Sludge outfit Oryx were conceived in New Mexico, but before the creation of their latest album, Stolen Absolution, they relocated to Denver, Colorado, a booming hub for the genre. A relentlessly heavy duo, Stolen Absolution is the first Oryx album since 2014 and should elevate the band to the level of their peers. Below, enjoy a full stream of their new album as well as an interview with the band.
Oryx was originally located in New Mexico, but relocated to Denver where you join a host of bands like -(16)-, Primitive Man and Bell Witch in the growing sludge metal scene. Is Stolen Absolution the first release you wrote and recorded while located in Colorado? How does the proximity to that scene affect Oryx‘s sound?
Yes, Stolen Absolution is our first album written and recorded since our move to Colorado. The scene hasn’t necessarily affected our sound but our growth as a band has made our writing more articulate. The move really improved other aspects of our lives and that made a big impact on the head space we’re in with our writing process. The bands we are surrounded by are incredible and ambitious and it pushes us to match that ambition.
The music and vocal delivery on Stolen Absolution sound like they were written from a place of either anger or desperation. Is that the case? Were you writing about things from your personal life or something else?
The vocals in Oryx are representative of a deep self hatred and anguish. Humanity is a virus tormenting the earth in order to survive and I find it incredibly difficult to rectify the irony of that day to day. The worst depth of humanity is the concept that anyone deserves anything.
Oryx is a duo – Abbey behind the kit, Tommy on guitar and vocals. Sludge metal is a genre that is often propelled by its low end – without a bass player, is it difficult to achieve the same heaviness?
5 years ago when Abbey and I started Oryx, we incorporated a bass player for a few months and the sound was heavy. He moved out of state and instead of replacing him, I bought his bass amps and plugged them in next to the guitar amps. That sound was it for us and we never felt the need to search for tone any further. We found an oversized 80’s drum kit for Abbey and it was a perfect match in heaviness.
The album art for Stolen Absolution is very bright and pretty abstract. What led you to decide to go that direction with art as opposed to something more straightforward and dark-appearing, like Grief’s Dismal or other seminal sludge records?
Ethan McCarthy’s (Primitive Man, Vermin Womb) artwork has always really spoken to us and we felt a connection to this particular piece that, to us, represents a fresh start. We regard Oryx as a band that doesn’t need to fit in a box categorically and wanted the artwork to resemble that concept.
What was the process like writing and recording Stolen Absolution?
First off, this was our first time recording with Dave Otero and he raised the bar for us production-wise and helped us achieve articulating what we like about our live sound through the record. The writing process was pretty intense. We were locked in for 8-10 hour days over several weeks fine-tuning.
The last few years have seen a boom in sludge and doom metal releases, and there’s no shortage of new releases. When you write, do you think about cutting through the noise, for lack of a better term, or do you tune the outside world out while writing and cross that bridge when you come to it?
The latter, absolutely. We don’t want to sound like you, we want to sound like us. We listen to way more pop, rap and dark folk than metal so as to not inadvertently influence our writing. That being said, we love being surrounding such amazing bands here in Denver and are honored to be a part of this scene.