Pillars Of A Twisted City
New Music

Eerie psych post punk / thrashy metal hybrid PILLARS OF A TWISTED CITY break down new mind-bending album

3 mins read

Formed in 2020 by Johnny Stewart and the follow-up to the group’s self-titled debut, Sentinel by PILLARS OF A TWISTED CITY harnesses aspects of black and thrash metal but also dives more into post-punk and gothic elements with beautiful atmospheric moments scattered throughout.

Inspired by time spent in the Pacific Northwest, Stewart composed Sentinel in Tofino, Canada, and tracked many of the instruments in an isolated floating studio in Clayoquot Sound.

This beautiful backdrop influenced a lot of the sound and direction of the record as Stewart explains, “Thematically the isolation upon the ocean with only eagles, orcas, and meteorites inspired creative sounds. The songs came out naturally with additional influence and inspiration from events around us in the world over the last few years.”

The album also finds Stewart incorporating banjo, accordion, and classical nylon string guitar into his compositions. The recording of these more exotic instruments took place in the aforementioned floating studio, housed in a shipment container entitled Sentinel, thus also serving as the inspiration for the album title.

“The goals of this band are to push boundaries, explore new sounds, and write good songs. Pillars of a Twisted city is an artistic collaboration celebrating freedom of creativity, removing consumer pressure, and concentrating on unique recording and songwriting experiences,” explains Stewart.

Debt Offensive Records was formed in 2011 in Calgary. To date the label have released over 30 albums and worked with artists such as Supercush, Woolworm, Unfun, Motorists, Slates, No Problem. Paradise, Pre Nup, and many more.

“Sparse melodies and cold atmosphere is haunting. The best part of 80’s guitar goth mixed with a desperate rasp. Killing Joke meets Joy Division meets Bauhaus, presented in the sonic equivalent to a boom box recording. Classic.” – James Farwell, Bison

Pillars of a Twisted City fuses together elements of black metal, gothic and thrash punk and is often hailed as the Ween of Heavy Metal.

The very idea of a heavy metal Ween awards itself a double-take. It might even be considered blasphemous to some, but that’s exactly what Pillars Of A Twisted City is about. The Vancouver band harnesses an honest and raw approach to DIY metal with twists and turns at every corner. Inspired by a wide variety of musical influences like Entombed, Darkthrone, Thin Lizzy, The Who, Swervedriver, Gorgoroth, traditional Latin Flamenco music and The Damned, the band’s overall message is freedom. Not being chained to any one musical genre and not running the risk of homogenizing their sound.

Pillars Of A Twisted City’s album “Sentinel” is out this Friday, October 14th via Debt Offensive Records.

Track by track commentary:

Phantoms Hold – This instrumental song was inspired by Sicilian folk and Arabic music. Recording in the early morning aboard the floating studio outside of Tofino, Canada. A swirling droning song sets the tone for the album.

Subatomic Love – Layers of synth and bending guitar are the backdrop for the lyrical dystopian view of Love. Wave particle duality in a quantum vortex.

Impossible to define, essential to experience. Recorded at desecration studios in Vancouver Canada. Taking inspiration from bands Ride , My Bloody Valentine. With a smidge of Katatonia and Broken Social Scene thrown in.

Winter’s Blood – Pillars of a twisted city’s roots all stem from black metal. Winter‘s blood takes influence from bands such as Mayhem, Darkthrone, Enslaved. With a bit of a twist of death metal.

Growing up in the frozen waste lands of Manitoba ,Canada , the isolation and dissolution of a cold winter was the inspiration for this song. A fight to survive inhuman conditions. With the hand of death always on your shoulder.

Fires of Sodom – Human wickedness leads to total destruction. We imagine this song to be the soundtrack filling the streets of Sodom the moment before fire and brimstone rain down from above.

Using the Roland and Moog symphesizers and a vocoder this hunting electronic depiction of human opulence and annihilation was achieved.

Falling through the roof – This song is an observation of fellow artists that succumb to their own inflated ego. That lose touch with the reality of their surroundings. Crashing down through the metaphoric roof.

Musically inspired by Alice In Chains, Soundgarden. Guitars recorded in the Sentinel studio floating on Clayoquot Sound ,Canada.

Spill Response – This song was recorded on crystal clear night aboard the floating Studio. Throw in some meteorites, mushrooms and constellations and a song develops.

Lyrics were written for the song , but in the end decided to leave them out . The magic of the violins and cello carry the melody better than any words could.

A Haunting sad instrumental soaked in beauty.

Significant Tragedies – Lyrically this song is an observation of the damaging effects of colonialism on first Nations and Indigenous people around the world. The forceful tactics of the oppressor to strip people of their culture and identity in the name of false prophets.

And the strength of the Indigenous people to fight and reclaim autonomy and reparations for atrocities committed.

Recorded at desecration studios in Vancouver Canada.

Only the night – “Moving eyes with Crimson tears, Only Night knows who you are, A thin vale of sanity burns, As ashes fall to the ground.”

Before there was music for this song it was a poem by J.Stewart that was transcribed to fit the music. Taking inspiration from Bukowski, Huxley. Musically a tip of a hat to Killing Joke, Bauhaus .

Incinerator – Surfs up! This Ventures, Dick Dale inspired instrumental is a nose riding hang 10 delight. The fender jazz master through a 65 deluxe reverb achieves the magical tones needed for the song.

The title of the song is inspired by the legendary rock called incinerator at Long Beach, Tofino, Canada.

This is the bands favourite surf spot.

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