Apostles – The Fall was released 5 days after the release of “Red Dead Redemption 2”. Now it is possible to ignore the original soundtrack of the game and start to its passage with the sound of true atmospheric gothic americana music. Review by ViolaNoir.

Read the Russian language HERE. Listen to The Fall EP HERE.


No Depression Reviews Heathen Apostles’ Bloodgrass Vol. I & 2

No Depression Reviews Bloodgrass Vol. 1 & 2No Depression reviews Heathen Apostles’ Bloodgrass Vol. 1 & 2 (by James G. Carlson):

LA Dark Roots Quartet Heathen Apostles Releases Bloodgrass Vol. I & II

From the fertile ground of the most recent wave of roots music there has emerged an abundance of noteworthy bands and singer-songwriters. One such band is the LA-based Heathen Apostles, whose latest release, a full-length which combines the band’s Bloodgrass EPs, marks a significant point in the evolution of their sound. Call their sound what you will – gothic Americana, folk noir, doom country – but it cannot be denied that it successfully fuses the styles of bygone eras with those of today’s fringe music. And the material on the band’s Bloodgrass Vol. I & II release is a fine example of this.

Heathen Apostles began over six years ago with a fateful meeting between vocalist Mather Louth (Radio Noir) and guitarist Chopper Franklin (The Cramps, Nick Curran & the Lowlifes), who revealed their mutual appreciation for murder balladry, Americana, and momento mori to one another. With the strong yet haunting vocals of Louth and the skills of multi-instrumentalist Franklin, the two kindred spirits sought out other souls to bring into the fold, soon adding the upright bass thumping of Thomas Lorioux (The Kings of Nuthin’) and the violin playing of Luis Mascaro. Since then, the band has released two full-lengths, Boot Hill Hymnal and Fire to the Fuse, as well as a small handful of EPs and singles, and have played their share of shows.

Bloodgrass Vol. II & II opens with the Apostles’ dark, creeping rendition of Gershwin and Heyward’s classic “Summertime.” “Death Came a Ridin’,” a Heathen Apostles original, is a macabre piece dedicated to the reaper, with Louth employing a storytelling style of lyrical conveyance. “Dark Days” somehow manages to successfully marry gloomy folk with gypsy jazz, and features some of Louth’s best vocal work on the album. “Lady in Gold” is an energetic gothic country offering, while “Deadly Nightshade” is an ominous picker with a simple but nicely punctuating beat. “Paint the Stars,” an easy standout on this album, kicks off with lively violin, guitar strumming, and steady beat, and then incorporates a powerful vocal performance by Louth. Other covers include versions of “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive” (Darrell Scott), “Ramblin’ Man” (Hank Williams), and “Shady Grove” (traditional). “D.O.A.” has a roots rock feel to it, while the closer, “Fever Jane,” another easy standout, is a moody picker with darkly beautiful vocals.     

Like all the band’s releases to date, the Heathen Apostles’ Bloodgrass Vol. I & II is available from Ratchet Blade Records. And to follow it up, the band is also preparing to release yet another EP, titled The Fall, in the very near future.
By James G. Carlson.

To read the review on NoDepression.com, click 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 Vol. I Heathen Apostles Bloodgrass Vol. I


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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