Spitiworld by Jennifer Olsen

10 alt-country records that inspired SPIRITWORLD’s new hardcore masterpiece “Pagan Rhythms”

5 mins read

From Las Vegas, Nevada, SpiritWorld is a metallic hardcore band that embodies the spirit of Vegas… apocalyptic, occult-ridden, metallic hardcore with an undercurrent of country-western and desert vibes. His newly announced apocalyptic hardcore masterpiece “Pagan Rhythms” album features producer Sam Pura (Self Defense Family) and drummer Thomas Pridgen (The Mars Volta), and you can taste some of it through 2 amazing tracks below. To celebrate, we have teamed up with frontman Stu Folsom to unveils something that might feel a bit unexpected :) and give you his 10 alt-country records that inspired his work!

SpiritWorld brings absolutely crushing stuff, inspired by old Slayer, Sepultura, and Bolt Thrower, and guaranteed to resonate with fans of Hatebreed, Ringworm, or Integrity… but equally influenced by country singers like George Jones, country-punks like John Doe of X, and Western authors like Cormac McCarthy!

Frontman Stu Folsom states:

“There was a mix of George Jones, Slayer and 7 Seconds constantly blasting in the family car and I fell in love with all of it… I am making the records that I long to hear and I know they will land somehow in the arms of loners, outcasts and working-class folks like me who need them.”

1. Terry Allen – Juarez (1975)

The greatest concept album of all time. Heralded as one of the singer songwriter masterpieces, up there with Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks; Allen’s tales of Bordertown noir, lust and murder have been presented as an album, modern art installations and feature length radio serials on NPR. This shit is gold.

2. Marty Robbins – Gunfighter Ballad’s and Trail Songs (1959)

Absolute classic by the GOAT…. Nuff said.

3. Lydia Loveless – Somewhere Else (2014)

I can’t even explain how good this record is. Bloodshot has put out some of my favorite albums and this stands up on the podium with the best of them. These songs are wrenching, heartfelt and beg to be worshipped. Bow down.

4. Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives – Way Out West (2017)

I’ve lived most of my life in the desert, exploring the Great Basin and Mojave, blasting the radio down lonesome highways. Way Out West is incredible. Do yourself a favor and let Marty and the boys ride shotgun next time you go to Joshua Tree.

5. Lord Huron – Strange Trails (2015)

My brother Shotgun Larry turned me on to LH and I have worn this record out. I have punished/shared it with almost everyone in my inner circle. Top shelf production and songwriting that I still have in heavy rotation.

6. Nikki Lane – Highway Queen (2017)

Something new about this album keeps finding me and blowing my mind. I revisited this a lot while writing Pagan Rhythms. Some of my favorite road trip memories the last few years have consisted of Jen driving her bad ass Challenger, blasting the Highway Queen while we tear down the road singing along.

7. Michigan RattlersEvergreen (2018)

The Rattlers are the shit. Graham Young’s songwriting is sooooo damn good. I have been trying to pin down a trip to go see them play live for the last few years and have been thwarted at every turn. Trust me, this is a newer band that is doing something special.

8. Old 97s – Too Far to Care (1997)

My favorite band of all time. My favorite record of all time. I was lucky enough to catch them open for Social Distortion when this album came out. Over two decades later and it still inspires me and gets played on the reg. Fuck with it.

9. Loretta Lynn – Fist City (1968)

The first concert I ever went to was Loretta Lynn. My Mom drug all six of her kids to a casino lounge in Las Vegas to see the Coal Miner’s Daughter. Fist City is one of the greatest songs ever written by the greatest to ever do it. Loretta Lynn’s voice reminds me of home. I love you Mom!

10. Susto – S/T (2014)

SpiritWorld’s guitarist Matt Schrum sent me this record when it came out. I feel this album so much, I drove to Cali by myself to go see them tour on it. Anyone that has been to the West Coast to watch a roots/country show knows how fucking lame and out of touch Hollywood can be. Only the dopest of bands, touring on the dopest of albums can force me to brave that sewer… Especially solo.

More about SpiritWorld:

SpiritWorld is the work of Las Vegas-based artist, author, songwriter and vocalist, Stu Folsom. Folsom is a true independent and SpiritWorld’s Pagan Rhythms is the latest chapter in his unpredictable story.

A mercurial hero in the Las Vegas scene and beyond, Folsom is known to exercise his artistic freedom to the fullest and leave people guessing as to what is next – from the metallic hardcore of his namesake band, Folsom, to the country-punk of SpiritWorld’s early material, informed by the likes of John Doe and Steve Earle.

Under the SpiritWorld name, Folsom has released one demo, one single, and a split – but any fans who have gotten comfortable with SpiritWorld’s countrified sound will be shocked and rocked by the new album. Pagan Rhythms is a festival of relentless, apocalyptic hardcore – nine over-the-top tracks, rooted in the warlike sounds of Slayer, Sepultura, and Bolt Thrower, laced heavily with Wild West vibes, and containing contributions from some of the best musicians on the planet.

Pagan Rhythms was engineered, mixed, and mastered by Sam Pura (The Story So Far, Self Defense Family) and features drummer extraordinaire Thomas Pridgen (The Mars Volta, Trash Talk) among other players. From start to finish, the album bursts with energy and seethes with end-of-the-world drama. Any fan of the metallic hardcore ecstasy of Hatebreed, Ringworm, or Integrity will find something here to rejoice about.

Folsom describes the musical background that led him here:

“I grew up in a household full of country. My grandmother came out to Nevada from Texas after the Great Depression when there was nothing here and raised a family off the land. My grandfather was a rodeo cowboy and ranch hand. I grew up on honky tonk music and rodeo with five brothers. My brothers got into hardcore punk and metal in the late ’80s and early ’90s so there was a mix of George Jones, Slayer and 7 Seconds constantly blasting in the family car and I fell in love with all of it.”

Beyond music, there are literary and cinematic references at play. Pagan Rhythms is the auditory companion piece to a collection of Folsom’s short stories titled Godlessness (which will accompany the vinyl pressing) – Western horror stories influenced by Cormac McCarthy novels and Coen Brothers films, among others things.

Apocalyptic as the aesthetic might be, Folsom flips the narrative in a positive way. In his words:

“The gods are dead and we’re all alone. The world rots and every time I look at the news I can’t help but feel like Hell has swallowed us whole. I focus all my anxiety and despair into art and hope that I can bring a little respite to someone else lost out in the dark, even if it is only for a few moments. I am making the records that I long to hear and I know they will land somehow in the arms of loners, outcasts and working-class folks like me who need them.”

Pagan Rhythms musicians: Stu Folsom – vocals, guitar, bass, Matt Schrum – guitar, Lord Beezus – samples, Sam Pura – guitar, bass, Randy Moore – lead guitar, Thomas Pridgen – drums, Adam Elliott – drums

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