Thursday, January 24, 2019

SIGILS - You Built the Altar, You Lit the Leaves

"For fans of Pallbearer, Yob... Long Island, New York, quartet Sigils make highly emotional doom full of soaring vocals, melancholy guitars, and lyrics about witchcraft and ghosts... 'You Built the Altar, You Lit the Leaves' draws on [vocalist Salvatore Rex's] experiences as a queer person coming of age in the often hyper-masculine and actively unwelcoming world of metal and hardcore, and his efforts to come to terms with his feeling of otherness."

Sigils announces the March 22nd release date of its debut album, You Built the Altar, You Lit the Leaves.

Stream the video for first single "Faceless," here:

An extraordinary debut, You Built the Altar, You Lit the Leaves introduces this Long Island, New York band to the world via 36 minutes of doom that will chill spines and bring tears to eyes.

From opener "Samhain" to closer "The Wicked, The Cloaked," You Built the Altar, You Lit the Leaves is a slow-motion storm of haunting melodies, creeping across lonesome landscapes, powered by metallic muscle – the spirit of Black Sabbath and Godspeed You! Black Emperor, by way of the hardcore scene from which guitarist Tom Colello comes as an ex-member of Shai Hulud and Hollow Earth. 

Mournful and glistening, Sigils' sound crushes as vocalist Salvatore Rex presides over the ceremonies with a voice that soars like the child of Ozzy and Michael Stipe. Rex makes this statement about his occult-heavy lyrics:

"A lot of these songs are about my process of discovering ritual as a part of my day to day experience. There’s a lot about the concept of witchcraft, the history of women who were persecuted and murdered for their nonconformity. And a little bit of awe in these old practices, rotes, rituals, and smells. It’s all oddly healing, in a way."

Rex, who for years has made folk music under his own name, describes the path by which he arrived at Sigils:

"Writing about these historically persecuted people came out of me thinking critically about the feeling of otherness. Growing up as a queer kid and going to metal shows, it was not the most welcoming environment. It was a culture that praised masculinity above all else. The women who dared to go to metal shows were frequently harassed and belittled. I never met anyone who didn’t identify as straight who hung around very long. When I was 21 I went to some little local metal show; I can’t even remember who was playing. I remember watching one of the bands when some guy who was quite well known around these parts walked up to me, called me a faggot, punched me in the face and spit on me. No one did a thing. I swore off the whole thing for a long time. After I met Tom Colello and we became as close as we have, I decided to rethink my hiatus from a scene I felt thoroughly rejected by. We had lots of talks about my experiences with homophobia in that world. We started writing this music with the idea that it would be private, for us. Then, after getting to know more people involved in this scene I thought it was far more important for me to be here, to be a person that even one weird, scared kid can look at and say, 'well, if there’s someone else like me here, maybe I deserve to be here too.' I don’t think I’m going to change metal music. It was just important for me to reclaim something I love, on my terms."

You Built the Altar, You Lit the Leaves was recorded and mixed by the band in Massapequa Park, New York, in a house that has been in the Colello family for four generations. The album was mastered by Alan Douches at West West Side Music (Converge, Mastodon, Kurt Vile).

You Built the Altar, You Lit the Leaves will be available on vinyl, cassette, and digital. Pre-order, here:

1) Samhain
2) Ritual
3) Faceless
4) The Wicked, The Cloaked

Salvatore Rex - guitar, vocals
Tom Colello - guitar, vocals
Adam Hunter - bass
Mike Costa - drums

Cover art, by David Catalano

Band photo, by Jon Greco

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