Offering a modern take on the classic blueprints set by Pornography-era The Cure, The Sisters Of Mercy and Red Lorry Yellow Lorry, Executioner’s Mask arrives at the darkest of times with its most haunting offering yet: the 11-song collection titled Despair Anthems, due out July 10th on Profound Lore.
Executioner’s Mask is the darkwave brainchild of three unlikely suspects: Jay Gambit of noise metal unit Crowhurst on vocals, Ryan Wilson from Intestinal Disgorge on synth and drum programming, and LACE and Cop Warmth’s Craig Mickle also on guitar. The trio added Samus Clintonov to their live lineup on drum duties in addition to Joshua Bosarge on bass and Jim Reed on second guitar. With Gambit’s deep, velvety vocals front and center, the driving rhythm section provides the perfect backdrop for the moody and melancholic guitars.
Check out their new video for ‘Bury Me A Grave’ below, and pre-order Despair Anthems today through here, and please do this today as Profound Lore will is donate 100% of the label Bandcamp sales to Black Lives Matter.
Jay Gambit also talks about three records that have influenced Executioner’s Mask the most, so keep reading whilst listening!
Dark Blue – Pure Reality
JS3 is one of my musical heroes and I know Craig is a fan as well. Pure Reality is neither their most polished record (that distinction goes to Victory is Rated) nor is it the one with all the “hits” (that’s the political ballad filled Start Of The World) – it’s the one that just feels like a waterfall of emotional weight collapsing down on its listeners. Every single track punches right into the center of my chest.
I spent the winter listening to Pure Reality on long train and bus rides through England, sometimes at very odd hours and it gave me endless comfort. When I sing, I try and give the same amount of conviction and heart that JS3 pours out on these eight songs. Also, one of my favorite guitar sounds ever – since I first heard ‘Clockcleaner as a fresh eyed college kid in Philly. That’s the highlights of my time in college. Listening to Babylon Rules until I knew every word, becoming infatuated with Swans and Young Widows and seeing shit like the Jesus Lizard and Suicide File reunions.
Also important to note – Jeff Zeigler who handled production on Despair Anthems produced this one.
Also Andy Nelson’s basslines are particularly potent. Are you listening to it yet?
Red Lorry Yellow Lorry – Talk about the Weather
Total guitar rock masterpiece right here. Imagine if you put Ian Curtis in a room with Big Black – that’s RLYL. It’s the perfect blend of riffing and atmosphere as well as having hooks and attitude. The whole concept behind Ex Mask being centered around aggressive guitars was rooted from my love from the impenetrable genreproofing that those rock elements of RLYL had.
There’s a video of the band playing the record live in 1985 that’s up on YouTube that absolutely crushes. It’s clear their audience swung towards the “goth” set, but as the group attacks the audience with feedback laden solos the crowd swells into a primitive mosh pit.
For a band that never kept a sound for more than a single album, this was one of their finest and most consistent moments.
AFI – Sing the Sorrow
There has never been another album that sounds like Sing the Sorrow. From the opening track which is their rip of the Terminator 2 theme song (‘The Defilers’ is ours) to the electronic pulses that pepper the the anthemic guitars of ‘Silver and Cold’ and ‘Death Of Seasons’ to the post-pop-punk of ‘Girls Not Grey’, which radiate with the nostalgia of the Tony Hawk Pro Skater generation’s first heartbreaks.
The musical content makes sense considering that only three years before, the band were still notorious the darkest band on Nitro Records. Butch Vig and Jerry Finn amplified and applied every idea that the band had, taking them from hardcore kids in Johnny The Homicidal Maniac shirts to full blown rock icons. Shades of Snapcase and Misfits influences are still visible, but the result is something transcendent of its influences.
The fact that our album is called Despair Anthems and their fan club is called the Despair Faction is no coincidence.