It’s a busy end to the year for Connecticut’s sludgey psych doomers When The Deadbolt Breaks as they prepare to release not one, but two long players. A band that have never played by the rule book, both in terms of sonics and sensibilities, so it’s no surprise As Hope Valley Burns: Eulogy, which technically is the second chapter of the two-album opus, is the first to be unleashed on Halloween, that’s this Sunday, 31st October, through Electric Talon Records.
The forty-minute behemoth shows the band at their most despondent, as Josh mentions in his recent review ‘Aaron Lewis reaches new depths with his guttural vocals, while Charlie Sad Eyes (bass) and Rob Birkbeck (drums) keep the song [Gods Eyes] moving with a heavy fast groove’, then adds they ‘ebb and flow between heavy and serene, and listening as one combined effort is how I believe it’s supposed to be heard’.
And now, just a couple of days prior to its official release, we’re beyond ecstatic to bring you the five tracks and forty minutes that make up As Hope Valley Burns: Eulogy by clicking play below…
More on When The Deadbolt Breaks & ‘As Hope Valley Burns: Eulogy’
Connecticut psychedelic doom band When The Deadbolt Breaks have joined forces with Electric Talon Records for the release of their 9th album, As Hope Valley Burns: Eulogy. Featuring four original tracks and a mind-bending cover of The Doors’ Not To Touch The Earth, As Hope Valley Burns: Eulogy ushers in a new era of doom.
As Hope Valley Burns: Eulogy is the second chapter of a story that starts with As Hope Valley Burns (to be released in late 2021 by Argonauta Records). The band comments on the dual releases:
‘As Hope Valley Burns and As Hope Valley Burns: Eulogy, are unique albums for When The Deadbolt Breaks. We have pushed our boundaries sonically. Originally recorded with the intention of a ten-song record, we found that the length of the songs did not fit the time frame of a single release. The decision was made to split the songs up, and release it as essentially, part one and part two. The heavy is heavier, and the mellow, spacial parts are even more so. Akin to our first few records, we have returned to more aggressive drumming, and psychedelic spaces, yet this record has a certain depth and maturity to it that was missing in the past.’
The album was written and recorded during the early part of the pandemic, sonically reflects uncertainty and hopelessness with massive volume. With gorgeous artwork crafted by Leanne Peters, and layout by the infamous Bill Kole, this album is a monstrous sculpture of beauty, angst and despair.
Music for As Hope Valley Burns: Eulogy was recorded and produced at Room SevenZeroEight. Drums were recorded and produced at Project 7:06 by Rob Birkbeck. The album was mastered by Juno-Six.
For over fifteen years, When The Deadbolt Breaks has lurked in the dark corners of underground metal. With a doom style both psychedelic and unsettling, the band is singer/guitarist Aaron Lewis’ gritty vision of life on the subcultural fringes of New England society. And no, not that Aaron Lewis is from New England.
When The Deadbolt Breaks’ music has been labeled many things -heavy, daunting, overwhelming, unnerving – but Lewis has always struck a balance between the ugly and beautiful: long compositions wade through detuned, discordant, and murky sludge before shifting into melodic ambient space rock territories, and back again. It’s not hard to see that cinema is often what informs Lewis’ songwriting: the grueling discomfort of E. Elias Merhige or the surreality of David Lynch have provided as much inspiration as his musical influences.
Devised at a time when metal-core formulas saturated New England, Lewis went in the opposite direction. ‘We were too slow for hardcore shows, and just too weird for normal metal bills. There were a lot of crossed-arms in the audience, when people didn’t know what to make of us.’ Lewis laughs. ‘They still don’t, sometimes.’
Indeed, When The Deadbolt Breaks has never feared alienating listeners with lurching pieces that often reach past the ten-minute mark. ‘When The Deadbolt Breaks is very much personal for me on many levels. It’s an outlet of all or most of my angst, negativity, creativity and of course volume therapy. It partially started as rebelling against all the music that was popular at the time and became a very important part of my life. It’s heavy in the soul and carries a ton of personal emotion.’
In 2020, drummer Rob Birkbeck (ex-Holding On To Nothing, Sentinel Hill, Tallest) and bassist Charlie Sad Eyes (Crawl Below, ex-Holding On To Nothing, Sentinel Hill) entered the fold. Using the absence of live music forced by Covid-19, Lewis and Birkbeck filled the time with writing the bands eighth full-length, As Hope Valley Burns. Lewis comments ‘Rob and Charlie have been close friends of the band for years. In 2020, after Mike Parkyn and Randy Dumas left for personal reasons, Rob stepped in seamlessly on drums, and Charlie filled the bass/backing vocal position. This has propelled the band into a new, more extreme and more dynamic space musically.’
The band is no stranger to the stage, having played the SXSW, New England Stoner & Doom Fest, and toured the southwest in 2018. As the pandemic recedes, the Connecticut three-piece looks forward to bringing Lewis’ dark vision back to the stage, unleashing As Hope Valley Burns and As Hope Valley Burns: Eulogy on unsuspecting and often unprepared audiences.
As Hope Valley Burns: Eulogy Tracklisting:
01. I Live In The Dirt
02. Cleanse the Death
03. Gods Eyes
04. Forever in the Fire
05. Not to Touch the Earth
When The Deadbolt Breaks is:
Aaron Lewis – Guitar, Vocals
Charlie Sad Eyes – Bass, Additional Guitars, Vocals
Rob Birkbeck – Drums
Steve Wieda – Soundscapes, Keys, Electronics
Ambler Leigh – Additional Vocals
When The Deadbolt Breaks and the second chapter As Hope Valley Burns: Eulogy will be released this Halloween, that’s this Sunday 31st October through Electric Talon Records. Pre-orders for the compact disc and digital download are available now over on the labels Bandcamp.