Track Premiere and Interview: Oryx – “Misery”

Oryx band photo
Photo by Alvino Salcedo

Whenever someones mentions the movie adaptation of Stephen King’s Misery, anyone familiar immediately thinks of that scene. If you know you know; I don’t need to say more. If you haven’t, just picture what a sledge hammer could do to any bone in the leg. Blackened sludge project Oryx achieved that same level of devastating power for years as a stage-shaking duo. Once they added bassist Eric Dodgion, Oryx discovered an even darker hue of light-deprived sludge. Their upcoming LP Lamenting a Dead World reveals a trio writing music in the wreckage of a storm. Their first single “Misery” is black as pitch, and a perfect example of the album’s uncompromising heaviness. Decibel Magazine is eager to share this crushing bleakness well before the album releases from Translation Loss on April 30th.

The eerie intro to “Misery” feels like gently falling snow before an avalanche of distortion. Once Tommy Davis’ guitars crash down on the listener there’s no sanctuary from the song’s frigid grip. Davis trades growls with guest snarler Erika Osterhout (Scolex, Chthonic Deity) as drummer Abigail Davis bashes out rhythms like she’s digging deep graves. Along with Osterhout, a few other Denver metal luminaries collaborate with cameos. The title track is punctuated by contributions from Ethan McCarthy (of Primitive Man, Vermin Womb, and more). In “Oblivion,” Paul Riedl of Blood Incantation and Spectral Voice blasts ectoplasm into the 15-minute jaw-dropping closing track. By the time “Misery” concludes, Oryx successfully mangle any lingering particles of optimism. This is sludge that casts a formidable shadow and ruins moods in the best possible way.

Crush your eardrums and hear the first single from Lamenting a Dead World below. Scroll further to read an interview with Oryx about this crushing achievement.

Decibel Magazine interview with Oryx

What changes did you want to make to your sound and songwriting after your 2018 album and EP?

Oryx: We continue to find ourselves on a seemingly infinite quest for a more dynamic and atmospheric soundscape. For Lamenting a Dead World, we set out to spend more time surgically developing and building an expansive sound adding multiple layers within each song. This was also our first album writing with a third person, our bassist Eric Dodgion. Communicating a shared vision for the riff between the three of us added a complexity that I don’t feel we had achieved before.

Because of the limitations of the pandemic, was the writing process different for this record than for your previous releases?

O: The writing process wasn’t as affected as the recording process. We were initially scheduled to return to Earhammer Studios in Oakland in March of 2020 to record with Greg Wilkinson. Unfortunately, California went into quarantine and shut down during this time and we had to postpone the recording date. It became clear that the safest option was to record locally here in Denver as opposed to flying out of state. This tumultuous turn of events ended up becoming a great experience as we discovered the talented Ben Romsdahl of Juggernaut Audio. We recorded with him in August of 2020 and this gave us extended time to sit with the songs we had already written and edit them even further. All said, we were still able to send the album off to Greg Wilkinson as he did the final mix and master.

What are the lyrical themes and concepts most prevalent in the record?

O: Lamenting a Dead World was born from the eye of the storm. America, in all of its self-indulgent splendor, showed the rest of the world its true perversion, insolence, and complete lack of regard for human life during the 2020 pandemic and economic crisis. This album and the lyrical themes are a reflection on the insanity of what it means to justify existence in the age of self-diluted piety. It was more clear in 2020 than ever that “profit over people” is America’s viewpoint and the anger and bitterness of this fact fueled my writing process.

The album is packed with guest appearances from notable metal allies. Is collaboration and a sense of community important to you for underground music?

O: 100%, we absolutely believe that community is paramount to the underground. During the pandemic, collaboration with our friends in the scene has been our effort to stay connected in this time of heightened isolation. We consider ourselves lucky to be surrounded by such an array of gifted musicians here in Denver.

What sort of guidance did you give the artist for the amazing album art?

O: When we discovered E. Del Vigo’s artwork, we immediately felt inspired by his style and the incredible depth of his work. We were drawn to this piece of artwork, titled The Solitude of Judas, because it instantly felt like looking at a visual representation of the album’s concepts.

What do you have planned for the rest of the year to support Lamenting a Dead World?

O: We intend to eventually tour this album everywhere when it’s safe to do so.

Pre-order Oryx’s Lamenting a Dead World from Translation Loss HERE

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Oryx album cover