by Jonathan Bannister (@j_utah)
Looking at the band photo for Hidden Ritual I’m reminded of the movie Manos: The Hands of Fate. Something about the rock mantle and general vibe of the photo makes me recall the setting of that Mystery Science Theater 3000 classic. The movie has a last known photo quality about it. Like watching a home movie found at a flea market only to discover spooks and ghouls and possibly someone being sacrificed. These same subjects also come to mind when listening to Always, Hidden Rituals new album that we’re premiering for you today.
The Austin band consists of frontman-guitarist Jaime Zuverza, bassist Ryan Camarillo, drummer Matt Reilly, and keyboardist Robert Kaye. Unlike their first album, they recorded the album analogue. Always is an album that could only come from Texas. Post-punk with a hill country filter. The keyboard is all late night and haunting. The pace is after hours, east 6th street drenched in fog and humidity. It’s a sound that fits their name to a tee. The album works best as a whole, like going through a fun house. Each track working at letting the unease and mood build and flow between the tracks. Songs like "Rats," "Limo," and "Other Side" await you to enter from the next room over, ready with their tales of vermin and travels to other dimensions.
Regarding the time when the album was recorded Zuverza has said “Juan Gabriel reunited with god recently, I love him and I also love Johnny O, the freestyle recording artist. I consider these two behemoths huge influences and I thought about them a lot last year when we were in the studio recording Always.” While anyone might be hard pressed to hear those influences in the album, it’s nice to know they’re there, steering our guides as they tell the stories they wish to tell, how they wish to tell it. It’s a ride you’ll want to get on as soon as it’s done.
Always is out October 21, 2016 via Monofonus Press. You can pre-order the album now.
If you’re an Austin resident, be sure to check out the release show October 25, 2016 at Hotel Vegas. They’ll be playing with Kikagaku Moyo, RF Shannon, and DJ Merlin Manson.