By Samuel Stevens
Release Date: August 21, 2020
Genre: Black Metal, Shoegaze, Crossover Thrash
Label: Debt Offensive Records
Vancouver’s own Johnny Stewart has created a brand new musical project under the name of Pillars of a Twisted City. Stewart created Pillars of a Twisted City with the full intent to express himself and force his creativity, with absolutely no one to control his process. He wrote and recorded a gothic black metal record, with other genres intertwined. While he was challenging himself creating the music you hear on the record, he refused to fall victim to genre tropes and clichés.
Over the album’s writing process, Stewart shifted a few minor things around musically on the album, resulting in a more diverse album then he first anticipated. Stewart’s self-titled debut album was recorded over two months at Stewart’s Desecration Studios, exclusively on an 8-track tape recorder. The debut album was written, recorded, produced, and mixed by Stewart himself, but Grammy nominated music engineer Gregg Mindroff mastered the eleven tracks at Sounds Suite Labs, which is also located in Vancouver.
Stewart is no stranger to the Canadian music scene. Stewart has been performing with a handful of acts since 1987, these various acts include Red Fisher, Projektor, Black Halos, and Satan’s Cape. Stewart has toured all over North America, he has also shared the stage with many notable musicians over the years such as SNFU, D.O.A, Social Distortion, Obituary, The Ramones, Propagandhi, Doughboys, and The Helicopters. He has also performed at many major festivals in Germany, Spain, and France. Besides Stewart’s impressive touring history, Stewart has also received several awards from Manitoba Music for his songwriting and Calgary’s Best Band Award over the last three years.
Pillars of a Twisted City received its name from the short story by HP Lovecraft titled, The Nameless City. Stewart fuses together various elements from heavy metal, black metal, thrash, shoegaze, and punk. Stewart takes a honest and raw approach to DIY metal with little twists throughout the self-titled debut album. Pillars of a Twisted City is influenced by a range of artists/genres such as Entombed, Darkthrone, Gorgoroth, Thin Lizzy, The Who, The Damned, Swervedriver, and interestingly enough, traditional Latin flamenco music.
Pillars of a Twisted City’s music is best described as being raw, brutal, and crazy, while maintaining its own kind of uniqueness. The album is atmospheric at times and at the forefront its essentially a black metal record, but fused along the way with various elements drawn from its influences. Between the black metal tracks and the shoegaze, there is some crossover thrash songs as well. The album even has a few instrumental numbers placed throughout the record. The lyrics on the self-titled album deal with many different topics within science, politics, and philosophy. These many themes include quantum physics, alternate realities, the transcendence of time, corruption, being born dead in a lifeless world, and demonic possession.
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