Heathen Apostles

topHeathen Apostles
Redwood Bar and Grill
Los Angeles
By Lucky
Photography by Mila Reynaud

Fifteen hours at the mundane didn’t stop me. Unusual cold weather for Los Angeles didn’t stop me. Killing time in Echo Park didn’t stop me. Six dollars to my name didn’t stop me. Nothing stopped me on this particular Monday’s eve from attending the Heathen Apostles record release party at the Redwood in downtown L.A.

The lot was free and so was the show, so that fit my budget just grand. Apparently the lure of free entry appealed to others as well as there was a damn good turnout on a night that otherwise could have been a death null. Seems the buzz surrounding Heathen Apostles is sweater than sugar.

Despite being close to the Heathen Apostles’ set time, frankly hoping to dig the show and then go man go, I discovered there was still another band slated before the headliners. Good thing extra added adrenaline surged my veins when I hit the fabled décor. It enabled me to rage. The band was called “Red Rose” and I do recall I liked them more and more as their set progressed. I liked the bass player. She was cute. She walked by me later as the night progressed, and didn’t even take a look. Alas, she doesn’t know I exist.

The period wear sported by various members of Heathen Apostles sparked interest amongst the barflies, kinda of an 1800’s reverend look, a bible in one hand and a gun in the other. All wore black and all meant business. Interest turned to intrigue as Mather Louth took the stage, in regalia that harkens back to times of hardship, blood and pain. Cape, hat, and a black mesh veil that disguised, made heads pivot. It was on as Chopper Franklin strummed the opening chords of “Red Brick Dust”.

The hairs on the back of my neck stood on end when Mather turned to face the gathering and a voice that launched a thousand emotions emanated forth. Mandolin and violin accentuated the guitar, bass and percussion. Some Gretsch crunch brought fury to the sphere. Mather bellowed “No ha4More, No More” spinning a magical yarn with an almost apocalyptic finality.

It took a few measures into the next foray before I realized that “Before You Go” was not even a track on the celebrated new release “Boot Hill Hymnal”. The creativity has not resigned to sticking with the psalms set forth on “Hymnal”, but was creating new scenarios of sound. Just as I tried to take in the new commodity, it ceased to exist, leaving me mesmerized and complex.

“Murderer of Souls” depicted a dark soirée into anguish and demise. Not happy to just take your life, damnation for all eternity. Luis Mascaro strings wailed while Mather’s vocal was a cry from the cemetery gates. Viktor Phoenix periodic added atmosphere that suited right down to the ground.

Another new entry on the hit list was “Lily of the West”. Mather beckoned with subtle gestures, that told the tales perhaps as much as the vocals themselves. Solid guitar permeated the expanse. I was a bit surprised to see Chopper regulated to the six strings due to the fact that up to present day, I have only seen him play bass. I learned tonight, in addition to his ability to shine on multiple apparatus, that he is an amazing songwriter to boot.

Escapism from a cloudy mindset is the hope and dream of “Darkness of Dawn”. The audience stood trance-like, perhaps in awe, perhaps in wonderment, as Heathen Apostles bared their souls, perhaps attempting salvation.  It has been read that Heathen Apostles music is variation of gothic roots. To me it conveys a dark underbelly of melodies and scenarios, traditional, yet unique unto its own.

Reference was made to the liking of upbeat material as “Forget-Me-Not” was laid forth in furious fashion. Prophetic in nature, “Forget-Me-Not” makes you happy-sad in the sense that while the subject matter may not be uplifting, the optimism is. Driven upright tempo kept the meter running thanks to steadfast Thomas Lorioux.

“Never Forever”, yet another unfamiliar offering, captured the bands essence and aura. Hidden from my view due to the low level stage and large personas ahead, drummer Stevyn Grey whose rat tat tat was consistent and precise, provided subtle and then driving beats as necessity dictated.

Elation prevailed as the familiar strains of “Dark was the Night” told a dark tale of mortality and grief. Death of the betrothed, perhaps self inflicted, by others, or by her own hand, the game is afoot. Mather cast a spell manipulating sight and sound as the gents mood enhanced, leaving no void.

The set list was equal opportunity, both “Boot Hill Hymnal” and beyond, as “Without a Trace” left its mark on the listener’s soul and mind. Chopper looked above in reflective retrospect, as Thomas, immersed in concentration,attacked notation.

Finishing up an utmost set was “The Reckoning”. Mather crouched low and begun the cues as the revival went into full swing. Judgment day hath come and it is time to pay up.  Blood curdling hollers begat chills and finality. The club erupted with admiration, wanting more, one more.

And one more we got, as Chopper Franklin asked for an additional microphone and commenced a duet with Mather on a mysterious rendition of “It all Came Down”. This unplanned and semi impromptu encore was a delightful surprise as the band’s let loose and go for broke attitude epitomized the essence of live performance.

Heathen Apostles
Heathen Apostles at Facebook
Mila Reynaud Photography
Ratchet Blade Records