SKRYPTOR: CRAW, DAZZLING KILLMEN, STATS MEMBERS TEAM UP IN NEW NYC TRIO; DEBUT ALBUM PRE-ORDER LAUNCHED, TEASER VIDEO POSTED
Skryptor – a new NYC trio featuring members of craw, Dazzling Killmen, and STATS – announces its debut album, Luminous Volumes.
A joint venture between renowned labels Skin Graft, Sleeping Giant Glossolalia, and Aqualamb, Luminous Volumes will be released March 29th in vinyl, CD, and digital formats, along with a deluxe, illustrated, 200-page book featuring original horror stories curated by Skryptor bassist David McClelland.
Watch a teaser video, containing short audio clips from the album, here:
Pre-order the album, here:
Meditative one moment and furious the next, Luminous Volumes is the work of learned veterans with a holistic command of loud-rock techniques. Black Sabbath’s hazy stomp; the ecstatic modal improvisation of Mahavishnu Orchestra; the leering bass lurch that haunts the Touch & Go Records catalog; the cerebral bite of New York City’s contemporary metal underground: Skryptor jigsaws all these and more into wordless songs that feel both familiar and strange at once, as though remembered from a dream.
Skryptor's roots stretch back to the early '90s post-hardcore underground. Cleveland's craw and St. Louis’ Dazzling Killmen, two of the more advanced and unusual bands of the era, struck up a friendship and occasionally shared the stage. Of craw, a Pitchfork review states: "Post-hardcore, technical metal, math rock, and experimental noise all flow together under a hazy smog of something that resembles jazz." A Dangerous Minds article describes Dazzling Killmen with these words: "Cathartic and discordant guitar stabs, a jaw-dropping rhythm section, arrangements of baroque complexity, and a harrowing, overbearing, inescapable sense of pure dread."
David McClelland and Tim Garrigan – guitarists in craw and the Killmen, respectively – reconnected when both found themselves living in New York in the early 2000s. In Skryptor, they join up with one of their biggest admirers and strongest supporters, Hank Shteamer – drummer for bands such as STATS and Aa, senior editor at Rolling Stone, and an avid fan of McClelland's and Garrigan's since his teenage years in St. Louis. A 2015 craw box set, spearheaded by Shteamer and co-released by Aqualamb, led to two reunion gigs, which in turn became the direct impetus for Skryptor: “When craw powered up again, I realized I had come to some sort of peace with the idea of making music as an endless process, and began stockpiling musical ideas. That led in a pretty natural way to Skryptor,” says McClelland.
Shteamer and McClelland set about writing together, with McClelland on bass for the first time in his musical career. In need of a third instrumental voice, they approached Garrigan – he agreed to join and the nascent band immediately dove into writing its debut. "They had some good riffs/arrangements of some things, and gave me room to add and stretch out parts," explains Garrigan. "I eventually contributed more writing/arrangement wise."
Debut album Luminous Volumes was recorded and mixed by Colin Marston (Dysrhythmia, Kelly Moran) and mastered by Carl Saff (KEN mode, Young Widows). The results range from the muscular, kinetic prog-punk of "Red Mountain" and the wild synchronized shredding of "Raga" to the gentle atmospherics of epic album closer "Summer Blossoms." Fans of the members' prior bands will recognize a similar brand of gritty intensity and brainy intricacy in Skryptor, coupled with a new focus on concision, power and improvisational depth.
“There are definitely still times at band practice when I look around and kind of can't believe I'm actually in the room with these two guys,” enthuses Shteamer. “I was only just beginning to play drums around the time I first heard those bands, and the musicianship involved in [craw and Dazzling Killmen] just seemed superhuman. I only really came to appreciate classic rock and such later, so these bands were like my Zeppelin and Beatles.”
Luminous Volumes' companion book fits in to Aqualamb's ongoing series – the Brooklyn label has made its name by publishing a meticulously designed, softbound book as the official physical format for each of its musical releases. An illustrated collection of short stories, penned by McClelland and other authors, Luminous Volumes comprises surreal and supernatural tales of bloodthirsty mermaids, deceptive twins, trench warfare, and more.
Luminous Volumes tracklist:
2) Lotus and Mace
3) The Orchard, pt. 1
5) Red Mountain
6) The Orchard, pt. 2
7) Summer Blossoms
Luminous Volumes stories:
"Master of Ceremony" by Sean Madigan Hoen
"Dry Cleaning" by David McClelland, with illustrations by Fritz Welch
"The Sound of the Bridge" by Tom Newton, with illustrations by Sarah Austensen Wilson
"Memories" by William A. Turley, with illustrations by Guno Park
"Brendan Ryan's Rocket Car" by David McClelland, with illustrations by Jimi Sakai
"Brights" by Chaunceton Bird
"Stork" by Jeremy Johnston
"Slaughterhouse Vision" by Maria Gabriele Baker, with illustrations by Paul Nitsche
"For Your Kindness, For Your Buttons" by Ian Caskey
"Brothers" by David McClelland
"Surfin' Turf" by Sarah Blank
"God of Thunder" by Sean Madigan Hoen
"Asylum" by Benjamin Smart
Tim Garrigan - guitar, keyboards
David McClelland - bass, keyboards
Hank Shteamer- drums
Band photo by Millie Benson
Cover art by David McClelland
Press release, written in collaboration with Doug Moore